By Colm Sherlock
Joining New Directions just over four years ago was a major decision for me to take. Most people who knew me would not have considered lack of confidence or lack of belief in my own ability a problem I was suffering from. Telling people of this situation was usually treated as me ‘acting the Mick’. Pretending to be always in good humour was my way of covering up for how inadequate I so often felt.
Seeing someone do something really well I would think to myself “I could never be that good”. Seeing someone trying to do something really well and falling flat on their face, I would think, “I could never put myself through that embarrassment.”
The net result was a belief of being unable to succeed. If I was to try to succeed it was a total fear of being unable to accept failure. Always reluctant to have a positive go. The feeling that everyone else was better at succeeding or accepting failure than me, has been an unfortunate cross that inhibited me so much as a person.
I did have successes in my life, but I seemed to handle it in a negative way. I was your typical example of one who could feel lonely in a crowd, uneasy in company if there was silence. I never realised I was suffering from a form of loneliness. In hindsight I now accept I was experiencing the loneliness of not being at ease with myself.
On seeing an advertisement by New Directions offering the opportunity to build confidence, self esteem and create your own assertive power, I decided to go for it. In the early stages I would consider stopping attending the meetings but I believed that, if I persevered long enough, I would succeed. I did persevere and it has been the best decision I’ve ever made for me.
It has given me a sense of humble confidence, belief in my own abilities, and an acceptance of my shortcomings. Very importantly, it has taught me to show compassion, understanding and awareness towards others.
To put it in one sentence: It has given me the confidence and humility to put into writing what you have just read.