Category Archives: Advice

Be a Freak!

I have just seen the movie, The Greatest Showman. I won’t give anything away, I promise. I will say that it was spectacular. Visually, auditorially and emotionally stunning.

I’m not a “follow your dreams” kind of person. I am pragmatic. I’m a “get an education, learn a skill, get a job that pays enough for you to pursue your happiness” kind of person. But I do love a story of someone willing to go for broke to follow their dreams. (As long as I don’t have to financially support that someone.)

Throughout the movie, I was filled with wonder.  I had so many questions. Not questions like “how much of this is true and how much is Hollywood embellishment?” Not even about the movie itself. My curiosity was about the kinds of people who were represented in the movie.

I wondered how many people have been born different but never found a home, or family, or group of friends who accepted them. How many people who were labelled “freaks” spent their whole lives covered up and hiding themselves because their “difference” made other people uncomfortable?

I wondered how many people throughout history have fallen head over heels but couldn’t be with the one they love because of the prejudices of other people. How many people have sat lonely at their family’s dinner table because the one they love wasn’t welcomed at that table?

How many people have settled for less just to make other people happy?

No matter how many strides have been made by women, non-whites, gays and other people once known as “freaks,” there are still people who feel threatened by them. There are people… adults in the 21st century…  who cannot accept that there are thoughts, ideas, beliefs, opinions, and interests that are different from their own – without considering them to be wrong.

There’s a name for people like that.

Have you ever wanted to speak out or stand up for something but you were afraid of what people might think? Have you ever censored your own post on social media because a few of your friends might not agree? Have you settled for something or someone because it’s what other people wanted for you?

The whole point in following your dreams is to make YOU happy, not other people. If you want to sing a song, sing it LOUD. If you want to express your opinion, say it in ALL CAPS. If you love someone who doesn’t look exactly like everyone else, LOVE THEM HARD! If you’re not accepted at the table, build your own damn table… and build it big enough for all the other freaks who aren’t accepted.

Wave that flag, wear that dress, break that glass ceiling. You do you. Settle for MORE, not less!

If you have a choice between being a freak or an asshole, BE A FREAK! The world has enough assholes.

How To Be Self-Confident

Why should you listen to me about self-confidence? Because I have it, a lot of it. Friends comment on my self-confidence and ask if I can teach it to them. I don’t know if it can be taught, but I can give it the old college try.

 

self-confidence, self confidence, self confident, self-confident

Self-confidence vs. Self-esteem

First let me clarify that this post is about self-confidence not self-esteem. Some people think that these are the same thing. They are not. Let me explain the difference. When you respect or admire someone you hold them in high esteem. Let’s say that you have great respect for Stephen Hawking. You admire his work and his resilience against a disease that was expected to kill him over 50 years ago. You can hold him in high esteem yet have NO confidence in his ability to win a dance-off against Channing Tatum. You may have held Mother Teresa in high esteem, but you wouldn’t have much confidence in her winning a hot dog eating contest. The reverse is also true. There may be an athlete in whom you have great confidence that he can lead his team to a win. Simultaneously you consider him to be a despicable human being and have no esteem for him. (I couldn’t decide which athlete to use in this scenario. So many fit the description!)

While this post is not about self-esteem, I will remind you that you are the most important person in your life, whether you believe that or not. You should hold yourself in the highest esteem and want only the best for yourself.

How to be confident

This is not an article about facing your fears. Fear is not lack of self-confidence. Of course, it’s important to improve on your shortcomings and overcome your fears, but for now, lets gain some confidence by focusing on things that don’t scare you. These are a few of my suggestions:

Know Yourself

You can’t have confidence in someone that  you don’t know. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Your mother told you that you can be anything you want to be. She said you can do anything if you just set your mind to it. This is bullshit! Everyone has limitations. Knowing what yours are is an important part of finding your strengths.

Public speaking is a common area where people lack self-confidence. Well meaning people often give the advice to picture your audience naked. This would NOT boost my self-confidence. This would send me running out of the room! I am extremely uncomfortable with nudity and could not stand before an entire audience of naked people and speak to them. This is what I mean by “know yourself.”

Be Yourself

Being yourself is an important part of building self-confidence.  Do what you do best. That dish you make that is the best ever… take it to a potluck at work. Make it for a friend who needs a break. Those drawings that you sketch in your spare time… post them on Instagram. Do you have a way with words? Send cards to people who need to hear them.  Wear what makes you feel your best. That color that everyone comments on when you wear it… wear it more often. Buy more things in that color. That thing that always makes you feel uncomfortable and unattractive… throw it out! Do what makes you feel your best. Like the way you feel after exercise? Make it a daily habit. Like the way you feel after sex? Make that a daily habit.

Think of the things that have made you feel confident. The day you graduated college. The day you bought your house. Landing your dream job. Delivering your baby without drugs. Delivering someone else’s baby in a grocery store parking lot. Singing at your sister’s wedding. That speech you gave in high school. The idea you pitched at work that became a new policy. These were your accomplishments, no one else’s.

Imitating someone else is the worst possible way to gain self-confidence. It comes across as fake and people will pick up on that. Let’s say that I wanted to try stand-up comedy. If I got on stage and imitated my favorite comedian, not only would I be plagiarizing, it would be disingenuous. How could I feel confident about myself when all I did was steal someone else’s work? I would walk away from this experience feeling even worse about myself. Instead, I could test my comedic chops by telling my own funny stories which come from a personal experience that only I could deliver. If I get positive feedback, it’s ME they’re complimenting.

Be Your Own Best Friend

Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend. Would you tell her that she’s stupid? No! Would you tell him that he sucks? No! When you’re talking to your best friend, you encourage them, compliment them, and take their side. Do the same for yourself.

Fake It Until You Feel It

This is something I’ve learned from having men as friends. I realize this is a broad generalization, but men don’t usually show it outwardly when they are nervous or lack confidence. When they try something for the first time, they look like they’ve done it a hundred times. Let’s go back to public speaking. You can approach that podium with your head down and shoulders slouched or you can saunter up there with your head high and chest puffed out. No one has to know that you’re nervous inside.

At my church, a different person reads the scripture each week. There are some weird names of people and cities that can be intimidating to pronounce in front of a crowd. The preacher’s advice is to say it loud and proud like you know what you’re doing and keep going. I think that’s good advice for a lot more than just weird Bible names.

If none of these things word for you, I recommend going to a grocery store that has those motion detector lights in the freezer section. There’s nothing quite as empowering as literally lighting up the room just by walking through it!