I am not by nature a particularly self-confident person. I constantly second-guess myself. I never expect people to stop and listen when I speak. I always worry I have a booger in my nose.

My friends are surprised when I tell them this. To many of them, I am an accomplished, smart, funny woman who’s done at least an okay job of living life, raising two kids and writing a few books and blogs along the way. But no matter how much I manage to get done, I never give myself much credit.

At least, not until recently. It’s occurred to me, at age 53, that confidence is key to happiness and just about everything else. Feeling good and secure about yourself not only bolsters your own mood and self-image, but it someone casts an aura about you that other people respond to in a positive way.

I’ve been making a point of giving myself little pep talks, reminding myself before leaving home that I have lots to offer the world – and I should proceed and present myself accordingly.

Oddly, having lived with multiple sclerosis for more than thirteen years has contributed to my newfound sense of confidence. Meeting MS’s many challenges and managing its meanderings to the best of my ability seems like kind of an accomplishment to me, and the confidence I’ve gained along the way helps gird me for whatever might lie ahead.

So nurturing self-confidence has become one of my major goals. Besides those pep talks, I force myself to dwell more on my successes than on my failures. To treasure my family and friends and their good regard for me rather than worry about anyone who might not hold me in such high esteem. So far, it seems to be working. I have an extra spring in my step, and I’ve noticed that people seem just that much happier to be in my company.

But I still have to check my nose now and then. Because boogers can happen to even the most self-confident people.

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Jennifer LaRue Huget, Blogger

Jennifer LaRue Huget was diagnosed with MS in 2001. A freelance writer and children's book author, she lives in Connecticut with her husband, two teenage kids, and two brown dogs. Her website is

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  • Anybeth   Oct 15, 2014 9:59 AM
    My MS has taught me to be ok with limits and mostly ok with asking for and getting help. Everyone has limits, things they can and can't do. If I find I'm not capable of doing something, I no longer think of that as a failure on my part. I might have a fleeting sense of disappointment, but I'd feel no shame -- it's not my fault, it just IS and that's ok. Similarly, I no longer feel shame at asking for or receiving assistance. I've went from an independent-minded young woman to one more focused on interdependence. We're all in this together, no man is an island and all that, so recognizing it's a team effort is more than ok.

    Those things don't exactly increase confidence, but they certainly eliminate a lot of things that might inhibit confidence. I think acceptance is very important for confidence. I couldn't feel confident if I thought I might not be good enough. A friend of mine helped me with that. "Good enough for what?" he asked. Got me to stop and think.

    I, too, think I'm more confident now than before the illness manifested. I no longer had a roadmap for my future or a guidebook for my present. I had to consider the lay of the land myself and forge my own path. Got a lot of my existential crises out of the way early, I guess, due to sheer necessity. I think now I know how it is: all I can do is my best and that's ok, whatever my best might be. :-) Anyone who demands more, the problem is with them. :-p
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    ChrisG  Oct 22, 2014 10:53 AM
    I have been living with RRMS since 1995. I refused to except MS, and kept it a secret from everyone, until 2008, when my physical limitations where apparent to others. Then I subjected myself to "self isolation" lifestyle. I considered myself "to be different" from everyone else, and had no confidence in myself. I was suffering depression and had no anticipation for the future. In October 2014, with the help from fellow MS people, I was successful, breaking down the wall around me. I gained confidence, learned how to express my emotions, except my limitations and live with in them. I have awhole new look at life
  • Kiggy   Nov 3, 2014 8:32 PM
    Thanks for sharing it makes me stronger to hear other press pass their best judgement and reach beyond. Just for today celebrate you becausr someone is watching :-)
  • KarenBM2  Nov 7, 2014 7:32 AM
    Being newly diagnosed, this is priceless advice to me! Thank you so much for the pep talk and helping to take on the right mind set.
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    scugnizzo  Jul 16, 2015 2:56 PM
    Thanks for what you've shared. It's similar to me. The beginning of what you wrote about confidence. I'm not quite there on the "new outlook" on my life, yet, but I'm trying as I loose some of my abilities.
  • RDanielle  Dec 8, 2015 3:52 PM
    I would like to thank you so much u r right I have tried an tried to make others happy a fulfill the request of my husband but I am aware that I can't all the time because my body won't let me ...and u right those who dnt understand they have the problem and I find that to be selfish
  • RDanielle  Dec 8, 2015 3:56 PM
    Very good confident self pep talk very encouraging
  • BAK  Apr 15, 2016 2:19 AM
    Hi Jenn, I am new to this blog but seasoned with MS. Determined to win in life regardless to MS. Its an un invited guest in my life. I am doing my best to make it know that it is not welcome. It has to dance by my music.
  • tracy-short  Jun 17, 2016 1:29 AM
    I wish I had been blessed with the means to stay out in the world. I haven't had a car of my own since 2010. Not because of any impairment but because I have to share a car with my husband. He always does any errands for me and drives me to the occasional Dr. appt so I rarely go outside. The last time I left was June 3,2016. I went to see my mom at the (MEDICAID) nursing home and came straight back home. It had been at least that long since I left the house on that day. I could really use some online support but I can't even "connect" here so I guess I should give up on life since it already passed me by anyway! Isolated, lonely loser seeking anyone!
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    dag41  Jun 17, 2016 2:29 AM
    You are not alone in this I promise. Take a look at my story on my page you will see. When I first got diagnosed my wife left me because she couldn't handle what I was going through. I remarried 3 almost 4 years ago now. I had everything and MS took it ALL away. I don't hold anything against her she did what she thought was best for her. Feel free to send me a connect. This is something you don't have to face alone. Myself, I haven't been able to drive in 7 years so I know how you feel. My doctor took my lic when my seizures started. I have to depend on a friend to get to my doctors appts and my meds.
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    Chug  Mar 14, 2018 11:04 PM
    I was browsing around the site, and came across your story. Thank you for sharing. I hope all is well with you.