A few of you have expressed interest in my experiences with personal growth, progresses with goals and such.
I’m happy to share with you and, hopefully get back to doing these types of posts more regularly. I see how they can help but…MAN, this was hard to write!
What began as a quick update, resulted in…something deeper.
Sharing where I am now (finally over the “mountain top”) kinda meant referring back to some stuff that affected me years and years ago (the “stones along the climb” up).
Feel free to share your thoughts, personal progresses and lessons learned too.
I’m all ears!
So…I mentioned a couple weeks ago that there has been there has been a shift!
Over the past few years, I’ve begun to feel more authentically confident.
I feel more peace about…just being.
Sometimes I wonder if authentic confidence is just something that naturally happens, as you get older. Or, if it only graces a select few in youth.
By authentic confidence, I mean that sort of peace and calmness that you possess. It isn’t directly dependent upon things (tangible or no), other people’s perceptions of you, or life circumstance. You don’t seek “permission” from others to do the things that you want to do in life. You just be! You just do things! And, you generally feel good about being.
Do you feel this way now? Have you always felt this way?
At 31, I’m getting closer.
Wait, am I 31?
A huge step for me was getting out of my own head.
Sometimes, I would work myself up into a BIG fuss over what other people thought of me.
I cared. Greatly. It didn’t matter if you were my closest friend or a stranger on the street.
I always wanted to make sure I was being thought of well and perceived in a good light.
Honestly, I still want that but, I’ve given up caring so hard.
I’ve learned that I can not control those perceptions all the live long day. It’s impossible. Not to mention, INSANE!
I mean, it’s a complete process…
You wonder what the person might think about you, and most times (in your head) what they’re thinking isn’t good or it has somehow been misinterpreted, so you don’t feel good about that, and you wonder, “How can I get them to see me and, understand me better?” then, you think some more and come up with all these elegant excuses & extraordinary explanations for yourself (and sometimes, even change your actions) so that you can ultimately “win their favor” or “set the record straight”, so that they might see you in a better light, see you for who you really are…
But then, maybe they won’t.
I feel like…most people want to be perceived well.
Those, who see you, will see you.
Those who don’t, won’t.
Maybe those “unseen” relationships weren’t meant to be anyway and you’ve just been saved the headache. Or, the heartache.
If you have to be two steps ahead (in thought) to catch any misconceived notions, just to set them straight, well–what kind of relationship is that? You’ll be playing that very exhausting game (with yourself) forever, or however long you want to keep it (and the relationship) going.
Something else dawned on me.
What if they aren’t thinking of you at all?…
In that case, all that fuss is really all for naught.
Another step for me was this notion of permission.
Permission, in itself, is a funny thing.
As a kid, it’s pretty necessary. You ask permission of your parents or guardian and, most other adults in your life, really.
…Is this okay? Can I have this? May I do that?…
Entering adulthood, at some point, permission is no longer really required, and yet, some of us still seek it. Why is that?
I mean, certainly with some things like employment, religion, and the law, it exists. But, generally, in your own personal adult life…
You’re in charge!
You make the decisions. You call the shots.
Realizing this was HUGE for me because, I’ve often felt like others (more so culture and tradition than any specific individuals) were the “authority”, and that I should just go along with what was said to be “best” or the “ideal way to live”. If I wanted something other than that, I needed to get some winning consent first. I needed to have a gang of signatures on my permission slip because, only that would make what I wanted “A-OK”!
“Be a good little girl and don’t cause trouble.”…a little bit of that whole bit.
Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!
Really realizing that I’m not a little girl anymore, and that I don’t need the world’s permission to do AN-Y-THING was like…well…looking down and “feeling my balls” for the first time. Ha!
Very firm. Very nice.
The hugest hurdle of all for me was getting over being über self-conscious.
Like a lot of kids and young people, I was self-conscious about a lot of things and struggled with that for a very long time growing up. Because, in school (specifically elementary and high school), looks & appearances mattered. I’m sure they still do. I mean, I can’t imagine how kids today are getting along there. With cell phones and iPads, and friggin’ Twitter accounts. I’m sure the ones without that stuff are not having it easy. Has it always been this way? The “Have’s” and the “Have-Not’s”. Will it always be this way? I digress.
Growing up, I had terrible, terrible eczema. It prompted questions from curious classmates as to whether I was burned in a house fire.
That didn’t help my confidence at all.
I had quite a few teachers that cared. Some a little too much. I knew they felt sorry for me.
That made me even more self-conscious.
And of course, there were plenty of outside pressures (growing up) to look & be a certain way.
I remember wanting long, flowing hair. Flawless skin. And, Jessica Rabbit’s boobs.
Never happened! Except maybe the hair.
Not having or being able to obtain certain things that I desired (from culture) also affected my confidence.
As I got older and my skin condition began to go away, I thought I’d dealt with the emotional pain it had caused but, I hadn’t really. I just pretended to, which, effectively made me feel like I was cured from my self-conscious being.
I walked, and talked, and dressed like a confident young woman. After doing this for a while, I did indeed feel like, a confident young woman!
The idea of “fake it till you make it” does work, and yet, it didn’t help me at all.
After years of “faking it”, it became clear that I didn’t have the type of confidence that I thought I had. Because, my confidence was dependent upon…things (bouncy hair, fancy clothes, my education, abilities etc.). Things that I didn’t care for it to be based on.
It wasn’t real.
It got real though.
As a result, I finally saw me.
It was not an immediate thing but, slowly (specifically over these last few years), I began to feel the ease of authentic confidence slip in.
I didn’t have to try so damn hard any more.
I could finally just begin to…be.
GUILT & BEING
Have you ever felt guilty about being who you are?
I never really liked the saying “Just be yourself” because, it’s always said like it’s this easy, effortless thing to do.
Being yourself is not easy. It’s very, very hard.
Firstly, because we don’t always know who we are. As we find out, acceptance can be difficult.
And second, people like to give you crap about being yourself when it doesn’t fit their standards or, whatever idea they have in their heads of how you “should” be!
A few years ago, I struggled a lot with acceptance.
I was realizing things about myself. Things that I didn’t really feel like changing but, I felt like I should change to be a “better person”.
I enjoyed discovering these truths, and yet, I noticed that I also felt terribly guilty about a few of them. I’d be hard on myself as a result of that guilt.
A Blogger friend shared the following with me:
“I don’t think that you get to a point where you will get rid of the “guilt” until you accept that it’s you and there is nothing “wrong” with it.”
That was like a lightbulb being turnt on in my head at that time!
There’s nothing wrong with it? What do you mean? Say that again please.
A great deal of what I believed was based on the notion of “right and wrong”. Gray areas didn’t exist. So, there was no room to feel free about being in regards to those aspects.
So, let me be more specific.
I am a quiet person. You wouldn’t know it from the length of some of my blog posts but, I am.
The fact that I don’t really enjoy having to have conversations or social settings like parties used to really bother me.
I’d feel guilty and I’d beat myself up about it, because I thought…”What kind of person doesn’t like parties”?
The answer would come.
“A boring person.”
Well–damn. I didn’t want to be a “boring person”! LOL
In my mind, it wasn’t a favorable thing. It wasn’t acceptable. It wasn’t “right”. And yet, the fact remained.
So, how did I come to accept it?
Well…honestly, simply, I remembered what she told me.
“…it’s you and there is nothing “wrong” with it.”
For some reason, that echoed over and over again in my head.
So what if I don’t like parties! So what if I’m not inherently gregarious! So what if I’m a “boring person”!
It’s me and there is nothing wrong with it.
Now, if I decided that I wanted to make a change, then that would be my decided choice.
I knew that accepting what was already true was an important thing to do.
I started applying this notion to all of my truths (that made me feel guilty). As a result, I felt much more free about being.
I must add that blogging has played (and continues to play) a tremendous role in my journey.
Looking back at some earlier posts, I am able to see the aforementioned changes. I can hear and feel a sense of growth, which is pretty cool.
The fact that I’ve been challenged and inspired by so many other Bloggers and Vloggers is also awesome! Their motivational words, timely advice and encouragement helped push me towards this much calmer place of improved (and less judgmental) self-perception. Thanks Yep, JT, Jacquai, Roshini, Sunshine, BronzeGoddess, and Yvette!
It makes me feel even more like…everyone has a story to tell and experiences to share. And that, our experiences must have some significance (not merely because their our experiences but…) because, when shared, they can help someone else to grow and hopefully share theirs. It continues on, and soon everyone’s filled with some level of inspiration.