I don’t know about you but I have to reinforce my self-efficacy all the time. I started out this morning angry and I know exactly where it came from. The questions I ask myself revolved around “now that I know what causes my emotional downs, what do I do about them?”

Here is my situation (more or less so you have a clear understanding of what I mean): the LGBT support group is finally here. For those of you who don’t know, I have been fighting and advocating for an LGBT Peer Support Group here in prison for over two years and it has been one helluva ride!! Anyway, now that the bureaucratic red tape is all but gone and its time to put all my work into real action, I am nervous.

Why? My past mistakes, or lack of self-confidence comes back to haunt me frequently. I suddenly think I am not qualified to mentor anyone, my words or wisdom is not needed or qualified in their lives. My fear is that I will let all of them down, just like I let my kids down as a Father. A little catastrophic, I know, but that is the truth of the way I am thinking about these men and women in here. I love them enough to be afraid to fail them.

I am now in a situation where one of two things can happen, this applies to everyone, I can either allow my negative self-image sabatage my life again or I can look for ways to overcome. 

If you don’t know how, look. If you don’t know where to look, ask. If you are afraid or dont know where to ask, do it anyway. One thing that is consistent in the majority of people is that it is hard wired into us to be problem solvers. Bring us a problem and typically we start analyzing how to solve it right away. Just watch Brain Games…

Either way, if this was not an issue for me I would have the answer already. Or it never would have come up as an issue. But it does come up and my self-esteem is showing signs of real growth because when negative self-images come rearing their ugly head up, instead of allowing depression and stress to overcome me, I immediately begin looking for solutions.

I read like crazy, I exercise like crazy and I wear my heart on my sleeve. I read a book recently that had an amazing impact on my life it was called “8 Keys To Eliminating Passive-Aggressive Behavior” By Daniel Rothschild If you haven’t heard of this series of books, I highly recommend them. This book in particular has been a real help in teaching me to communicate better and more effectively. It has strengthened my relationships that I have currently and has been instrumental in creating a diverse relational wheelhouse to derive strength and wellness from.

Keep searching for new ways to improve yourself and dont be afraid to try new things. You never know what you might gain.

With Love
Jeff Utnage