This Is How To Turn Self-Doubt Into Self-Confidence
“You don’t have to prove yourself to me. You don’t even have to prove yourself to you.” — Susan Atkins
This morning, I went for a walk in the woods, stopping in at Witchy’s to see if she wanted to join me. I found her sitting cross-legged in the shade of a big tree and studying a handful of Tarot cards spread on the moss in front of her.
“Morning, Witchy!” I called as I approached her little garden.
My sweet blue friend looked up at me, minus her big trademark smile.
“Hi, Liberty,” she replied flatly. Dropping her gaze, she stared at the cards once again.
“You don’t look too happy.”
“What’s up? Can I help?” I sat on the ground next to her.
“It’s these cards.”
“What’s wrong with the cards?”
“Okay, well, can you be more specific? Do you mean you don’t connect with this particular deck? Or you don’t understand the meaning of the cards in front of you? Or something else?”
Uh-oh. Reaching over, I laid my hand gently on her arm. “I have an idea. Let’s go for a walk and you can tell me the whole story. It’ll be good for you to get away from the cards for a while. Okay?”
“Okay,” came her reluctant reply. Gathering up the cards, she took them inside and was out a moment later.
“Is Enchantra here? Would you like her to join us?”
“She’s out gathering forest goodies to make our lunch.”
“That’s one busy cauldron you have there! She’s always doing one thing or another!”
“Yes. She has been such a faithful friend during our centuries together — not that I’ll tell you how many,” she added, turning her head and giving me a squinty eye.
“I’d never ask,” I smiled in return, linking my arm in her blue one as we set off through the woods. “So…what’s up with the cards?”
“I don’t know. I think they hate me.”
I resisted the urge to tell her that’s not possible. “What makes you say that?”
“Well, when you show me how to read them, it sounds so easy. Everything makes sense. And it works. But when I try it myself, nothing makes sense. Plus I can’t remember what you said about each card, even though we’ve only worked on a small number of them. I mix up all the meanings and the cards don’t make sense to me.”
“It takes time, Witchy. You have to be patient. Let the cards speak to you.”
“That’s just it! They’re obviously mad at me! They’re giving me the silent treatment! Just like that pinhead, Vladimir the Vampire did when I confronted him about those other witches.”
“I’m sure that’s how it feels, Precious, but — ”
“And he made me feel like it was my fault! Just like these dumb cards are doing!”
“I understand that you feel that way. And I can promise you, Witchy, they don’t do that. Think of it this way: When you left the Transylvania Forest and moved to England, you didn’t speak any English, right?”
“That’s right. Oh, boy, was I ever in for a big surprise! It has been so hard to learn it! I was so glad to have Enchantra’s help. She holds all the wisdom from those centuries before — well, before everything went wrong.”
“Indeed, she does, and she’s helping you access a different kind of wisdom now, and that’s what the cards will do for you, too.”
“But how can they do that when they’re not speaking to me?”
“They’re always speaking, Witchy. The trick is to understand their language so you can hear them.”
“I’ve been trying to do that, Liberty! I’ve done everything you said but I don’t hear a thing! Oh, wait! Maybe my ears are broken!”
“Your ears are fine, Sweetheart. You don’t need them to hear your cards. Remember when I explained about your intuition? That feeling in your stomach that gives you special information?”
“First, you learn what the cards mean and then use your intuition to piece together a story.”
“Yes! That’s what you showed me! And I’ve tried! I really have!” A clear, blue tear perched on each of her lower eyelids. “But…well…I’m — I’m afraid — ” She dropped her head and stared at the path.
We walked along in silence for several seconds. “What are you afraid of, Witchy?” I asked ever so gently.
Still staring at the ground in front of her, my little friend bit her lower lip. “I’m afraid you’ll be upset with me if — if I can’t do it.” A tear rolled down her cheek.
I stopped walking, unlinking my arm from hers, taking both her hands in mine and turning to face her. “Why on earth would you worry about that?”
“Because I don’t want you to be disappointed in me.”
“Oh, my! Well, first of all, if I were to be disappointed in you, that would make me a pretty rotten friend. In my world, a real friend supports and encourages. Real friends don’t judge. And they sure don’t feel disappointed in a friend for not living up to their standards!”
“Of course not!’
“All my so-called friends in the Transylvania Forest would not agree with you.”
“Yeah, and they weren’t really your friends at all, now, were they?”
“No. You’re right.”
“Besides, if people feel disappointed — for any reason — it’s their own choice. All of us get to choose how we feel. We can always choose whether to be angry or neutral or happy or miserable or impatient or anything else. That is a conscious decision.”
“Well, what if you decide to feel disappointed because I can’t read Tarot cards?”
“First of all, you’re just beginning to learn. You need practice. So be kind to yourself.”
“You mean, like have some of that yummy vegan ice cream?”
“Sure, if you want it, why not? But I meant, stop berating yourself for not doing it like a professional yet. Be patient. And keep telling yourself that you can do it and you will do it and you are doing it.”
“Okay, I think I can do that.”
“Secondly, I would never feel disappointed in you for not being able to do something. What you do or don’t do is none of my business anyway. But as a friend, I would only support you.”
“Absolutely! And most importantly, Witchy, you don’t have to do it for me. You don’t have to do it for anyone except yourself. You wanted to learn and I’m happy to teach you. But if you decide it’s not for you, you can stop.”
“I don’t want to stop! I just want it to work! I would love to know how to use them so I can avoid more disasters. Like nearly blowing up the Forest.”
“Well, then, it will work. Just give it time and a lot of practice. And remember, I will always love you, whatever you do or don’t do. And especially about Tarot cards. It doesn’t matter to me one way or the other if you learn them. You don’t have to prove anything to me. And you don’t even have to prove anything to yourself, either.”
“Yes! I have to prove I can do it!”
“Because — because — um — well, I don’t want to look like a big failure!”
“In whose eyes?”
“Yours! Enchantra’s! All my friends!”
“But that’s about proving it to them, not to yourself.”
“Well, I want to prove it to myself, too, because — because I’ve been bad at so many things since my spells went wonky and my magic got broken.”
I linked my arm in hers once again and we continued down the path. “Okay, I can understand why you feel that way.”
“Yes. I’ve felt the same way at times. What you’re really talking about, though, doesn’t have anything to do with the cards.”
“No. It’s not about proving that you can learn Tarot. It’s not about proving you can do anything in particular. You see, Witchy, everything you knew about yourself changed when you — well, when everything went wrong. For centuries, you knew who you were. You were a strong, capable witch. You could cast all kinds of amazing, magical spells with great results and for the most part, your life was ticking along just fine. Until it wasn’t, and all of that was taken from you.”
She stopped in the middle of the path and looked at me. “Yes. That’s how it felt. It was all taken from me.”
“And along with losing your identity, you lost all your friends and your boyfriend — ”
“Pinhead! He was worth losing.”
I chuckled. “You’re right, Witchy! He really was. And you also lost your home. You lost everything familiar. You didn’t know yourself anymore. You’re having to learn how to do everything in a new way. You’re discovering all sorts of things about yourself that you never needed to know before. And you need to find your self-confidence again. That’s what this is about. It’s about trusting yourself. It’s about needing to believe in yourself again.”
Witchy was silent for a few moments. “So…isn’t that the same as proving myself?”
“Not really. At least, not in the same way you’re trying to prove something with learning Tarot. If you have a mindset that says your self-worth and confidence rest on being able to do a certain thing, that’s not helpful. It’s better to love and appreciate yourself for who you are, and for all you can — and can’t — do. And your confidence increases when you focus on what you’re already able to do. The more you think about what you can’t do, and you beat yourself up for it, the more you trash your self-confidence.”
“Hmm. I guess that makes sense.”
“Start thinking of all the things you can do. Think about how much you’ve learned in your new life. You’ll see how far you’ve come. And when you recognise that, you’ll discover that you’re a lot more confident than you realise.”
“And will that help me learn how to use the Tarot cards?”
“I’m sure it will.”
“But what if it doesn’t?”
“And what if it does? Stop worrying about all the things that might not work or could go wrong! Just do your best. Keep seeing yourself being successful. See yourself reading those cards like a pro. And most importantly, bear in mind that even if you don’t, it doesn’t matter. Your happiness does not depend on this one thing, Witchy. A little perspective would go a long way.”
“It’s not the first time you’ve said that to me,” she grinned, sheepishly. “And…I think it won’t be the last.”
Ah…another step in self-awareness. I smiled at her progress and gave her a side-hug as we continued down the path.
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