Have you ever found that you hide parts of who you are simply because you're afraid of what others might think?
Have you ever found that you're clamping your mouth shut tight because if your real thoughts came out, you envisaged a sea of agast faces and odd looks?
Have you ever felt pain in your chest as anxiety takes hold before you're due to speak to an audience? Scared senseless that they will find out once and for all that you are a fraud?
Do you feel out of sync with everyone around you? Like, you're on the outside looking in, like you're missing some in-joke that everyone else seems to get.
Well, you are not alone.
Heck, at the very least, you have good company, my company.
I know what you're feeling. I've been there.
I've been there more times than you've had hot dinners. (I'm thinking if you like hot dinner as much as I do then that's a decent number.)
Whether it's imposter syndrome, fear, lack of confidence, or just not feeling like your voice is worthy enough to be listened to.
The symptoms are wide and varied, the cause is all the same.
We are afraid to be ourselves.
You're not alone. A lot of us feel this way, but the great thing is that there's hope. You can be yourself, and they'll adjust.
Focus on being the best version of yourself, and let go of comparisons. Other people's opinions don't matter as much as you think they do. The fun part is when you step into owning who you are. You might just find that your opinion will begin to matter to others.
Weird concept huh?
Confidence is hard
I get it. It isn't easy to be genuinely you 100% of the time. There are just some parts of us that we're embarrassed about or afraid to show others. Maybe it's a quirk, like talking to yourself when no one else is around (I can definitely own up to this one), or perhaps it's something bigger, like your dream to sing on stage even though you can't hold a tune.
Whatever it is, we've all found ourselves hiding parts of who we are at one point or another.
The problem with holding back is that it can prevent us from truly connecting with others. In real ways, not fake social media likes or shares, sort of ways but true soul-stirring ways.
When we're not our authentic selves, we're putting up a barrier that stops others from getting to know us. And if we're not careful, that barrier can become so strong that it's hard to tear down. If you find yourself hiding part of who you are, ask yourself why?
Ask yourself what is holding you back from truly being you.
Is it really worth sacrificing yourself for the sake of fitting in?
My guess is that the answer is nope. But, if the answer you gave here was yes, then I would urge you to sit down and think about what you want from life. There's a lot of work to be done there.
Be confident in who you are - quirks and all!
Imposter syndrome is real. There's no denying that.
Imposter syndrome, fear, lack of confidence, and feeling like your voice is not worthy enough to be listened to.
If you've ever felt out of sync with everyone around you, it's likely because you're experiencing anxiety. Anxiety can take many forms, but one of the most common is the feeling that you're not good enough.
This can all manifest as imposter syndrome or the belief that you're only successful because you've managed to fool others into thinking you're competent. It can also show up as a fear of speaking up or being seen as different. And in some cases, it can simply be a lack of confidence in your abilities.
Whatever the cause, anxiety can be a powerful force that holds you back from living your best life. But it doesn't have to be this way. By understanding your anxiety and taking steps to address it, you can start to feel more like yourself again. And that's something worth fighting for.
I've had more imposter syndrome than hot dinners.
Yep, I'm back to my hot dinners again. It must be evening time here.
Maybe you struggle with confidence in social situations, or perhaps you're just not as confident in yourself as you'd like to be. Either way, know that you're not alone. So many people struggle with confidence, and it can be a really tough thing to deal with.
Luckily, there are things that you can do to build confidence. It might take some time and effort, but it will be worth it in the end.
Focus on your positive qualities.
We all have things that we're good at, so remind yourself of your strengths when you're feeling less than stellar about your confidence levels.
Remember, confidence is something that you can build over time. So don't get down if it takes a little while to get there. Instead, keep working at it, and eventually, you'll get the confidence level you want.
How to spot a confident person in the wild.
Confident people are easy to be around. They know what they want, and they go for it. They don't take no for an answer. Confident people are also free thinkers. They don't let anyone tell them what to do or how to think. Confident people are also usually very funny. They have a great sense of humour and are not afraid to use it.
They are always up for a good time. They are the life of the party, often also very easygoing. They don't let things bother them. They just go with the flow. Confident people are the kind of people that you want to be around. They make you feel good about yourself and make life fun.
Why are confident people so different to the rest of us?
Were the given compound V as a child?
Did they eat spinach with extraordinary qualities?
Have you ever wondered what the secret sauce is to be confident enough to be ourselves?
We've all been there... that moment when we wish we could just press pause on life and take a confidence do-over. Maybe it's a first date, networking event, or even just walking into a crowded room. We all have moments when we doubt ourselves and wish we could be more confident. So what's the secret to building confidence?
According to confidence expert Amy Cuddy, it's all about how we carry ourselves. For example, when we walk into a room with our heads held high and shoulders back, we send a nonverbal message saying, "I'm in charge."
This "power pose" makes us feel more confident and makes others perceive us as more confident. So next time you're feeling nervous, try Standing up straight with your shoulders back and see how it changes the way you feel.
Just remember, confidence is a state of mind.
Confidence and being yourself
It is a decision to trust yourself.
It is a decision to give yourself permission to be exactly who you are.
Let's go back to the example of how to spot a confident person in the wild.
Confident people are easy to be around. They know what they want, and they go for it. They don't take no for an answer. Confident people are also free thinkers. They don't let anyone tell them what to do or how to think.
What is it that they are actually doing that is so different from the rest of us?
In the wild, they talk openly and freely.
They speak without fear.
They put forth ideas, musings and points of view because why?
Because they have ideas, that's why.
They are not thinking about scoring points with the client or friend at the table.
They are simply being themselves, nothing more and nothing less.
Trust me the most magnetic person in the room is not always the loudest or the chattiest. It’s the person who is most at ease with themselves. You may not be able to put your finger on it but you know they are different.
Let's look at some examples.....
What would have happened if Pippy Long Stocking decided that her extraverted exuberance and superhuman strength were not what was expected of a girl of her time?
What would have happened then?
She would have spent her life being a shadow, and we would miss out on so many stories and that annoying theme tune that you can't help but smile and feel lighter when you hear it.
If Pippy Long Stocking decided that her extraverted exuberance and superhuman strength were not what was expected of a girl of her time?
What would have happened then? If her author Astrid Lindgren had stuck to running a home and writing about nice, polite girls who loved school ad followed all the rules?
She would have spent her life being a shadow, and we would miss out on so many stories, and that annoying theme tune would never have existed.
We would have missed out on her pragmatic, self-assured take on the world.
The children came to a perfume shop. In the show window was a large jar of freckle salve, and beside the jar was a sign, which read: DO YOU SUFFER FROM FRECKLES?
'What does the sign say?' asked Pippi. She couldn't read very well because she didn't want to go to school as other children did.
It says, 'Do you suffer from freckles?' said Annika.
'Does it indeed?' said Pippi thoughtfully. 'Well, a civil question deserves a civil answer. Let's go in.'
She opened the door and entered the shop, closely followed by Tommy and Annika. An elderly lady stood at the back of the counter. Pippi went right up to her. 'No!' she said decidedly.
'What is it you want?' asked the lady.
'No,' said Pippi once more.
'I don't understand what you mean,' said the lady.
'No, I don't suffer from freckles,' said Pippi.
Then the lady understood, but she took one look at Pippi and burst out, 'But, my dear child, your whole face is covered with freckles!'
'I know that,' said Pippi, 'but I don't suffer from them. I love them. Good morning.'
If Marie Curie had resigned herself to cooking dinners for Pierre after her 1911 application to join the French Academy of Sciences was rejected. Or if she had listened when physicist Emile Amagat claimed that "women cannot be part of the Institute of France."
What a shame that would be. Especially since Marie went on to win two Nobel prizes leaving Pierre with a single Nobel prize sitting lonely on their mantelpiece.
"Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more so that we may fear less."
- Marie Curie
Stephanie Meyer received 14 out of 15 letters of rejection from literary agencies. She owned who she was, and finally, one publisher recognised her talent, resulting in her first of four books in the Twilight saga being copied 100 million times, translated into 37 languages and adapted into a huge film franchise.
'Like the night, without the dark, we'd never see the stars.'
- Stephanie Myers.
Embrace who you are, and the world will come up to meet you.
The most exciting people in the world are not followers. They are not the ones who hide their true selves away from the world.
They are the ones who embrace who they are and own what they think, feel and do.
So here is my hope for you today.....
BE YOURSELF; THEY'LL ADJUST.
Because you, my dear friend, are interesting, insightful and worthwhile, just as you are, freckles and all.
You might surprise yourself at how easily, comfortably and happily the world adjusts itself around you.
Fair warning, you might even love the results.
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