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Because this was going to be the last session of our self-confidence course where all 8 people would attend (we started off with 12) we had a sort of final event. We took a piece of paper each with someone else’s name on, wrote what we thought of them, folded it over and passed it round.

It wasn’t until I dashed out of the room to get a train that I started worrying about what people had said about me. Would they be nice? I had only written nice things, there was no reason to think anyone had done otherwise, but I wondered about it. The relief when I unrolled my paper and started reading was palpable.

I see a lot of similarities between us which is a comfort and I love your bubbly personality.

Well I certainly didn’t realise I had one of those.

Very friendly intelligent woman. Knows what she’s talking about and makes a lot of sense

Wow, I’d love to meet this woman.

You give the best advice. You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. Enjoy your company and really listen to everything you say.

Advice is so much easier to dish out than implement. Quite right, I shouldn’t. Take me seriously? Nooooo!

Seems very know it all and confident. Wonder sometime does she need to be here or a good ***. All very cheerful.

Felt the need to go back and say it’s all bullshit. I can appear confident but it’s not real and yes I do need to be there.

Y.ou are such a strong and clever woman

Thank you. Thank you. But I don’t feel it.

Very intelligent lady – very articulate and experienced in life. I enjoy your responses, as you always seem to give a lot of thought to your opinion – a reliable quality. Thanks for sharing with us.

Wow. Just wow.

My first thought was that I wanted to rush back and write much nicer things than I had. I had written positive thoughts but I didn’t feel they were as nice as this.

It’s hard to accept such positive comments. While I’ve been honest, I haven’t exactly bared my soul and there is so much that I left unsaid. And yet we are all sitting there in the same boat, with similar issues and my overriding thought when looking around the room was that these are all strong people.

You have to be strong to recognise you have a problem, decide you want to do something about it and then do it with a bunch of strangers, opening up in whatever capacity you can. Those who turned up once never to return are those who have not reached that stage yet. The amount of strength in that room voiced by people who feel weak, wimpy, inferior, stupid, ugly, unattractive, indecisive and all the negative adjectives you could use is phenomenal. It takes incredible amount of guts and backbone to speak out and try and make changes in yourself.

I can see that in the others. But I struggle to see it in myself.