I hid in the bathroom stall during my very first television report. It was a pre-recorded piece. I’m not sure of the topic, but I’m sure of the bathroom and that lock. It was in the corner, to my right. I stayed in there; standing, pacing, waiting, until I knew it was over. I snuck out that evening, before the weather forecast, before anyone could stop me to talk.

I kept apologizing to them, in my head, over and over again.

I’m sorry I’m not very good. I’m sorry my hair isn’t perfectly curled. I’m sorry I don’t have an expensive suit jacket. I’m sorry I bought my shoes at Target. I’m sorry I’m just a farm girl from Nebraska. I’m sorry it wasn’t as good as you expected.

No one heard my fears, no one heard my doubts. But I did. I felt it. I knew it. And I was sorry.

That was 11 years ago. Now I can see that my first report at 23-years-old, was good. Very good. Instead of being sorry, I should have been proud of my first story. It was something I dreamed of since I was a little girl. Instead, I hid in fear of what others might think.

Last week, a friend and I were chatting about our writing and our websites. Her words struck me. She said, “Why do I have no confidence with this stuff?”  I was about to get on that soapbox, you know the one, because you likely do it, too. I wanted to tell her how incredible she is, how she should never doubt herself.

 “You are valued. You are worthy. You are important. You are awesome.”  That’s what went through my mind. But before I could write those words, I wondered if I had ever used those very adjectives to describe myself.

I’m sorry to say, I don’t think I have, at least never in public.

I tell my friends and my family and especially my two little girls how worthy they are. I remind them, daily, of their intelligence and their beauty.

“Be yourself. Love yourself,” I’ll say. How can I speak such truth when I don’t believe in those words for myself?

Here’s the truth. Each morning when this column is about to be published, I apologize to you for being me.

I’m sorry I’m so loud and so honest. I’m sorry I talk about myself all the time. I’m sorry I don’t have perfect editorial skills. I’m sorry if I offend you.

That doubt continues throughout the day.

I’m sorry my jeans aren’t a size two. I’m sorry I hate washing laundry. I’m sorry I don’t like cooking meals for my family. I’m sorry I ask you to advertise on my website. I’m sorry I’m not what you expected me to be.

Guys, I’m sick of apologizing for being me. I don’t want to wait until I’m 80 to admit, publicly, that my life is pretty incredible. Somewhere along the journey, we’re taught to have self-confidence, and yet, if we speak highly of ourselves, suddenly we are overly confident, or narcissistic, or vain. People seem to like us more when we put ourselves down.

What is that?

Here’s what I really want to say.

I have a gorgeous husband and two incredible little girls. We own a beautiful home that we’ve worked very hard to afford. I love my smile. I think my website business is worthy of your advertising dollars. I think I look pretty good and my husband does also –  even if I’m not a size 2.

I think I’m awesome. I don’t say that to brag, I don’t say that to be funny. I say that, because I mean it. And I’m done apologizing for being awesome. I don’t want to hide anymore. I don’t want to feel bad because I think my life is pretty great. And I don’t think you should either.

11 years ago, in that bathroom stall, I knew I was a good reporter. But I convinced myself that admitting such truth in a public fashion, would only make me seem arrogant. I believed the lie. I don’t anymore.

Don’t believe in the lie that sorry tries to tell you. Don’t wait until you’re old to recognize the goodness and value of your life. You’re worthy of loving yourself. And I’m certain, you’re awesome, too.

Leslie Means

Leslie is the founder and owner of Her View From Home.com. She is also a former news anchor, published children’s book author, weekly columnist, and has several published short stories as well. She is married to a very patient man. Together they have three fantastic kids.  When she’s not sharing too much personal information online and in the newspaper – you’ll find Leslie somewhere in Nebraska hanging out with family and friends. There’s also a 75% chance at any given time, you’ll spot her in the aisles at Target.