Putting Yourself Out There
Hello everyone! Today, I have some simple advice for you: put yourself out there!!
When I was growing up, I was not the most confident person. I used to get bullied a lot for basically anything you can imagine (kids are just mean!). It took me a long time to gain the confidence to be who you all know and love today. I try not to toot my own horn sometimes, but a lot of people have asked me over the years how to get over the hump of insecurity to be comfortable in their own shoes. I always answer the same way: Fake It ‘Till You Make It! Sometimes, however, it’s not that easy.
Today, I wanted to talk about how to feel more comfortable putting yourself out into the world as a (truly) confident person. Of course, I’m not a professional, so take all this advice with a grain of salt! But I truly think that people should be able to look in the mirror, or look at what they’ve done and created over the years, and be happy about it all. We only get one life! We might as well be happy about it while we’re here!!
Cheesy Affirmations Work
I’m not gonna lie; I think looking in the mirror at myself and saying all those popular affirmations feels dumb. Looking into my eyes and telling myself I’m worthy makes me cringe. But! Positive affirmations are a very important step in feeling comfortable with yourself or whatever you’d like to be more confident about. I’ve been telling myself positive things for years! That’s where “Fake It ‘Till You Make It” comes from, after all.
You don’t have to look in the mirror to make yourself believe anything. You just have to correct the negative affirmations you’ve planted in your mind. Say, for example, you know you’re not great at drawing. In your mind, you suck! It’s a rough time whenever you try to draw anything. You practice, and practice, and practice, and you still don’t improve.
If you tell yourself you suck at drawing, you’re gonna suck at drawing. Try to instead change the way you approach drawing. If you really are trying, it will show. Tell yourself, “I’m going to do my best with this drawing” and start practicing. Skills take time to improve, and if you tear yourself down over and over, you’re not going to get better!
Of course, don’t sit there and say “I’m the best drawer in the world”. That’s a little unrealistic! Unless you’ve already got the confidence, there’s not a chance you’ll believe that you’re the best that’s ever done it. Instead, treat every drawing with patience and tell yourself things like “This is better than yesterday’s drawing” or “Even though this didn’t turn out how it looks in my head, it’s not bad for a beginner like me”. Positive statements like this really do work, and it helps to make something that’s frustrating (drawing, doing makeup, reading a challenging book, anything) that much more tolerable, if not fun.
As for confidence in yourself and your appearance/personality, we all know that positive affirmations work. Body positivity has been the hot topic for years, and I don’t think that it would be if it didn’t change people’s lives for the better. Telling yourself that you’re beautiful, or smart, or amazing, feels good even though it feels a little cringey. Eventually, you’ll believe yourself when you tell yourself these things.
I never look at myself in the mirror when I’m hyping myself up, though. I honestly think it’s so embarrassing! I do, however, hype myself up when I need it. Wherever I am! If you start feeling insecure out and about, just think about how cool you are. Even if you don’t feel cool, you’ll trick your brain into it. It works!!
Surround Yourself With Good People
All my friends tease me. It’s been that way all my life, and at this point I’m used to it. The difference between them and the bullies of my grade school past is that they actually think I’m cool enough to be friends with. It’s our love language, so to speak! I know that if I asked any of my friends to lay off and stop teasing me for the day, they would, no questions asked. Or, if there were questions, they would be more along the lines of “What’s wrong?” and “Are you okay?”. I’ve got a great support system of people who care about me, and they give me all the confidence I need to be myself.
If you don’t have people in your corner like this, ask yourself: why not? Maybe you are stuck in a house of people who tear you down. Maybe your friends don’t really pay attention to your lows. Or maybe you just don’t like people all that much. Whatever it is, believe me when I say that surrounding myself with people who understand me and like me for me has been one of the most life-changing things I could’ve done for myself.
I will never hang out with people that purposely tear me down. I’ve been there, and it’s not fun! Why would anyone else want to do the same? If the people you’re surrounded by don’t make you feel good when you’re being yourself, say goodbye to those people. Obviously if those people are family members, it’s a little more complicated. Instead, make your own family of friends that support and love you. Once you’re able to get out of that negative space, do it! Making friends sounds harder the older you get, but thanks to the power of the Internet, you can find a friend literally anywhere in the world.
Surrounding yourself with positive people will always have an impact on your overall mood about yourself and your abilities. True friends and family will love you and shout your praises from the rooftops! People having confidence in you can directly affect how you view yourself for the better.
If All Else Fails…
We are all human. Ups and downs are normal! Sometimes I’ll think I’m the best at anything and everything ever, and then the next day I’ll feel like I suck, like, a lot. Insecurity can appear at any moment, and the anxiety of it isn’t the greatest feeling in the world. Sharing my writing and (more recently) my art has really made me feel way less insecure about what I can accomplish in general, not just creatively.
If all else fails, I say just go all-in on something until you feel okay with it. Whether it’s wearing that dress that you don’t like on you, or your homemade music, or that short story that you finally finished, just let people know about it.
Wear the dress and go get your mail. You can say you wore your dress outside for the first time and the world didn’t end! Look in the mirror (or look down at yourself) and find one thing you like about yourself in the dress. I know you’ll be able to do it. Share your music with your best friends. They might tease you at first about your musical ability, but I bet they’ll be impressed that you pulled off making a song from scratch. You wrote something that no one else in the world came up with? Share that short story!! Send it to your friend who likes to read, or put it on a creative writing site. Or, if you’re like me, make a blog and keep sharing!
Throwing yourself out into the open air sounds scary, and it is. No one said it was easy! But sharing a part of yourself that you’re nervous about sharing for the first time is going to be difficult…but so, so worth it. Most of the time, people aren’t looking to tear you down. Most people don’t actually care what you do at all! Realizing this opened my eyes to the idea of just Doing Something. If no one sees it after you put yourself out there, oh well. The worst someone can say is “I don’t like that”. Who cares? You get to be proud of Doing the Thing, regardless of how people react to it!
(Obviously, if you care what people think, this might not be the easiest concept to grasp. I’ve realized that the older I get, the more I don’t actually care what people have to say…you’ll either get to that point eventually, or you’ll have to remind yourself that the only thing that matters is YOUR happiness. If someone doesn’t like what you have to say or show, let yourself feel that initial negative emotion, then let it pass. As long as you’re proud of what you’ve done, that’s all that matters.)
Hopefully this helps whoever’s out there feeling Not So Cool about anything they’ve got going on. I know that this is the time of year where I start feeling shitty (gotta love seasonal depression!), so if I can help someone else not feel shitty, well, I’m gonna do it! Being confident in your ability and your appearance/personality is the first step to feeling Not So Shitty, in my experience. It’s hard to be depressed when you feel good about yourself.
Either way, thanks for reading! Let me know if you liked this post by telling me on Twitter, and while you’re there you can follow me too if you’d like! I always post the new blog link on there amongst all the memes. Medium also has a new email subscription situation, so you can plug your email in below and be one of the firsts to read my new posts every Monday! Finally, if you liked what you read, you can always leave a tip on ko-fi. I’m saving up to publish my novel once it’s all done (this second draft is kicking my ass, but it’s going to be worth it!), so that’s where your money is going if you decide to throw it my way!
Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you next week for the Plant Room Update! (Spoiler alert: Nothing has changed, but I’ll tell y’all what I’ve been doing in there anyway!)