Listen, Simon…Don’t forget. Believe in yourself. Not in the you who believes in me. Not the me who believes in you. Believe in the you who believes in yourself. – Kamina from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
When I was a small child, I believed in myself. Unquestioningly so. I took it for granted that everyone would love seeing me dance, listening to me sing, reading my terrible poetry, and admiring my clunky arts-and-crafts gifts. I was a wonderful, incredible, amazing little human being, and I knew it.
Then, as it happens with a lot of people, I got taught a bunch of stuff. I was told that my parents’ opinions mattered much, much more than mine, because clearly they had the power to enforce their opinions while I had no power at all. This eventually extended to my teachers, to my friends, to my classmates, to my bosses and coworkers, to the random lady sitting beside me on the bus, and just about everyone else. Everyone had an opinion about me, and I learned to navigate through my days by giving importance to everyone’s ideas and expectations about me—everyone’s, except my own.
Believing in myself had become a matter for the external affairs department. I believed in the people who had positive opinions about me—and why not? They were a whole lot easier to believe in than the ones in whose eyes I could do nothing right. I believed their opinions about me. Unquestioningly so. It never occurred to me to ask myself what my own opinion about me is.
But I’ve been blessed to have people in my life who not only had positive opinions about me, but who also understood that at some point, they had to defer to the highest judge of myself: Me.
And so I’m coming full circle. I’m rediscovering not only the innocent, confident child I once was, but the higher Me who took such sweet, quiet joy in the beauty of that child. The Me who believes in me. This time, I’m learning the sound of my own voice, the deep hum of my own intuition, the comforting silence of my own soul.
And guess what? Turns out I’m not such a bad judge of character after all.