It’s easy to have confidence among friends. I could tell you, with certainty, what those closest to me would say are my best qualities, and on most days, I’d agree with them. I’ve been through enough different experiences to have a pretty good idea of who I am. I know what I like and what I don’t. I know enough to know that saying yes usually leads to good things, but I’m also confident about when to hold back. Generally, I feel self-assured.

Now, any of you who have worked in customer service know that demanding customers, uptight management and unfriendly coworkers are not uncommon. It’s also true that there can be weirdly high expectations for job performance (this is a store, not the ER, people), and even though you know it’s not really a big deal, everything feels like a big deal. Couple that performance anxiety with the restrictive dress code that strips you of your personality, and we have a pretty good equation for loss of confidence.

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My professional uncertainty, both in my job and in questioning why I can’t seem to find a better, more fulfilling job, has left me chin-down and walking slowly. When I came across this quote by the Dalai Lama the other day (on a yoga website, naturally), it really struck me. I’ve been letting people who don’t even know me control my attitude about myself, which has made me feel weak and worried.

It’s important for me to remember that where I am does not change who I am. So to close, I’ll leave you readers and myself with this song from everyone’s favorite nun-turned-baroness, Maria.