I need a swagger coach.
From an early age I've had trouble with believing in myself. My parents never encouraged or demonstrated self-confidence or a healthy self-esteem. They had other goals, like making sure we memorized Bible verses and did our chores without complaining.
Maybe as Christians they thought it wasn't good to have too much self-esteem since this would lead to vanity and pride.
And we all know that:
"Pride goes before the fall."
"Blessed are the meek."
"The vain-glorious and prideful the Lord will cut down and throw into the fires of hell where they will burn for all eternity and scream in agony as the Lord Almighty and all Christians (especially white women in their fifties) watch from heaven and sip cool refreshing water from the amazingly pure carbonated celestial waterfalls which are naturally fruit-flavored. (Okay, that last one is paraphrased.)
Whatever my parent's intentions, instead of self-esteem, I have a critical voice in my head.
You are stupid and dumb.
You haven't published a best-selling novel yet? You are a failure.
You didn't make the best writers under 40 list? Just give up already, old person who will likely die soon and go to hell.
"Okay," I say to this voice. "Thanks for the input. That was harsh, though. I'm doing fine, I'm okay. I'm not a failure. But I am getting old. I hope I don't die soon. I don't believe there is a hell but if there is, I'll just have to make sure I drink enough flavored carbonated water in this lifetime to last me through eternity."