Updated: Apr 28
What a wonderful weekend! Yesterday, friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors came out to help me celebrate the “live” launch of Committed Change Health & Wellness. It really boggles my mind that at this time last year, I was just contemplating a big move to devote myself to helping others achieve their health and wellness goals.
There was a time when this may not have even been possible. I’ve written many times before about my struggles with depression, self-doubt, facing fear. Another big part of that struggle was self-consciousness. That little nagging feeling that whatever you are thinking is dumb, whatever you are trying won’t work out and there will always be someone there to let you know it.
How do you get past that seemingly insurmountable hurdle? You don’t want to admit it to anyone or stick your neck out there to test the waters. But in the end, that’s just want you have to do.
Let’s first unpack how self-consciousness starts. Maybe someone said something hurtful to you at a young age that stuck with you. A teenage peer group didn’t accept you. Perhaps you did something you were really proud of, and someone laughed or ridiculed it. Maybe you were just shy or didn’t do so well at something that came very easily to others. Once you’re in that hole, it can be pretty tough to climb out of. It hurts, it literally hurts. And the thought of voluntarily risking that experience again is a non-starter on its own.
But there’s something you have to remember, time. Time passes. People change, you change and what happened to you in the past may have happened, and no one denies or downplays that. But it doesn’t define who you are today. It shouldn’t.
It’s. Not. Who. You. Are. Anymore.
If you are that same person, there’s a lot more going on but for the most part, lives change, perspectives shift, people move on and memories fade. Remember those plots from movies where a kid is bullied and later in life, they come face to face with their bully as an adult? In those scenarios the bully doesn’t remember doing it, feels bad about it or is really bad off in life and the kid that was bullied either helps them out or accepts some awkward apology and they both move on.
It rarely goes down like that in real life, but one thing is always true. People grow up, move on, and focus on other things. The critical thing to remember here is that if you are still hanging on to something, it’s very likely the other person has let it go so you should too. Do you even interact with that person anymore? Have you gotten better at whatever it was you didn’t do so well? That’s the beauty of time and growth. And, if you do still know that person, and they are still getting “something” out of the pain they caused you, that person is broken in ways you can’t even imagine. Wish them well and hope they find peace someday. Forgiveness is good for your soul and opens you up to the possibilities of more joy in your own life.
Let’s be realistic though, if a little self-consciousness still plagues you from time to time, it’s understandable. We’re all human. However, you can learn to let it go. I don’t charge through life with unbridled confidence all the time, but I don’t let that little twinge I still get occasionally stop me anymore. I ask myself, “what if?” “What if” opens the door to a lot of opportunities. I always think “what if” from a positive perspective as well. Why go negative? There’s no need. You don’t know what will happen so work from a place of success, not failure.
In my journey to shake off some of the self-esteem demons of the past, I have come up with some practices that have helped me remember that everyone of us is unique and brings something special to the table. Here are a few of them:
Acknowledge Your Strengths and Track Your Wins – Again, we are all unique. Do not compare yourself to others. No one is like you and that is something to be proud of. Different does not mean strange or less than, or wrong. Your strengths make you who you are. Are you an avid reader? Do you draw well? Are you funny? Or are you just the hardest damn worker in the room? Own that and celebrate it.
Along with that, track your wins. One way to remind yourself that you are a badass is to acknowledge your wins everyday no matter how big or small. Before bed, write down at least one or two things that you rocked that day. One page a day if it’s a notebook or one win per Post-It® if you’d like to display them on a wall or vision board. I love the Post-It® method. You walk in the room and, BOOM, look at all the times you just killed it. Big or small. Soak them in every time and feel good about you.
Connect to your Cheerleader – Everyone has that one person in their lives for whom you are the one the sun rises and sets on. Maybe it’s your spouse, best friend, mom, or that annoying new person at work that thinks you’re amazing because you know a lot of stuff. Understand that not everyone sees in you what you see in yourself. Connect with that person, see yourself through their eyes for a while. They see something you don’t and probably should. Put on their appreciation of you and wear it like a coat of armor.
Don’t Forget About Selfcare – I know, I know, selfcare, blah, blah, blah. Seriously, be kind to yourself. If you won’t, who else will. Talk to yourself positively and develop a positive mindset. Take yourself for a walk or treat yourself to a movie, a yogurt or that new pair of shoes you have been wanting. Once you start feeling good about yourself it will radiate to others and you’ll want more of that feeling. If you need a little support, try positive affirmations or guided imagery. I’m a huge fan of Belleruth Naparstek. She is a Psychotherapist, author, and guided imagery pioneer that launched the Health Journeys guided imagery audio series in 1991 (https://www.healthjourneys.com/). Its wonderful and can be extremely beneficial in helping you relax and move past some of your past hurts and negative thoughts.
Get a Little Literary Motivation – Reading or listening to motivational books can also be very impactful. The book, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck,” by Mark Manson is a particularly good book for those dealing with self-consciousness. It’s a no-nonsense guide to looking at all the expectations, fears, and social conventions in life, turning them upside down and freeing you to live on your own terms. It’s not for the faint of heart (language) but it will jolt you into looking at things from a whole new perspective. “The Bravest You,” by Adam Kirk Smith is another stellar book that provides you with clear direction and motivation to move you from point A to point B if you’ve been on stuck self-doubt or skewed perceptions for a while.
As with all things, stepping out of self-consciousness takes time and courage. If I had let self-consciousness win, I would not be running this business, making an impact on the lives of others, or sitting here writing this blog which has become one of the great joys of my life. I’m blazing my trail!
So, as they say, dance like no one is watching. Hey, maybe they are, but who cares! Let’em watch. We’re having fun being us.
Are you ready for your “what if?”
Let’s talk about it.
Take care and be well,