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  • Pamela Carey

Building Confidence in What You Have to Offer

Updated: Apr 4

In today's article, I want to tell you the story of one pie, two pieces of advice from my therapist, and a collection of personal experiences and life lessons learned along the way. We'll take a closer look at what we have to offer, why we tend to hold back from sharing our gifts with others, and how to feel good about what we bring to the table.

Let’s get into it!

Why Is It Difficult To Share Your Gifts With Others?

During one of my therapy sessions, I was sharing a personal story with my therapist, who's much wiser than me, so don't worry - you'll get some good stuff out of it.

A few years ago, I was about to visit my boyfriend's family for dinner, and it made me quite nervous. I wasn't sure what to bring: Should I bring a side dish? Or dessert? And if so, which one? Would they like?

I was disproportionately worried about it, probably displacing some of my nerves about what they would think about me in general, just onto this one dish.

At that point in the story, my therapist said something that has really stuck with me over the years. She said:

“One day, you are going to show up and say, "I brought pie," and feel good about it.”

Now, I knew she didn't just mean that literal advice about what I’d bring to the table, like a pie. She also meant the metaphorical pie - the act of showing up and simply feeling good about what I have to offer and what I bring to the table:

"Take it or leave it. It's the best I can do. It's me, and I'm here."

That can sound kind of cold - as if you didn't care about what other people want or need or what they might think of you. However, I believe that so many of us care way too much. So much, in fact, that we don't show our gifts. We don't embrace our uniqueness or authenticity. We don't even bring what we have to the table.

How To: Build Confidence in What You Have to Offer

Bringing what you have to the table does not have to be this grand gesture - this idea can be something as simple as:

  • Saying the joke you want to say, not caring about if it lands or how many people laugh.

  • Singing karaoke or in a chorus, even if some people may not like your singing.

  • Inviting people to a gathering you want to host, not worried about how many people show up.

Even if no one laughs at your joke or compliments your signing - that's okay. You can't control how other people feel about what you bring to the table. All you can do is show up and share your gift.

It feels much better to focus on giving or what you can do to serve others, rather than spiraling in self-doubt and uncomfortable thoughts like: Oh my goodness, what will they think about me? With a focus on the self.

Such a shift of focus can make a world of difference: Even now, reading this article, you'd feel a certain way if I cared more about how many readers would find this post, if you liked me, or if you found something I said irritating. Would that get me canceled? After all, that's always a fear of anyone who talks online...

But what if I showed up and said: How can I serve you? How can I improve your life through maybe just one new idea you haven't thought about? Perhaps that idea would be the thing to make you laugh or give you a little bit of comfort or self- compassion. And if I can do that for one person, then becoming vulnerable and bringing my gift to the table was all worth it.

How does this apply to your life? I will give you one more story of mine. While I don't know what your job or hobbies are, I'm sure you'll be able to apply this to your own life:

Something that I do for work is I'm a personal trainer. When I was nervous to work with a new client for one reason or another (Whether they are someone higher profile, or super confident, or had a fascinating New York job) - I would snap myself out of it realizing:

This is not serving them. It's clearly not doing them any good. They would be coming to a professional, someone they hope will help their body move and feel better, and help improve their health, strength, stamina, or mobility. Let me instead concentrate on what I can do to make their day and their life better through an act of service, through my craft. And how can I listen to them better versus focusing on what they think about me?

Why Are You Afraid To Share?

Something that connects to this idea is yet another piece of advice from my therapist:

Once, she asked me: “Why do you say 'I love you' to someone? Is it to hear it back, or is it to express how you feel?” If you're afraid to express something, generally it's because you rely on a specific response to make you feel okay about what you offered.

My therapist asked me these questions because I was getting ready to launch my first book at that point in my life. "Why did you write the book?" she continued. "Is it for reviews, applause, money, or other things? Or, again, is it to tell a story and let it land how it may? Because you want to express it and improve someone else's life through some lessons you learned?"

Ultimately, I had mixed motivations. I'm not saying that wanting something else, like money or approval, is wrong. A lot of times, we humans have several reasons for a behavior or goal, and that's okay. What's important is becoming aware of your motives.

You can check out my video on the idea of what you want from different interactions and how to be more aware of that.

Fear of Rejection vs Putting Yourself Out There

I'd even go a step further and encourage you to take a leap next time you're a bit nervous. Put yourself out there, say something, offer your gift or creative expression, step out of your comfort zone, and this time - observe your thoughts and emotions:

What is it that you want back? What are you scared not to get? What will sting? Being more specific in our awareness of our fears will help us take more courageous steps.

The funny thing about the fear of rejection is that it’s often so much worse than the rejection itself. And putting yourself out there? When you view it as an expression of love or giving what you want to offer, like bringing in the freaking pie, it feels terrific.

I don't live this way every day, but I always aim to.

What about you? In the comment section below, let me know what kind of pie you’d like to bring to the world. What do you wish to give more of that you've been scared to share?

Whether you want to comment or keep it personal, I recommend reflecting in your journal on things you are afraid of not getting:

Perhaps you’re worried others won't like your apple pie, and that's the kind you brought.Maybe you’re scared that them not enjoying your apple pie would be a judgment about you and your worth as a human being. Or you've conflated all of that up in your pie... (pie here being a metaphor for any offering) (Whew! We've got to separate that out in another article!)

I will talk to you next time. Thank you for being here. Bring your pie!

As usual here is the video version of the blog post if you prefer to listen / watch:


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