About two months back, I got my nose pierced. I’d been thinking about doing it for over two years, and I kept telling myself that one day, when I could afford to pay for it, I’d do it. But doubt, fueled by repeated warnings that it would get infected and I would grow a horrible wart, and being told that piercings didn’t suit my personality, held me back. When I finally made myself do it on a random Friday that I had off from work, I finally realized that the scary parts of putting yourself out there, the fear of judgement, is far outweighed by the feeling of being completely yourself; the feeling of coming home to someone you recognize and admire.
People almost only ever talking about “putting yourself out there” when it comes to relationships with others, but in my experience, putting yourself out there has more to do with you accepting yourself for who you are, before having that same expectation of others. If you need a little help getting started, keep reading!
1. Work in Progress
The first step to putting yourself out there is realizing that you aren’t perfect. There is a reason why every dating advice website advises the reader to be confident in themselves: you have to be able to accept yourself as a work in progress before you expect the same from others. So, be confident that you will make mistakes, have embarrassing moments, and get hurt. But also be confident that you will get yourself through it, you will learn from it, and you will come out stronger. If you expect yourself to make mistakes, there is no way you will be blindsided when you make them.
2. Owning who YOU are
The next step is figuring out what you find happiness in! Are you a bookworm? or maybe you nerd out with comic books and T.V. shows; you might even find yourself becoming a YouTube beauty guru! Or maybe you want to spend all of your free time traveling, or writing, or studying and reading research articles. Whatever it is that makes you happy, own it! Even better, join a community: it’s surprising how much other people can help you get into the things you already love.
3. Come to terms with your “flaws”
one of the best pieces of advice that I’ve ever been given by a friend is that sometimes, your biggest strengths are those which you might consider your biggest flaws. Maybe you have an embarrassing habit of projecting your voice a little bit too much- but have you ever considered the fact that being able to speak in a loud and commanding way is a great leadership skill? Or maybe people have told you that you argue too much, or that you are intimidating – but have you ever considered that maybe this is why people don’t try to mess with you, as much as they might with your less confrontational friends? Don’t be embarrassed by the things that are ‘wrong’ with you, especially not the things that other people tell you are wrong with you. But also, don’t ignore them! Own them. Accept the fact that not everyone is going to like everything about you, but as long as at the end of the day, you can look in the mirror and see how wonderful you are, nothing else matters.
The next step is probably the hardest: get reading to battle. Fear of judgement is probably the biggest reason that many people act less impulsively than they would like to when it comes to doing what they want. And it’s really sad that there are always people who think that it’s appropriate to pass judgement, even when their opinion is not asked. See the judgement coming, note and consider the judgement, and then let it pass.
5. Pass It On
Once you feel like you’ve got your act together, and you feel completely at home, help someone else feel the same way! It’s amazing how much you can learn simply by having a five-minute conversation, or a quick hangout. Help your friends and loved ones understand that they have a lot to offer to others by being completely themselves, just like you know you do.