The Striven You – EP #2: Having Confidence & Being Unapologetically You
I am incredible at hiding.
By hiding I mean not showing my true self. You see, my time in elementary school, middle school, and high school was nothing but a slew of factors that caused me to fear being anything other than what people expected me to be.Trying to be whatever and whoever would allow me to catch the least amount of flak during my school day and when hanging out with friends. Which, some how, I was doing without and conscious understanding of.
Then I went to college
On the very last day they could possibly decide, my 2 best friends who were going to attend Emmanuel College with me decided to go to Northeastern University. It left me terrified in all honesty, going to college, meeting tons of new people, acclimating to all of this change, all on my own. Little did I know at the time, it was probably the best thing that could have happened to me.
Myself For The First Time
I arrived to college, got the class schedule, the books, set up the dorm room, the whole shebang. Once I settled in I had realized that for the first time I was in a place where no one knew me, where no one had expectations of me, and I could finally be myself.
As great as that may sound, I was unaware that those first 6-9 months would be like hell. You see, people were genuinely interested in getting to know me, building relationships, and it’s college so we are literally spending every day, all day together. But, I had no idea who I was and it set me into a crisis mode.
Despite how difficult this time was, battling with my identity, hiding the emotional turmoil I was going through from others, and the occasional meltdowns, I walked away learning a truth that I have lived by ever since. This truth has been my own little code for living that I have experienced and watched do me right time and time again.
Constantly live life being unapologetically yourself and never let any person, any organization, or anything make me change the person I am unless it is a change that will positively impact me or my life for the better.
Over that time that I acknowledge this truth and began to implement it I began to learn who I was, what were my values, what I needed from the people in my life, who I wanted to be to those around me, and what I wanted in life.
I started to actually become confident for the first time in my life. Now, social situations like walking into the cafeteria alone transformed from one of paralyzing fear in high school to a casual daily routine in college. Never before had I been able to just walk into the cafeteria, see someone that I somewhat know, and feel confident enough to sit down with them, strike up conversation, and just be myself. Hell, this confidence is the only reason I met, engaged with, and was able to begin dating my then girlfriend, and now wife.
The necessity to please and be liked by everyone was no longer there. The only activities, efforts I focused on, and endeavors I dedicated myself too were only the ones that brought me value. Through this I would begin to meet the people I would call my best friends and my current wife. The people who truly liked me for who I was would be there, they would stick with me and I with them, we would respect each other as individuals, trust each other, and build an actual relationship.
My life was revolutionarily changed. I began to enjoy life, deeply and passionately.
Time For Reflection
Take a minute. Maybe 20 if you’re feeling ambitious or adventurous today. I want you to think about all of the times you have felt compelled to be, do, or act like someone who you are not? All of the times you have had to throw on a facade of some sort. Think about those friends that have come and gone. You know, the situational BS friends where everything is face value. Now think about the difference between those and the true ones in your life who know you and like you for you. Think about the job you have, the activities you partake in, your hobbies, and so on.
Ask yourself: Are all of these people, actions, and things in my life a honest and genuine representation of what I value, that I am passionate about, that you love or enjoy, that bring you meaning and fulfillment and align with the person you aspire to be?
We do these other things, we entertain these situational friends ,we take these jobs, and we act like someone we aren’t because of the social pressures, perception from others, and trying to be the thing we think everyone will be most impressed with, find the funniest, or the most enjoyable to be around.
I don’t know about you but when I did these same things from back in high school, it left a lot of holes in my life and it wasn’t until I said FUCK IT, threw caution to the wind, started being unapologetically myself did my life start to revolutionarily change for the better.
Realize that who you truly are is more than enough for this world. You are enough. You deserve to let that true self out as this is our one life so why live it being someone that we aren’t? Instead, why not live it to the fullest following our passions, hold our values dear, hold our loved ones closer, and chase after our dreams?