I never had a lot of confidence. It took me 14 years before I realized that I could be funny and another 7 to realize that I was worth anything outside of a laugh.
As a teenager, I thought no one wanted to hang out with me. When I received an invitation to attend so-and-so’s party or to see what’s-his-face’s new blockbuster film, I would often lie and say I was grounded for not cleaning my room. I so deeply believed that I was unworthy of the company of anyone I respected that I honestly thought that the people who were calling me on the phone didn’t want to be with me. That is a perfect example of how depression can manifest itself into completely selfish and narcissistic thinking. It warps nearly every social situation into an unrecognizable mess of paranoia and doubt.
Hi, my name is Caragh and I’m a self confi-dunce. Much like alcoholism, once you are a self confi-dunce, you are always a self confi-dunce. There is no turning back, there’s only looking forward.
Over last few years, I have begun to try something different. I have become an active participant in my happiness and self esteem. I no longer wait for its arrival. Here are some things I’ve learned. Maybe they’ll help you, too.
1. Don’t just want happiness and confidence, work toward it.
It’s the simplest and most primary rule to follow. Once you get over the hurdle that is accepting that you do not have the ability to simply wish happiness to appear, the rest will begin to fall into place.
Take a survey of your life. Why are you down on yourself? Isolate it and fix the problem. What’s keeping you from reaching your goals? Single it out and demolish your reason for doubt.
There are ultimately two possible solutions to any problem in your life: you either deal with it or you move on. If you can fix your problem, fix it. If you can’t, move on. Just don’t whine about it.
2. Listen to hip hop on the radio, especially the Young Money crew.
I don’t know much about any genre of music and that holds especially true for rap and hip-hop. The one thing I do know is that most of the hip hop in the top 40 today is all about stroking the super ego. Roll down your windows, put on your sunglasses and take a cruise while listening to Li’l Wayne’s ‘Bill Gates’ and then come back and tell me you don’t feel like a billion dollar woman.
3. Smile in the mirror.
I know this sounds silly but I did tell you that I’m going to reiterate what works for me. I hate the mirror. Every time I stare into it I see someone completely disappointed with what she is viewing. I tend to have a very expressive face that hides nothing of what is going on in my head. To see those peering, wandering eyes so upset and critical just bums me out.
So now I smile when I look into the mirror. A genuine, wide-mouthed, toothy grin. I smile like I just won the lottery. I smile like I just got my dream job. I smile like Barack Obama just called me up and asked me to be his Lewinsky.
It sounds silly but it works for me. I like seeing myself happy, even if it’s momentarily forced.
4. Fake it ’til you make it.
Okay, okay. The truth is that I started to pretend I had confidence before I even possessed anything that looked remotely like self esteem. Maybe I’m just exceptionally good at lying to myself but faking it worked for me.
Lie to yourself. Lie to your family. Lie to your friends, your neighbors and your cat. You don’t have to walk around explicitly telling them how you are an exemplary human being who is perfect at absolutely everything, but it doesn’t hurt to walk into a room while thinking, “I’m awesome, I’m awesome, I’m awesome,” like some sort of discount self help tape from the dollar store.
The bottom line is that no one will ever respect you until you respect yourself. Take that advice to the bank and cash it, because that check will not bounce.
5. Create your own happiness, do not rely on others.
I once watched a movie called Good Dick. It featured a heavily depressed woman who meets a man who instantly loves her so much that he gives her a loving and much needed bath followed by some gentle and totally nonsexual, hair brushing.
What message is this suppose to send to me? That when I’m depressed and not brushing my hair (bi-monthly occurrence), an attractive, young gentlemen will force his way into my life and lovingly rub some Herbal Essences onto my scalp? No! No one will save you! That doesn’t happen! When that happens you lie in bed for hours upon hours and cry about the inevitable death of everyone you love and think about how you’re going to die alone on a pull-out couch one day, probably when you’re 60, probably from some sort of cancer, and then all of your pets will die because you have no one in your life who would think to check up on you. Until one day your neighbor comes home (I’m still living in an apartment because I never made any real income to buy a house) and says to her husband, “Joe? Joe? What’s that smell? Joe? I think the hoarder next door died, Joe. Should we call the cops?” and they’ll just wait until after dinner because they can’t even be bothered to care before they eat their meat loaf.
There is no magical savior. Stop waiting for him. Make your own happiness.
BONUS TIP: Throw out the twist ties on your bread bags and just fold mouth of the bag down and under the loaf itself. The weight of the bread keeps the opening underneath the loaf ensuring freshness, and you don’t have to bother with those archaic twisties.
You might be wondering how this will increase your self confidence. The answer is simple: by not being a slave to the twisties, you will effectively save literally seconds upon seconds every year.
I am only 35% joking about this last bit of advice.
(image via inloveandindanger)