We are constantly bombarded by messages, images, videos, and people every day telling us what is wrong with how we look, think, feel, behave, etc. It’s easy to allow those messages come through and have us questioning our identities and making us feel insecure about who we are.
All of this stops us from expressing ourselves in a way that is authentic to us, it prevents us from obtaining our full potential, and it hinders our happiness.
But social media, tv, our friends, and complete strangers seem to have this effect on us that makes us filter ourselves unnecessarily.
I used to be bad for allowing those messages in when I was told I was too outspoken, too chubby, not pretty enough, not funny because I was a girl, not smart enough, couldn’t do this couldn’t do that, blah blah blah bullshit. I was this blank person on the outside bursting full of imagination, ideas, and opinions on the inside. I held myself back, I didn’t say anything out of fear of saying the wrong thing. The result, strangers assuming I was boring or rude simply because I was afraid to show them who I really was. The silent strategy was not effective.
We hold ourselves back from achieving our full potential because we are so afraid of not ‘fitting in’. But what are we trying to fit into? A world where super fit people are the only ones who could possibly be loved, a world where women can’t be funny, a world where bigger people can’t enjoy or be good at team sports because they’re size, a world where men aren’t allowed to feel or share emotions, a world where girls can’t play video games because of their gender. A world that tells introverts that we are too quiet, labeling us as shy, and taking away our voice. Does that really sound like a world that you want to fit into? No, not at all.
So it’s time you stop giving a damn what people think of you and what they say about you behind your back. It’s time to embrace your fears, your desires, and your talents and show it to the world.
But how do you do it? After years of asking that question myself and trying a million different things, I can tell you how. Learn from my mistakes - it doesn’t need to take you 15 years to figure this out.
1. Write down all the things that you wish you were
Understanding who you want to be, can clarify what it is you feel you are missing in your life. Once you have this list written down, focus only on the things that you have control over or can change. Get rid of the item that wishes you were taller or a different skin colour - it’s not going to happen, so strike it off that list.
I am pale as fuck and I have given up on the dream of beautiful golden skin. Your girl is pale and turns red on a whim (not by choice). It’s who I am, I've embraced it.
Focus on the things you can actually change: wish you were fitter, richer, could speak another language? Good! Keep those on the list, because you can do something about that.
2. Pick one thing from the list
Choose one thing that you can start working on immediately.
Break down the goal into small actionable steps with a timeline that you can start doing right away.
For example: you want to get rich?
Find ways to cut excess spending - complete by (date)
Stop eating out 4 days a week - eat out only 2 days a week
Be picky when it comes to the things you buy - don’t go cheap just because, save money for the better quality item (it lasts longer)
Find things in your home you can sell - Post ad Saturday
Sell old couch in basement online
Learn how to make money on the side - Sell something in 2 months
Sell those funny drawings you do on Etsy
Put all that poetry you right in your spare time onto a blog
better yet, teach other people how to write poetry and charge them
Coach people on how to write a kick ass resume
Find ways to make your goal happen - and be ruthless.
These steps are easy and doable right away. As you accomplish one new habit or task towards your ultimate goal, you will find that change will start to come easier every day. Once you have one new habit down or one goal completed, pick another goal and start working towards that.
3. Write down all the things you currently kick ass at
Now that you have a clear focus on what you know you lack, and how you’re going to fix it, shift your focus to the things you are good at.
Write down everything that you love about you and your life as it is right now.
Studies find that focusing on the things we are grateful for enhances optimism, life satisfaction, and decreases negative feelings and thoughts (Froh, et al).
If you are happier, the things that other people will say about you won’t matter as much. If you’re accomplishing your goals, you’re aware of your flaws, and you focus on all the great things about your life - you take away the power that other people have over your emotions. You’re already aware of what you aren't good at and you know that you are working on fixing those flaws - so if someone points out a flaw, you can just say ‘Yeah, I know. Thanks’ and move on from that person without giving a damn.
This strategy gives the power back to you, people will always have an opinion. There will always be a Naysayer or a Negative Nelly to point out what’s wrong with your life. What has changed is the control that you now have. The more control you have, the less you will care about what other people think about you.
These steps have no focus on other people. The reason for that is because happiness and confidence come from within. Once you learn that, you can take over the world.
Happy Yule. Happy Solstice.