Posts Tagged ‘self esteem’

Collin Barber: My Personal Growth at the World Barefoot Center

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013


When I first came to the World Barefoot Center a little over two years ago, I was one shy kid. I was 14 back then, and it actually surprises me now when I look back at it. I was awkward with conversations. I had no idea how to start one. I was always doing my own thing like sitting in my room reading or doing homework or listening to my music or anything else besides talking and interacting very much with others. It’s not that I didn’t LIKE to talk to people, it’s just that I didn’t really think I was GOOD at it. And that probably came from a low self-esteem. I didn’t have much confidence, so like I said, I would always be doing my own little thing. And people, like my mom, would always ask me, “Why don’t you talk more?”. My answer would be, “Well I’m just always thinking”. Which, yeah, I guess was kinda true. But that was probably just an excuse to make me feel better about being quiet.

After I became a sponsored member, I had plenty of pow-wows with none other than Swampy. And he told me the exact same thing my parents had been telling me for the past couple years: “If you don’t talk and be social with people around you, they’ll think you’re stuck up and stand-offish”. This always made me mad, because I didn’t think I was stuck up. That was the last thing I ever wanted anyone to think about me. But I understood what they were saying. And the only way to change it was to be social, and it was difficult for me. To be social, I had to have confidence to be comfortable with myself. I had to change my whole look on myself and life.


And this is where the WBC mainly comes in. Being at the WBC constantly meant being around new people and making new friends and new conversations. Of course, learning how to be social meant a lot of trial and error… So there was a lot of awkward instances when I tried to talk with people. But being around everyone, like Swampy, at the WBC helped me open up and be comfortable with myself, which in turn made me more sociable. I learned how to loosen up, smile more, come in on group conversations, and help people out. Within the past 2 years, I have changed immensely, and I love the change. I feel happier and better about myself. I actually WANT to talk to people now. Of course, some of this change might have been from basically growing up from age 14 to age 17 and maturing, but still. The WBC and everyone involved it have definitely impacted me the greatest. They’ve helped me as much on the water as they have off the water. I wouldn’t change anything in these past two years.

Keith, Dave, Ben, Ashleigh, AJ, and Swampy, Thanks for everything! =)

– Collin Barber