Thursday, May 7, 2015

Each step more certain

Not ready for this...

Julia sent me this article from the Atlantic about the confidence gap between men and women ages ago, and I finally got around to reading it. Much of what it said rang true, and lined up with my personal experiences. Though I admittedly don't have much ambition when it comes to climbing the ranks in the workforce, I've seen how lack of confidence and perfectionism can be debilitating:

"Perfectionism is [a] confidence killer... We don’t answer questions until we are totally sure of the answer, we don’t submit a report until we’ve edited it ad nauseam, and we don’t sign up for that triathlon unless we know we are faster and fitter than is required. We watch our male colleagues take risks, while we hold back until we’re sure we are perfectly ready and perfectly qualified. We fixate on our performance at home, at school, at work, at yoga class, even on vacation... The irony is that striving to be perfect actually keeps us from getting much of anything done."

This same confidence gap issue is plaguing our LDS missions, especially with the growing ranks of young women entering the field. Many sisters are particularly overcome by stress and sadness, sometimes even leading to clinical depression. Mission cultures that focus on personal obedience with exactness and perfection can add to the pressures placed on these young women. In the Atlantic article, the authors examined grade school classrooms to see how socialization affects confidence. They cited a study that found that "boys mistakes are attributed to lack of effort [while] girls come to see mistakes as a reflection of their deeper qualities". Is it any wonder then, that sisters sometimes struggle to thrive in a mission setting? Of course, many go through missions without feeling the sting of self-doubt, but we still need to reach out to those who may be struggling.

As for myself, I have a ways to go in building my own confidence. But I have great allies and limitless opportunities to practice, that, so I'm not too nervous. NPR is hosting a new podcast called Invisibilia that I'm starting to listen to. It's hit-and-miss. But I listened to a pretty great one all about fear. It examined what fear is, why people are afraid, etc. The last section on conquering fear was especially helpful. Listen to it here.

Invisibilia Episode #2 "Fearless"

Church activities? Pass-along cards? I can confirm Jason Comely is a Latter-day Saint. You can find his Rejection Therapy card game here.

As someone who has let fear of rejection keep me from many good things, I recognize that it's necessary to start incorporating these principles into my daily life.
I'm terrified.
But I'll just keep singing myself this song, and it will all turn out just fine.

JK I am so ready!

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