Be happy in yourself. When I moved school for Sixth Form I tried to be someone else. What actually happened is that I became an extremely awkward and shy version of myself. This didn’t make it easy for other people to get to know me. I ended up feeling lonely and a bit of an outsider, exactly what I had been trying so hard to avoid in the first place.
Recently my sister gave me the book ‘the subtle art of not giving a f*ck‘ by Mark Manson. Reading it took me right back to the least confident I have ever been: Sixth Form. I realise now that my problem was I cared too much about the wrong things. I was obsessed with what people thought of me, of what I said and what I wore.
The book highlights that this way of thinking is actually incredibly self involved. It assumes that everyone is looking at you and cares about what you say and what you look like. I tried so hard to blend in that I ended up standing out like a sore thumb, notable for my lack of self confidence.
It’s not always easy to be happy in yourself. One of the biggest sources of my anxiety was that I didn’t drink. Alcohol just hadn’t been a part of my life before, mostly because of how hard I was kayak training. I was embarrassed by how much I prioritised sport, and instead of just embracing the fact I didn’t drink I made awkward excuses and avoided invitations to parties.
Looking back, if i’d just been open and honest about prioritising my sport, rather than coming up with all these different excuses, I probably would have been better accepted. In trying so hard to hide my differences, they became a barrier between potential friendships I could have had.
I now take inspiration from several Youtubers who have the confidence to be happy in themselves on such a public platform. When I came across the channel Sarah’s Day I couldn’t believe so many people looked up to this girl who loves fitness, doesn’t like clubbing and doesn’t drink.
I believed that there was one route to popularity, and maybe I was right. However that one route isn’t to copy the most popular people you know, it’s to be yourself. Confidence is incredibly attractive. Sharing your actual interests and personality will attract like minded people…pretending to be someone else is a surefire route to toxic friendships.
In my current houseshare I was completely open about my training and diet from the beginning. It’s not like I went around promoting a healthy lifestyle, I just don’t feel embarrassed or rude by not joining in the Dominos order or turning down a drink. And because i’ve been consistent, they accept that’s who I am and there’s no judgement from either end.
Inspiration to be happy in yourself
Sarah’s Day definitely isn’t a channel for everybody, it’s pretty girly. I love this video though because it really showcases the importance of being true to yourself and doing your own thing.
This video was from a pretty low point in her life, and two years later everything has worked out so well for her. You make your own luck in this world. So be confident, be your own person and things will get better!
The second person I draw inspiration from for their confidence in doing their own thing is climber Alex Honnold. He is famous for his free soloing, which is climbing without ropes. In the beginning he was just a kid, for whom the prospect of asking someone to be his climbing partner was more scary than climbing without a rope.
His awkwardness and unique worldview could have made him an outsider. But because he stayed true to himself and what he wanted to do, people gravitated towards him. Now his incredible achievements are celebrated in this Oscar winning documentary.
Both of these people started out with very low confidence, unsure in themselves and what they wanted to achieve. They ended up extremely successful in their own ways.
You will only realise your dreams if you follow them, but you won’t discover what those dreams are if you’re pretending to be someone you’re not.