Growing up I always wanted to fit in, I got so good at adapting to situations that it was all I did and I felt like the real me was lost. I was shy so would put on a confident mask in social situations, when I was invited to a party or go to a wedding or social function. I’d put on my ‘get it done’ mask for going to work, I remember saying to myself again and again,
Real confidence is more than an emotion. It’s about a way of being. I used to think that some people were just born confident or had a really amazing childhood filled with positive affirmations from those around them, and that’s how they grew into confident adults. I personally couldn’t remember ever feeling confident in my life and I used to believe that I never would because “that’s just who I am”. If you’ve ever lacked confidence in any area of life,
Do you feel lonely? Do you want to feel more connected? Many people feel lonely, or are searching for that sense of belonging to a group that resonates with them. Sometimes it’s that there have been some major life changes happening and they’ve let go of their past relationships, friendships or groups where they used to feel comfortable, and now they might not be sure where they belong anymore. Sometimes it’s that they’ve grown beyond their current groups and are looking for something different than where they’ve been before,
I used to think that there was something wrong with me and I felt as if everyone was staring at me all the time. I was so shy and I felt embarrassed of who I was. I felt as if in order for me to be able to be around others or interact in social situations, that I needed to be someone else. I would work hard to hide what I thought were my flaws,
Do you agonise over making decisions? Have you been finding it difficult to prioritise at work, or in your day to day life? Does everything seem like it’s an important decision that you’re afraid to mess up or make the wrong choice?
I used to spend so much time thinking and overthinking about every tiny choice that I felt I needed to make in my life. Whether it was about what to eat,
Everyone knows those moments in a conversation, where suddenly there’s a break in the flow, and a pause in the breath, while each of you waits for the other to say something clever. Maybe you take a sip from your empty glass, or avert your eyes whilst searching your brain for something quick to fill the awkward space. It feels like forever, until someone breaks the silence with an offer of more wine, a stiff laugh or bringing the talk back to noticing the weather.
Have you ever watched someone else start their own business, excel in a sport or a job role and noticed that you felt a little bit negative about it? Even if you really wanted to be happy and excited for them, something inside you felt like picking at their success. Maybe someone else got the promotion or the role that you wanted, or the kids, the house, the looks, the apparent happiness that you wanted.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been interested in what makes people confident, successful and happy in life. I’ve read so many books on the topic than I can count on my fingers and toes, and I’ve continuously invested in myself by doing courses and training in human behaviour, how the mind works, emotions and success strategies. I really enjoyed reading biographies about people who had already achieved success in many areas of their lives.
When I was little, I used to hate it when my parents would argue or when my friends didn’t get along. I would take it upon myself to make them feel better, or find a way to try and “fix” the situation. My teachers said I was a “sensitive soul” who often took on other people’s feelings as my own. I kept on doing this throughout my life, and in the beginning it seemed to work for me,
Have you ever really wanted to do something but didn’t follow through or even start? Do you have this feeling that you know you can be and do more than you are? Have you ever felt trapped in the roles that you play throughout life, never feeling as if you are fully expressing yourself, or truly bringing your whole self to the table? I was at a point where I couldn’t help but wonder, what happened to all the things that I was going to be,
A long time ago, I was feeling lost and lacking direction. I couldn’t put my finger on just one thing, as I had a lot going on at the time. I was experiencing issues in my relationship even though we’d just got engaged. I was unhappy in my career, not sure if it was the right path for me or even what I wanted to do instead. I was also overweight and too busy to put in the time or effort to go to the gym and cook at home,
For years I suffered from this problem. “I don’t mind” “What do you want to do?” “No, you decide”. Have you ever been around one of those people, or, are you one yourself? Being so indecisive that you just never make a decision.
I used to suffer from this infliction, which frustrated my friends and family, but most of all, it frustrated me. It meant that I never actually got to do what it was that I wanted to do.
Do you ever wish you could just be yourself? Do you feel like you portray yourself differently to the outside world compared to who you are on the inside? Do you feel like you are “false” or “a fraud”?
If you do, you are not alone. I used to believe that certain personality traits were “good” and others were “bad” or just not valuable. As a small child I was emotional, living in my feelings and very vulnerable.
Do you put up emotional walls between yourself and others? Do you find that you automatically push people away if they get too close because you want to protect yourself? Have you ever been in a relationship but you found a way to sabotage it as soon as you started to feel too connected? I did all of those things. Ironically, all I wanted was to have more connected, quality relationships, whether it was with friends,
Have you ever really stopped to think about where you are at in life? Often people jump from meeting to meeting or moment to moment, without so much as a pause. There is always a distraction or something or someone that wants your attention. How often do we stop and consider what we really want, not just in this moment but in the future, the next 5 years, 10 years or 30 years. I can remember a time when just thinking about the next 3 months was a challenge,
The magazines, movies, advertisements weren’t exactly telling the truth. I thought that if I drank their drink I’d be happy. If I wore certain clothes I’d get the man of my dreams, or if I followed a certain diet I’d lose weight. I grew up believing that I could have the dream relationship, get married, have children, live in a beautiful home in a prestigious suburb, be the perfect weight and have a fulfilling career while holidaying in beautiful locations.
I used to doubt myself all the time. I had a running commentary in my head telling me all the things that I couldn’t do, that I wasn’t good at or that I’d never be good at. Have you ever stopped yourself from trying something because you listened to those doubtful thoughts? I used to let them stop me all the time, until one day someone asked me a question that changed my entire perspective.
Do you ever want to make an amazing first impression so much, that you start to overthink it? Have you felt the pressure of wanting to put your best foot forward so much, that you start to put unrealistic expectations of perfection on yourself? Whether you’re dating, going to an interview or you simply want to meet new people, make some new friends or talk to someone you admire, have you been putting it off because it’s too hard?
Do you sometimes feel as if you’re just cruising through life on autopilot? You get up, go to work, make small talk with your colleagues, come home, eat dinner, sit on the couch and try to switch yourself off as you switch on the TV. Weekends are for sleeping in and catching up with friends but they never seem long enough. A part of you knows there’s more to life, but it’s easier to dream about it than to feel vulnerable facing it in real life right?
Have you ever decided that you wanted to get fit? So much so, that you even went to the gym, bought the membership and now it’s sitting unused in the drawer? The personal trainers haven’t worked, the New Year’s resolutions abandoned, and the excuses kept adding up.
If that sounds like you, then you are not alone. The journey to health and fitness isn’t easy. It makes sense that getting fit includes exercise but it’s so hard to get momentum.
Have you ever found yourself wanting to be brave in a moment? Did you ever wish you could feel a little stronger when you’re walking into a room of people you don’t know, or showing up at a job interview? Ever wanted to stand up to someone at work, or speak your mind to a family member? Even something as seemingly little as meeting a personal trainer or going to a new gym class might require a bit of bravery.
Oh my goodness, this is so me. I am the queen of feeling socially awkward!
I feel like I say the wrong thing all the time, at least, I certainly used to. Nowadays, the people I meet cannot believe that I used to struggle in social situations.
I would avoid parties and group functions. If there was a likelihood of there being more than three people at an event, then chances were, I wouldn’t go.
There are times in our life that we are asked to be courageous. It may be something big like asking your partner to marry you, travelling on your own for the first time, or speaking in front of a crowd. But what about the small and everyday moments of courage? These matter too! You might not know that they all add up and contribute to a knowing that you can have courage in any moment you choose.
It’s funny, growing up I was always surrounded by strong male influences. From a young age, I started hanging around the Rugby Club with my ‘old man.’ And through my own playing career, I was always conditioned to block out all emotions and feelings. At the time, I never really noticed. And I noticed, ever so slowly, I was putting up a brick wall around me, like a reinforced shield; not letting any emotion from others in.