Life’s been keeping me busy lately with new responsibilities, trainings, changes and challenges. It’s all good stuff, I assure you. But since I last chatted with you, reader, I’ve encountered a handful of people that seemed to have been stuck in a rut and needed some help digging themselves out of it. After listening to them explain to me all the awfulness and suckiness they were constantly up against, when everything that goes wrong is always never their fault, and everyone and everything is shitty, I realized the root of the issue. They’re holding themselves back.
I had a training recently focused on building stronger networking skills. Essentially, this involves sharpening your self-confidence and social skills enough to feel comfortable talking about yourself without sounding and feeling like a big-headed jerk, with a dash of professionalism. There was a woman in this group–an older woman who had sass, experience, intelligence and independence. She was wanting to branch out from her current line of work and get into a different field. As she spoke about her networking and interviewing experiences in the private and public sector, I noticed that each experience ended similarly. It was either the interviewer hated her because of the line of work she did, or it was that they were in on this huge coincidental conspiracy of everyone being against her, as if the universe had put up a giant brick wall in front of her and a chip on her shoulder. She never once mentioned anything about inwardly inspecting her actions, her preparation for these kinds of meetings, how she may carry herself in interactions with others… which, as someone who had just met this individual, this was what she really needed to do. By assuming that the world was against her, she was already setting herself up for rejection from others and herself.
Our confidence can waiver and flicker like embers all the time. Some things we know we’re good at and can go forward confidently, and our confidence is burning brightly. Other things, we’re not sure of and need that reassurance, sometimes from other people–you know, to help stoke the flames. In a previous post, I talked about surrounding yourself with positive people who lift you up and how/when to shed yourself of those toxic people. As it turns out, you can be toxic to yourself, too. But you can overcome this and become your own cheerleader.
A dear friend of mine decided to wear nail polish–something that isn’t typically accepted for his gender. (We can spend hours talking about how stupid gender roles and expectations are, but let’s save that for another time.) And let me tell you: he was looking fly as hell. He had this dark, galaxy blue lacquer that complimented his blue eyes and he was feeling like he was on top of the world! Then something happened involving an individual who isn’t supportive of this kind of thing (we can talk about closed-minded, toxic masculinity all day too, but again, another time!). My dear friend’s confidence, once strong and bold, had shrunk to an embarrassed, distraught and frightened ball of anxiety, because he was fearful that something bad may happen, that he was doing something wrong and unacceptable. That he needed to hide his true authentic self. He immediately felt shame and fear, and wanted to take the nail polish off as soon as possible. Is your heart breaking, reader? Because mine sure did.
After marinating on this for some time, my dear friend, like a phoenix, rose from the ashes that were once his diminished self-confidence, and stood up on his own two feet again, shining brightly, and flipped a galaxy blue lacquered birdie to the dreary idea that he was even afraid to be himself in the first place. He took on the role of being his own cheerleader, his own champion, his own hero, his own admirer–he had committed to not letting this betray his true self. To accept himself and just be. And with that, he became unstoppable.
Remember a time when that little, mean, dark, asshole voice in the back of your mind would suddenly make an appearance? Maybe someone made an unintentional comment that triggered it. Maybe just the thought of an negative individual being in your vicinity summoned it. Or maybe it was when you looked in the mirror and remembered what all the Instagram babes looked like, and the mean voice in your head reminds you that “you look nothing like them, so therefore you suck, you’re ugly, your cooking is awful, your thumbs look like hot dogs, you’re stupid, and no one will love you.” Nah, forget that. All that isn’t true and you can do whatever makes you happy. It’s high time you tell that little, mean, dark, asshole voice in the back of your mind that likes to inconveniently appear in your most vulnerable moments to kindly fuck off. Not today, Satan.
I’m one of those people that pushes self-affirmations. I talk aloud in the shower as I’m getting ready for the day, reminding myself that I’m awesome, I’m a hard worker, I can do anything I set my mind to, and I deserve good things. I’ve written myself notes and stuck them to my mirror, to remind myself that I am beautiful and deserve love. I save emails and cards from people who tell me that I’m a fantastic person and I’m excellent at what I do. I repeatedly tell friends and family to be kind and compassionate to themselves, because life is hard enough as it is. We can’t go through life working against ourselves–we have the power to be our own worst enemy. But we also have the power to become powerful positive advocates for ourselves.
And don’t worry, reader. I’m rooting for you too! ❤