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I Fixed It Myself!

My husband Peter likes to fix things—he jokes that he’s a rare breed of “handy Jew.” His dream is to rebuild a vintage car someday. So when something goes awry in our house, he’s quick to jump in with his toolbox, whereas I’d usually pick up the phone and call the handyman.

Problem is, Peter has been traveling for work. A lot. Right now he is in the Middle East for 2 weeks. And of course, our fancy dishwasher decides to conk out while he is gone. There is standing water at the bottom of the unit that won’t drain. The digital error message glares at me and the thing just won’t start.

While I’m itching to call the plumber, I hold back. I remember that this problem has happened before and Peter was able to fix it. I didn’t pay attention as he did so, but I seem to remember that it wasn’t too demanding a project.

So after consulting the dishwasher manual for basic troubleshooting, to no avail, I turn to YouTube for video tutorials. YouTube is my go-to for all how-to questions, even the most basic—there seems to be a video for every issue! And sure enough, there is one for my brand of dishwasher and my particular problem.

I follow the video carefully, removing the dishwasher’s bottom tray and taking apart the plastic drainage components, cleaning them thoroughly, then replacing everything and putting the dishwasher in the drain mode I never knew it had. And it works!

It’s amazing the sense of pride I get from this fairly simple project. Creating or fixing something with my own hands is a great feeling.

In the past, I have also successfully consulted YouTube to help me clean out my bathroom sink drain, using a wire hanger twisted into a hook to scoop up the old hair and gunk (yes, gross but oddly satisfying). My long hair requires I do this a couple of times a year.

When I ponder how one builds confidence, I believe it comes from getting outside our comfort zone, even in small ways. When we show ourselves we can step up to the challenge, it helps us see ourselves in a new way, as the capable people we are. That’s how we build competence, which is at the heart of confidence. And even if we fall down, we can feel proud for trying.

YOUR TURN: What about you? What do you do to build your confidence? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Ellen Weiss

    I say positive affirmations. I have recently become certified as a intenSati fitness leader- which combines cardio moves with saying positive affirmatins,,Instant confidence and mood builder!

  2. Laurie Stone

    Good for you! I can do very easy things, but dishwashers give me pause. I’ll try that drain and clothes hanger trick. I have short hair and still have to do it several times a year.

    • Hélène

      Yes it’s amazing the amount of hair that gets stuck in the drain. Weirdly satisfying to clean it out! Good luck on that!

  3. Catherine

    There was a wonderful hardware store in the neighborhood and the owner used to fix lamps and stuff for me. When he retired, there was no other place like it in the neighborhood. I went to our other hardware store and asked how I re-wired a lamp. The woman there assured me it was very easy and sold me the materials to do it. I was filled with trepidation, thinking it was something I would not be able to do. I took the existing wires out, replaced the parts accordingly and voila! I had a rewired lamp that worked perfectly. All it took was a little courage and some faith in my abilities.

    • Hélène

      Yes! Love it thanks for sharing!

  4. Diane TOLLEY

    Hmmm…I will definitely be trying that coat hanger trick!
    I find accomplishing things myself immensely satisfying. And more than a little surprising. When Husby and I lived on a farm, I learned how to use hand tools for the first time and built all the gates for our new fences. Then when we moved into town, I used those skills to frame our basement. It is still gloriously satisfying to look at it! (And I’m still surprised…)

    • Hélène

      Wow wow wow. That’s amazing!

  5. Denée King

    We have a small non-profit and were blessed to have an IT person take care of all the things IT people do. But then Covid….and donations took a dive and, like so many non-profits, we had to cut back. I think the most recent “if I don’t do it no one will” accomplishment was when our IT guy was no longer with us and I just jumped in and learned how to record, edit and upload a podcast. And like you, I went to YouTube and just watched so many great tutorials. Once I knew I could figure that out I took on the tasks maintaining our non-profit website and even creating my own website! So grateful for those YouTube tutorials!

    • Hélène

      Love this Denée! I have had to learn a lot of the online management stuff too and yes, agree, YouTube has been invaluable to teach me how. What a great feeling to figure it out and know we can do it. Congrats to you!


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