Last year I wrote an article about how I wanted to work on prioritizing being happy and setting lower expectations going into the new year. After a rough couple of months of feeling sad and sorry for myself, I was finally ready to take control of my own happiness and "be my own hero" as I called it. While I don't think I 100% accomplished this every single moment of my life, I know that I definitely made improvements. I tried to let go of all of those little things that would normally bother me and I started to make choices and be grateful for the things that brought me joy, which I feel so proud of.
However, I am a firm believer that there is always room to grow and improve. I am surely not perfect and I can always count on the new year to reel me in and reflect on how I can make changes and set attainable goals on how to make it happen. When thinking about something that I wanted to work on in the next year, I started to ruminate about all of the hard times I faced throughout the past year. And through all of these difficulties, I stumbled upon a common theme: confidence.
For the most part, I would describe myself as a fairly confident person on the surface level. I am not afraid to speak up when I want something and am not shy about the things that are on my mind. Yes, like most people, I often do struggle with confidence as it related to my own appearance. Although I'm aware that losing weight this summer has been a big help to not always feeling bad when I look in the mirror, there are still days where I struggle and don't always love the way I look. But the place where I believe I experience the most struggles with my confidence and where I would like to do the most improvement over the new year is the confidence that I face in my relationships with others.
I am very fortunate to surround myself with a great circle of family and friends. I know that I am a good and supportive person and loved by those around me, but that unfortunately doesn't stop my mind from wandering. I have a difficult time not internalizing decisions that people make, thinking that they are intentionally hurting me. Or even when I know it's not intentional, I still struggle to understand why people aren't always looking out for others best interests at all times. Some of the difficult things that I have experienced over the past year have reminded me of a harsh reality: everyone is out for themselves.
I also struggle when it comes to opening up to new people. At first glance I may seem like an outgoing and approachable person, but I often do have a hard time walking up to a new person and engaging in a conversation. You should see me when I go out to the bars--even drunk and stupid I avoid new people at all costs. But not anymore.
Confrontation is also a HUGE difficulty for me. Being able to directly say what's on my mind to people about the things that are bothering me is one of my biggest downfalls. Not only do I not want to upset them or create more of a problem than what already exists, I think what terrifies me most about confrontation is the fear that the answer or reasoning behind the tension is something that I don't want to hear. I don't want to be hit by the harsh truth that things aren't as good as they seem and that I may have a bigger issue on my hands that needs to be dealt with.
The biggest problem is that my confidence issues create a self-fulfilling prophecy in which I reinforce all the negative thoughts that I have about a situation by removing myself from it. Let's take a hypothetical example of texting my friends to hang out and getting no response back. If people didn't respond and then even worse I would see them all hanging out, I would immediately think to myself, "They didn't respond so I guess they didn't want to hang out with me so I guess that means that they don't like me" when in reality that is definitely not the case and I'm stupid for ever really thinking that.
Yet if I continue to lock myself and my room and feel sorry for myself then I will become that person.
Date events are a big deal in Greek Life, especially at my school. Another example would be complaining about not getting asked to a date event that all my friends are at. I would start to think these other extremes like, "I'm never gonna get asked to a date event because I'm not as outgoing or pretty as my friends." Yes, I know that's not true but what I have to realize is that a guy isn't going to ask me to a date event if I stand in a corner every time I go out and not talk to anybody.
So I guess what I'm trying to say from these silly stories is this: The more I feel upset about these situations, the more I am going to remove myself from them and the possibility of ever getting past them and then I will actually become the person I've been fearing I am all along. And if I don't make a change to my actions, the vicious cycle will continue all over again.
I know that this article has kind of turned into an unorganized rant session about all of the annoying things I do, but this is the final push I need to make these changes as I head into the new decade. It's about time I stop being sorry for myself and thinking I have no friends or that I'll never get married or all of the dumb untrue crap I think about on a daily basis. I am determined to stop complaining over things I have no control over and look for the positives in every situation.
However, saying that I am just going to be more confident is a lot easier said than done and by no means truly attainable because well, how does one do that? How do I all of a sudden just "be more confident in my relationships"? This is kind of the same thing as someone saying that they want to lose 50 pounds by the end of the year. You can't just say you're going to do that without thinking through the more action-based steps you're going to take on a daily basis. Otherwise, it's just not attainable and going to happen for you. Maybe if you want to lose weight, an action you could take to make that happen would be to eat more protein and vegetables and go to the gym three times a week. So with that in mind, I can't just say I want to be more confident. I have to think about what I can do each and every day to make this a reality for me. What baby steps am I going to take on a daily basis to achieve this larger goal of mine?
Whoops, another time getting sidetracked for one of Lauryn's philosophical and motivational lessons. Sue me. Anyways, the moral of the story is that it is finally time for me to get off my soapbox of pity and actually do the job of being happy myself. So the next time that I want to hang out with my friends I should just get off my lazy tush, walk 5 feet to their room and hang out with them. Or the next time that I hope to be asked to that date event I should go up to a random person at Lion, introduce myself, and just start talking to them. It's THAT simple.
2019 was a heck of a year. A lot of great things happened, but it also tested my patience, made me question my future, and changed the way I think about my relationships and the person that I am.
I will no longer expect others to give me the confidence boost that I need in the new year, only I can be directly responsible for that. I can't control other people's thoughts and behaviors, but I certainly can control my own. As I ring in the new decade, I am going to work harder than ever to enjoy every moment that I can and not be so afraid to show the world the beautiful, determined and soon-to-be confident woman I am.