The other day I dyed my hair blue. Why? Because I wanted to. For some reason, that concept is so hard for some people to wrap their heads around. I'm not writing this post to talk to you about dying my hair blue, however, I'm mentioning it because of the countless texts, Snapchats, and actual panic stricken questions I received of people asking me why I did it, lol. That got me thinking. Why is it so hard for people to understand the fact that I wanted to dye it, so I did. Moreover, why is it so hard for people to actually do the things that they want to do?
Friends of mine have recently been sharing their thoughts with me on confidence and how to become a more carefree person. I guess, whether it's a good thing or not, I've always been more of a carefree person when it comes to other people's opinions. However, listening to my friends discuss their issues with me, I've realized that not everyone is like that and so many people are not in control of their own lives. They want to try something new, but are scared of getting out of their comfort zone; they want to become a more carefree person, but get consumed by the idea of making everyone like them; they want to dye their hair a fun color, but are afraid of what others will say. The thing I've realized is that it's not just that people are not in control of their own lives, but people tend to let other people control their lives. You can not go through life and neglect your wants or avoid making decisions in fear of other people's judgement. You will never truly feel happy that way.
Taking control of your life isn't something that will happen over night. It takes a lot of strength, willingness, self love, and a lot of self reflection. However, if you start implementing small actions and take the right steps towards living out the lifestyle you most desire, you can gain back that control you crave. Like I said before, I've pretty much always had self-efficacy; however, here are a few things that I've learned that can help you take control of your life and gain the self confidence to do so:
#1 Stop caring about what people think
Nine times out of ten, people don't really give a shit about you. They may make it seem like they do, but really, people are selfish. People only care about themselves. A friend of mine the other day was talking to me about how she just wants people to like her. If they don't, she wants to do everything in her power to change their minds. I think a lot of people have this problem and I totally get it, but here's the reality- If someone is talking poorly about you or passing judgement unnecessarily, it's either because 1) they're human and passing judgement is unfortunately instinctual for most, or 2) they are insecure and either hate you because you have something they don't, or you're someone they wish they were. Let me tell you something, if someone doesn't like you because they're insecure about themselves, they're never going to like you. And that's okay. Not everyone likes kale, but you don't see kale trying to force itself down people's throats!! Not everyone will like you. If you just start accepting that and stop trying to please other people, you will be happier, more confident, and better for it.
#2 Be the good kind of selfish
Take a trip by yourself. Choose to stay home and work on a creative project one night instead of going out for drinks. Get your workout in instead of grabbing brunch with your friends. Put your needs above others for a change and see where it gets you. Contradicting tip #1, I'm not telling you to be an inconsiderate shithead and not care about other people, lol. But instead of channeling majority of your energy on your friend's, partner's, or family member's needs, start to make yourself a priority. You don't always have to be thinking of yourself, but if you start to become more mindful of giving yourself your "me time", or doing things that you love to do, you'll feel a lot more content. That's what's going to feed your soul and light that fire inside of you.
#3 Do what you want & don't apologize for it
So many people want to do things, but never pull the trigger. Sometimes it's because of what other people will think, other times it's because we're just scared of what could happen. Either way, something holds us back. Simply put, if you want to do something and you don't tend to that desire, it's not just going to go away. You can't just bury it down deep because that will just make you a more angry and dissatisfied human being. Most of the time too, things we want to try are temporary or things we can choose not to do again. If you want to try spin class, go for it. If you hate it, don't go back. If you want to dye your hair, do it! You can always change it back if you don't like it. If you want to start a blog, your own business, or take classes in a subject you're interested in, DO IT. What do you really have to lose? If other people have a problem with you doing what you love, that's on them, not you. If it will make you happy, if it will encourage your personal growth, and if it will help you learn more about yourself and what you want to do, then it needs to be done. Regardless, if other people agree with it or not.
#4 Be confident even when you're not
I was assigned a task in high school to ask ten people what three words they would use to best describe me. I received a lot of different results, however one word that almost everybody included while describing me was confident. Sure, in most situations I feel confident in myself, however I haven't always been that way. I used to really let social anxiety control my life and the way I lived it; however, by accepting my flaws and realizing that's just the way I am, I've grown to become confident. I have literally trained myself to become a more confident person and you can too. Even when I didn't feel confident, I acted like I was to make both myself and the people around me feel more comfortable. One tip is to focus on what you're saying and how the other person is absorbing it, that way you will no longer be worrying about what you look like or what you sound like or any other insecurities you may have. It will take the eyes off of you and shift the focus to what is being communicated. You can trick people into thinking you're confident if you start to act like you are. Eventually, you will just become that confident person you once pretended to be.
#5 Reach out, communicate, and get out of your comfort zone
One of the best ways to start taking control of your life is to start taking real, tangible steps to achieving your goals. Email professors, mentors, and industry professionals. Ask about jobs or internships. Connect with that family friend you know that works in the field you are interested in. Meet new people. Explore all of your options. Build your capital. And celebrate small victories. Get out of that comfort zone and turn ideas into actions. Take control of your life by turning your passion into a reality.
Also, here's a rad pic of my rad hair because why the fluff not