I am usually a very confident person – with friends and family, and especially in the workplace. this confidence shows and it allows me to build very strong relationships and command respect.
However, on the schoolyard, things look very different. Whenever I drop my daughter off at school (we live in the Netherlands), I feel very awkward and like I don’t belong. I feel like an outsider tying to get other parents to like me, so that I don’t negatively impact my daughter’s friendships in any way, but in my mind, I am failing miserably. I’ve never been so self-conscious before, and it comes from the fact that I am a foreigner who doesn’t speak Dutch so well and is also not familiar with all Dutch customs around school.
Of course, I am sure the biggest part is in my mind. Everyone is nice, no one ever said anything bad to me, but if I feel awkward inside then I act awkwardly on the outside and I am sure that impacts how people view me.
How can I get over myself and just “be myself” without criticizing myself that I sound stupid when I speak Dutch, or that I don’t know what to say? I even avoid eye contact – I am the complete opposite of how I show up at work!