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What’s a nice and quirky metaphor, simile, or idiom for saying that something improved my self-confidence and made me dream higher, for example in the following context?

These competitions not only provided a platform to test myself, but they also [improved my self confidence, and spurred me to dream higher].

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  • The most direct idiom is "boosted my self-confidence".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 19:32

9 Answers 9

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Some suggestions:

  • energised (UK) energized (US), or reenergised/reenergized

  • invigorated or reinvigorated

  • activated or reactivated

  • animated (or reanimated)

  • revived (or revivified)

  • refreshed

  • exhilarated

  • revitalized

  • quickened

  • galvanized (UK) galvanized (US)

  • gave me a new lease on life

  • restored

  • jump-started me

  • opened my eyes

  • rocked my world

  • reawakened

  • recreated

  • regenerated

  • rejuvenated

  • renewed

  • rekindled the fire within me

  • lifted me up

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The word prod works here (also in the idiom prod someone into something).

These competitions not only provided a platform to test myself, but they also prodded me to dream higher.
These competitions not only provided a platform to test myself, but they also prodded me into dreaming higher.

ODO:

prod VERB
1.1 Stimulate or persuade (someone who is reluctant or slow) to do something

‘At the same time, I'm prodding the actors and encouraging them to dig down inside themselves.’
‘Simultaneously, his urge to challenge the limits prodded him to attempt breaking world records.’

TFD(idioms):

prod someone into something
to motivate someone into doing something; to provoke someone into action.
Do I have to prod you into going?
Can't you volunteer for once? We will prod her into getting it done on time.

McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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These competitions not only provided a platform to test myself, but they also made me believe in myself, like Popeye and his can of spinach.

Reference: https://youtu.be/pcOrSWr2HLU?list=PLSDZ-wemAt9ZngIHj-0LMslRZnNJoQ7m6

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I am no native speaker, hence I've tried searching for such idioms, and stumbled upon this site. Found three sort of fitting the description:

go into overdrive - if someone or something goes into overdrive, they begin to work very hard or start to perform intensely,

have one's heart set on - someone who has their heart set on something is determined to obtain something they want very much,

hitch one's wagon to a star - someone who hitches their wagon to a star has great ambitions and is very determined to reach their goal.

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How about emboldened me. You would probably need to add a bit more to the end of your sentence such as:

These competitions not only provided a platform to test myself, but they also emboldened me to try for greater things.

If you do that emboldened should work well.

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How about this:

These competitions not only provided a platform to test myself, but they also strengthened my foundation.`

The word "platform" is used earlier in the sentence. Using "foundation" keeps with the "building" theme.

Removing some words may make the sentence bolder:

These competitions provided a platform to test myself and strengthen my foundation`

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You can say boosted or took-off like a rocket; aerial words.

  1. These competitions not only provided a platform to test myself, but they also boosted my self confidence.
  2. These competitions not only provided a platform to test myself, they also made my self-confidence soar.
  3. These competitions provided a platform to test myself, and my self-confidence took off like a rocket. I dreamed of going higher and higher and achieving more and more.
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You could say "they put wind in my sails".

Sails are a common metaphor for confidence and self-assurance and you can use the metaphor for having it or lacking it.

It took all the wind out of my sails.

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  • Without any explanation or reference, this is a comment rather than an answer
    – Greybeard
    Commented Jan 2 at 13:51
  • It seemed rather self-evident to me that it was a metaphor.
    – TimR
    Commented Jan 2 at 14:35
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Another idiom which works here is "give wing to".

These competitions not only provided a platform to test myself, but they also gave wing to my [talent/skill/career].

TFD(idioms):

give wing to (something)

  1. To allow, facilitate, or foster something.
    My mother's encouragement really gave wing to my career as an artist.

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