I’m not naturally confident in myself and I’m very self conscious. I constantly doubt and question myself. I think over the years, being a people pleaser and wanting to fit in I didn’t really think about me and who I really am, what I value and who I want to be. As have started to explore those questions and I feel I have a much clearer idea of who I am now my confidence has grown. Initially though, I felt scared and saddened by the disparity of the life I was leading and who I truly was. It also caused a shed load of anxiety as I kept acting in a certain way that weren’t true to me, too afraid to start making changes to my life and angry at myself for not being who I was pretending to be.
Now, I consciously try to be authentic and true to me and that has caused my anxiety to almost disappear and it has brought a great sense of inner faith and growing sense of confidence. I (mostly) don’t feel the need to act a certain way, puff myself up at work in terms of my ability or hide my values to try and fit in. When I do see myself being untrue to me I am consciously aware of it and able to try and welcome that feeling of uncertainty and combat it in how I act next time or tomorrow, without judging or being too hard on myself. Mostly…
I recently read The Life Giving Art of Not Giving a Fuck and realised I CARE(D) SO MUCH WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK OF ME. Really, why? I need to have faith in myself and not care. I know I am a kind and good human and my friends know that. Why do I care what strangers think of me or people on social media? If I believe in myself I don’t need external approval. I feel that caring so much holds you back from being true and expressing yourself so I am working on combating this.
2 years ago I knew I looked like I was nailing life with my boyfriend, house and business in London based on societal standards and what my parents may have sought for me, but in reality, I wasn’t happy in my relationship, I wanted to have more of a carefree existence and the ability to travel and I wanted to be meeting new people. Alone now in Australia with less friends than I can count on one hand and working for someone else in a non stressful but still challenging job, I am much happier.
I can see that by facing and accepting our fears, anxieties and challenges and learning to welcome the uncertainty, we are able to overcome them. I would say I am naturally shy and don’t like to put myself out there, but I also enjoy writing, on a deeper level want to put myself out there and connect with people so I will challenge myself to keep doing that and welcome the anxiety/uncertainty it brings, such as through posting this. Day to day this also brings confidence but there is also a ride of anxiety I have to go through with each post which I try to be aware of and welcome. HIYA RACING HEART.
I like this article as it shows that we can all be confident really, it is just about facing our worries head on and welcoming them as part of us and testing ourselves in small ways every day to break down those barriers that hold us back. Whether that’s the confidence to go on a date, join a new gym, go for a work promotion. If you take the small steps towards them it gets easier over time and you can start to be the best you (corny sorry). Be kind and welcome your fears. They are part of you and can make you stronger.
A fun life challenge for me has been being open about my sexuality. I have always known I am bisexual but never had the confidence to explore it or be open with my friends. I come from a conservative English background and knew no one gay or bisexual at school or university. Although my parents aren’t homophobic, my Dad does refer to gay people as ‘them’ and I am aware of the homophobic jokes I’ve heard over the years at home and by my friends. I don’t actually know how they would respond if I told them I was bisexual, but as my Mum has got so angry with me for choosing to live in Australia and taken it as a personal attack, rather than seeing me leading my life for myself (and being happier for it), I do worry that she would take it personally and be embarrassed to accept me.
I am dating men and women and just exploring who I am. I’m cool with that and embracing the uncertainty. I love that my friends are getting married and I am happy for them but I don’t see that for me at the moment and instead of hating myself for being different like I have in the past, I’m honestly okay with it (with 5% doubt every so often and annoyance that I ‘can’t just be like everyone else’.) In reality, there is no ‘everyone else’ we are all working through something and feeling separate in some way. I think we can take comfort in knowing that. We are all at a base level the same and together.
I am slowly being more open with my friends about being bisexual and feeling less embarrassed by it which is awesome for me. It was such a big deal in my head but in reality it hasn’t been that at all. For anyone going through a similar thing; give yourself a break and start small. It is a lot to get your head around if you are gay or bisexual even in 2017. Be kind to yourself, maybe sign up to an app and tell one close friend you know won’t judge you and go from there. There’s no rush to be completely open and you can work it out at your own pace. I found the idea of dating a women absolutely terrifying, and it was (is) ha, but what I have realised is that we are all kinda similar at the end of the day and people will often surprise you if you open up. What might be a big deal in your head in reality is actually totally okay and whatever happens, you’re going to be okay.
I don’t think now is the time to tell my parents, as my Mum isn’t in a good mental place, but I don’t see that as being unauthentic, just taking her feelings into consideration perhaps? Hilariously, when I mentioned I was reading The Life Giving Art of Not Giving a Fuck her response was ‘I thought you wrote that’ implying that I don’t care about her as I have chosen to live in Australia. OUCH. It stung a lot as I care so much and she just doesn’t know how much comments like that affect me. Normally I would probably feel bad and go back under my people pleasing shell and feel like an awful person. But instead, I said nothing, smiled, was aware of how the comment affected me, but also aware that I know that is her issue and I have not done anything wrong. I was almost able to laugh at it (internally) and see the progress I have made and my inner self confidence shine through.
I still have areas I want to work on and think I always will, but I’m enjoying the journey and trying to embrace life’s challenges and quirks as part of the adventure.
Me and mum…
Written at work very quickly, sorry for rambling on.