Growing up, I always envied class clowns. Not only are they hilarious, but they can talk a stick of butter into spreading itself on toast. They’re popular with everyone– the students, teachers and even the principal– despite bad grades!?
The worst part’s that I always thought I could be really good friends with them. I had a lot of common interests with them– after all, they sometimes announce their whole lives to the class– whether that’s music, in politics or sharing the same negative opinion on that one guy who can’t vibrato for his life.
But what held me back was essentially myself. When I was younger (link to old post about being shy), I had low self confidence. Back in Taiwan, I was always the tallest in my class and I was also the heaviest among the girls. (I became a bully in defense, but that’s a whole other story…) I put myself on an island just so I could have a Wilson, cause somehow along the way I thought Wilson was better than people. Sometimes I still think a beach ball’s better, but let’s face it. Wilson’s a little creepy (totally tries to spoon you at night, right?).
So I started taking advantage of books and articles on self esteem and self confidence. Truthfully, a lot of what I read was bullshit or common sense. Feeling good about yourself isn’t something you just decide on and it happens the next day. For me, it took me a few years. Here’s what worked for me:
1. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall. Compliment yourself every day. It’s easy to nitpick our imperfections, so challenge yourself. What’s your best feature? bright eyes, smooth hair, charming smile? Take on the role of the mirror from Snow White: if you don’t compliment Your Majesty in the best way, you gon die.
It may feel silly, but it works. Kind of like brainwashing yourself into thinking positively. Doesn’t sound that bad to me!
2. Appreciate Beauty. Not just your own, but that of others. Just like how the city folks are advised to slow down in life and smell the flowers, it’s nice to really see who’s around you too.
The way someone walks and talks, their smile, quirky personal habits… they all play into a person’s charm, their appeal as an individual. Within the first few minutes of talking to someone, you can see glimpses of their life story (i.e. from their accent). When I meet someone, I like to think, “What has this person gone through to be the person they are, right here talking to me, today?”
Maybe not exactly like that, but close enough. It’s a big and lonely world out here, and everyone goes through their own fair share of trials and hardships. But that’s exactly what makes them beautiful– because they’ve overcome past struggles, they’re standing before you– whether polished or polished– today. And you have however long of a time to spend with this person to hear what they have to say. So listen, observe and appreciate. When you can see all of the beauty around you easily, life doesn’t seem as dreary.
3. Chase the Ends of Rainbows. Others might not believe in it, but you should. Stand firm in your own beliefs, especially when it comes to things regarding yourself.
Even when you find your pot of gold, it shouldn’t feel like enough. Having an insatiable appetite for your own greatness is always good; it will keep you driven and ambitious. Today might be the end of a rainbow, next thing you know you’re headed towards the Milky Way.
These steps can help you get some promising buds. Feeling crushed and then rebuilding yourself is what life’s all about. For each time you make a mistake, you have the option to remodel or redecorate. Fix the tilt or leave it. Paint the walls a different color. Change up the floor boards. Work yourself up to that nice brick fireplace or marble kitchen tops. Do whatever you want because it’s YOUR house, it belongs to you. You’re the one that has to wake up each morning and deal with that leaky faucet or the weird brown stain on the ceiling (seriously though, I still can’t figure out what it is…).
Your mind and body’s a house, a long term investment and commitment. Its contract is under the umbrella of Self Love (fine details covering respect, honor and all that). If you break the lease, you pay penalties. Somehow I’ve worked this into a house metaphor, but I’m feeling okay with this.
Seal the deal. All it takes is your own signature.