Finding Your Own Self Confidence
I always find it interesting and kind of funny when my friends tell me I'm such a confident person. LOL. Thanks guys. Trust me, I have insecurities too! However, I have learned a LOT from my experiences and I'll be straight up honest with you, I've become one of my favorite people. Being comfortable in your own skin by figuring out what you love about yourself, coupled with making the conscious decision to rid yourself of the people, behaviors, and things that make you unhappy will promote your own self confidence.
Let me begin by saying that confidence is a thing that is ever-evolving. I have to constantly re-evaluate myself and what I am doing with my life in order to reassess and change the way that I feel about myself. I promise you that I do NOT wake up everyday, look in the mirror, and say, "Damn girl, you are fucking fire." I mean I am, but let's be real, we all have our days where we look like we got mauled by a tiger in our sleep. Shit happens. Life circumstances change. People go through pregnancy, face a loss or depression, change jobs, move, end relationships, start a new diet or exercise program, etc. Things get hard. Knowing how to look at yourself and decide what and why something is causing you negative energy, as well as figuring out ways to cope or overcome those things is the key to maintaining self confidence. It's something we have to think about every day.
I would say the major turning point for me in finding my inner confidence was finding my first CrossFit gym. I used to have so much self hatred about my body, the cellulite on my legs, my stomach, you name it. By the way, news flash: you know that cellulite that you have been desperately trying to get rid of for years, that shit is genetic. It's not going anywhere. You can make it look better, but most likely, you will never get rid of it entirely. Also, something like 90% of women in the world have it, so just embrace that shit. I've got it! Some days I hate it, and some days I accept it, but I damn sure don't lose sleep over it. Also, if you are part of that 10% of the population that doesn't have cellulite, you suck. Lucky bitches. Anyways, finding CrossFit changed the way I looked at my body. I saw people lifting weights, jumping on boxes, doing pull-ups, just working super freaking hard in the gym. No one gave a fuck about how they looked or if they had stupid cellulite or anything like that. They cared about how they were performing in their workout. That was life-changing for me. Finally I found a place I could fit in and feel good. There was a time in life where I would have rather died than to take my shirt off in the gym. Things start to change when you show up to the gym every day and work your freaking ass off. Want to know my secret there? I don't have one. I just did it. I lifted heavy weights, I stopped eating like shit all the time, and I tried hard in my workouts. I started to feel like I had earned the right to take my shirt off. Others opinions be damned!
Speaking of opinions, let's talk about relationships. Ever heard the saying that you are the sum of the five people you spend the majority of your time with? It is so true. There have been plenty of times in my life where I surrounded myself with people who were constantly negative about themselves and I believe that being around that causes me to be more negative about myself. Have you ever been to a party where you've been criticized because you are choosing not to drink alcohol or eat dessert? You would think you lit someone's damn house on fire with how offended people get over these types of things. Here's how I handle that bullshit:
"Look dude, I am choosing to eat this way because I have noticed that eating tons of sugar or drinking alcohol makes me feel like complete dog shit. Since I prefer not to feel that way, I am going to stick to my regular diet for the time being, but thank you very much for the offer."
**Side note: why don't people ever walk up to someone who is drinking or smoking and criticize them??? I'm just trying to live a healthy lifestyle over here, bro. Hop off my back!** The best thing you can do when someone wants to drag you down for a healthy choice you are attempting to make is to explain to them the reason you are choosing to live that way. If they still refuse to accept that, then BYE FELICIA. Seriously though, I'm going to let you in on a little secret right now: you will never be able to please everyone. If and when you can accept that, you will instantly become more confident. Stop giving a shit about what other people think of you. Only you can decide what is ultimately best for you. Don't allow someone else to try to insert their negative opinions into your life. Some people will love you and some people are going to just hate your guts (haters gon' hate, am I right?). All you can do is continue to do what you love and be the person you enjoy being. If people still find the need to put you down for that, then fuck them! They do not deserve to be a part of your life. Kick those buttholes to the curb.
I know it's hard. I went through a super shitty relationship before I met Shawn. This person made me HATE myself. In the two years I dated him, I am almost 100% positive he never saw me without makeup on. I was so afraid of what he thought about me all the time that I went to extreme lengths to act a certain way, pretend to like things he liked, avoid talking about certain things, etc. I was literally not myself anymore. Even my best friends hated me. Fuck, I even hated me. That is no way to live. DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE AROUND SOMEONE WHO MAKES YOU LIKE THIS. Moral of the story: surround yourself with positive people who bring out the best in you. I'm not saying that you need to constantly be around people who compliment you incessantly (that's annoying anyways) or someone who won't tell you when you have spinach in your teeth (that's just fucked up). I'm just advising you to find people who cheer you on when you succeed and that know how to bring you up when you're feeling down.
When those negative feelings of self doubt start to manifest, attempt to pinpoint what is making you feel insecure. Why are you unhappy? Is it your job or a relationship or the way you look? Sometimes I look in the mirror and hate the way my stomach looks that day. I'll evaluate my diet and lifestyle over the past couple days, and suddenly I'll remember "Oh yea, I ate a whole batch of brownies the other day." At that point, I make the decision to create a positive change to combat the negative habits (i.e. cut out sugar for the next week or so), and instantly I'll start to feel better. Figure out the problem, assess why that problem may have arisen, develop a plan to fix said problem. Boom. You are on your way to a better day, and feeling more confident in the process.
I realize that sometimes it's not that simple. We all have those days when we just feel a flood of emotion about everything. For me, I know that going to the gym and sweating it out for an hour can cure almost any crap I might be going through. At the very least, this coping mechanism will allow me to totally clear my head for an hour that day. Finding your coping mechanism, whether it is a workout, taking a long bath, going to get a massage, getting a pedicure, taking your dog on a walk, or buying a cute, new outfit, can help you get through those rough days and allow you to refocus your mind and feel better. The key to this one is finding a healthy habit to replace the negative feelings. There was a time that I would turn to food for comfort when I was feeling insecure or just all around having a shitty day. Then (lightbulb moment!), I realized that I was creating a circle of shittiness and making the problem worse by replacing one unhealthy habit with another. Your coping mechanism should be something that makes you feel good without exacerbating the underlying issues.
Another contributor to insecurity these days is social media. I feel for you teens growing up in an era where social media is EVERYTHING. I honestly feel so grateful that I grew up before it was so in our faces all the time. We have GOT to stop comparing ourselves to others all the time. Instagram and Facebook can be so toxic to me even on the days where I feel my absolute best that I will institute mandatory social media breaks on myself. It can cause us to have so many unrealistic views and expectations for ourselves, when the fact of the matter is that the people we are comparing ourselves to are NOT US. We all have different genetics, different lifestyles, different body types, etc. Learn to appreciate yourself for what your body can do, love your body for what it is, and stop giving a fuck about what everyone else is doing. Know when to step away from Instagram or take a break from Facebook if you find yourself dwelling on pages of certain individuals. It's just not healthy to focus so much time and energy wishing you had someone else's life. Put that time and energy into making a great meal, going for a walk after dinner with your family, or writing in a journal. It will make you feel so much better than staring longingly at a screen!
Confidence also runs much deeper than just looks. If you are unhappy in your relationship, in your friendships, in your job, in your free time, you will absolutely face insecurity in these facets of life, and it will subsequently bleed into others. This goes along with figuring out what the root cause of your lack of self confidence might be. I got to a point where competing in CrossFit was no longer bringing me happiness. I was running my body into the ground, struggling to recover, under-eating or depriving myself at times, and just not enjoying training anymore. That sucked. I loved CrossFit, but it was becoming something I didn't want to do anymore. As a result, I made the decision to step back from that lifestyle. And it was weird! Competing had become part of my freaking identity. I trained for hours on hours each week and spent tons of time recovering and making sure I was eating right to support it. When I cut that part of my life way back, I felt as though I had lost a part of my self. To fill this void, I decided to rediscover my former passion for writing and start this blog. Suddenly, I found a new sense of purpose, as well as a renewed sense of confidence in my writing and ability to make a difference in other peoples' lives. Here is another secret: if you love what you do, nothing else matters. Find happiness in your life, and you won't find yourself wishing you had someone else's.
Confidence is a multi-faceted quality that evolves throughout our lifetime. We all go through phases where we have it and those where we struggle to maintain it. By learning to accept and love yourself and your life for what it is, you are making the decision to be confident. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others and step away from the people that are bringing negative energy into our lives. Lastly, I truly believe that if we put good energy out into the world, it will eventually come back around. Hold your head high, do some cool shit, be kind to others, and let's try to get rid of all the hate out there. You guys are all awesome and deserve to feel like badasses each and every day! Go out there and rock it today! <3