CONFIDENCE: MY JOURNEY TO FIND IT, AND TAKING THE LEAP
A reader recently asked me, “how did you have the confidence to start your blog?” And honestly, I was a bit taken aback by the question for a couple reasons.
First, I would say that I am confident in myself and my abilities, but it has also taken me a long time to get here ( read about one example of that here). It was really validating for someone else to take notice in the confidence I’ve built up. It gave me a chance to reflect on my journey, just how far I’ve come, and how I even got here-- Taking the time to reflect on your own progress is always a great feeling.
Second, while I am confident in my abilities and my potential, I am also extremely critical of myself, and constantly searching for ways to improve. The fact that someone reached out to me about my confidence also reminded me that the way I, and many others, publically present ourselves does not match up with reality.
While I think (hope) I present myself online realistically as a whole, I know my instagram isn’t an accurate depiction of my life. It’s accurate to parts of my life, but obviously not everything. It is made up of carefully curated images with an incredible amount of thought behind them.
My instagram pictures are often planned at least a week in advance, they’re taken in specific locations with particular outfits often relating to something I want to say in a post. Lately, I’ve been working with some amazing photographers to help me build on what I’ve already started, and push myself to say more with the medium. I am very proud of what I’ve curated and the content I am putting out there, but it’s also important to recognize that I, and any other creator, do not live my beautiful instagram life all the time.
Still, the confidence that I hope comes across on my feed, and in my posts is something that I had to really work for.
In answering the original question, I said that the confidence to start my blog really came from a disregard for any potential negative opinions and a little faith in myself. It can be hard to put yourself out there, but confidence is 100% a learned behavior.
I really do believe that.
I was a weird kid. I also never really tried to fit in, but that didn’t make it easy. I lost every class election I ran in, I felt like I was always trying to find new friends because the ones I had moved on for one reason or another, once, a “popular” boy even danced with me at a middle school dance because he and his friends thought it would be funny (of course I didn’t know that).
In high school, I asked my prom date to prom, a boy from another school, beacuse there was no way anyone was asking me.
I could tell you a lot more about my childhood years, but if there’s one thing I give my kid self credit for, it’s growing a thick skin (the two younger sisters also helped with that) and never ceasing to believe in myself.
Fast forward to college and I still ran into my fare share of really mean girls, but again I learned to not let it bother me so much anymore.
As I grew up a little bit, I truly came to realize that the people who are really in your corner will always be there, and those who aren’t will move on pretty quickly. If you’re doing things that you genuinely enjoy, and you’re happy with your work, then nothing else really matters.
Coming back to the question, so what if people don’t like what I post or what I write. For the first time in history I (me, no one especially important) can share my thoughts with a massive audience at the touch of a button. It’s incredible that there’s even a few people out there who are entertained, who enjoy, and are maybe even helped by something I post. When you look at it like that, who cares that there are people who don’t like it (there always will be).
Disregarding negative reactions is a good way to get started, but real confidence isn’t the same thing as brushing things off. While the latter is reactive, confidence is something that you exude from within.
Confidence comes from a few things, like just having faith in yourself, but one of the biggest factors is experience. The thing is, you can’t get experience if you don’t try in the first place.
My best advice for someone looking for the confidence to start a blog, or make some music, or put themselves out there in any way at all, is just to do it.
You’ll fail a little, then you’ll try things that work. You’ll gain some experience, you’ll get some positive feedback, and the confidence will come. At the end of the day, if you’re pursuing something because you want to, and it makes you happy, you should be confident in that -- you are amazing.
I think that little girl messing around with a camera would be proud of me now -- 10 years older, still messing around with cameras :)