"How can I be my genuine self around people I feel like I should impress? I always feel like I need to impress everyone and I get all nervous and act kind of sarcastic and I don’t like it because I actually am nice."
- Question submitted by Anonymous
I think by letting go of the need to impress and focusing on learning about the new people in the room. I know, I KNOW, letting go is difficult. Especially when you’re surround by people whom you ALREADY think are SUPER COOL. I always get into situations with people who rule and I’m like “oh they are funny, so I will not be my normal joke-making self, because that is what THEY do.” Basically, I have your opposite problem. I REFUSE TO IMPRESS PEOPLE. We would make a great team.
Anyway, advice or whatever. Remember that people are going to be most impressed by the real you. In general, humans can tell if you’re trying to impress them, or if you’re holding out on them. So, stifling you, or trying to be a different you, it just doesn’t work. People like YOU. They like the real, actual you. That’s the person they want to get to know.
Second, forgive yourself. This isn’t going to switch over night, you’ll still find yourself in MANY A POSITION where you feel like you’re trying too hard and you’ll be like “stop being the worst, self, just be you, be you, be you” and in that moment, you can take a step back and spend a few minutes just listening to others. If you do that, if you REALLY focus on listening and learning from others, you will become more present. Being present is the easiest way to figure out how to be totally you in these situations. When you’re present, when your focus is on taking in the cool things around you, you’re more likely to accidentally just BE YOURSELF.
We should all remember that accidentally being ourselves is the best way to do things.
I think that, even if not everyone on the planet has been EXACTLY where you are, we can all certainly understand the feeling of insecurity that creeps up in group situations and makes us second-guess ourselves and act in ways we wish we hadn’t.
This may be an extreme piece of advice (in the TV-version of this advice-post, giant words that said EXTREME ADVICE would have just crashed onto the screen), but what about calling yourself out when it happens? It depends on the crowd and how you are feeling and a bunch of other factors, but if I were hanging with someone and made a joke and they rolled their eyes and me and then froze, looked me in the face and said, “I DO THIS THING WHERE I GET NERVOUS AND THEN AM RUDE AND I AM CURRENTLY WORKING ON THAT, I THOUGHT YOUR JOKE WAS FUNNY, CAN WE START OVER THANKS,” I would have my new best friend.
If that is too tall an order, at least call it out to yourself when it happens. Not in a chastising way, where you get mad at yourself, but more so in a recognizing way. If you do something out of character, check yourself, and just repeat in your own head, “I must be feeling a little uncomfortable right now, because that wasn’t how I wanted to respond.” It may seem small and insignificant, but those moments of clarity do actually start to unravel the inner process.
The last thing I want to tell you is that, in most cases, your actions aren’t permanent. If you met someone and did a few things you weren’t proud of, chances are that person isn’t going to assume the worst of you for the rest of time — if you slowly work on yourself, people around you tend to be really proud of you, very forgiving, and super excited to get to know the real you.
Step by step.
(Day by day)
(A fresh start over)
(A different hand will play.)
(THE DEEPER WE FALLLL THE STRONGER WEEE STAYYYY…)
(WE’LL MAKE IT BETTER… SECOND TIME AROUND.)
"A psychic told me that 2014 was going to be ‘the year where everything happens.’ First of all, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?! Second of all, how do I do it?!"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
First of all, it means you’ve worked really hard to get to where you are and you’re about reap some mad benefits.
Second of all, DON’T STOP WORKING. I don’t mean literally working, day-to-day job bullshit. I mean, don’t stop doing they things that you love. I mean, the things that make you feel great. Don’t stop making an effort to see the people you love. Make MORE of an effort. Don’t stop doing the dumb shit that makes you laugh. Do MORE dumb shit that makes you laugh. Don’t stop being creative. Don’t stop helping the people around you. Don’t be afraid of love. Please don’t be afraid of love. You miss out on so much when you live in fear of such a wonderful thing. Don’t stop asking questions. Learning is so powerful and there are all these people around who know shit, and what’s more, they WANT to share that knowledge. Asking questions doesn’t make you dumb, it makes you interesting.
Kristin and I have worked our asses off the past four years and there is nothing anyone can do that would make us slow down. We get caught up, for sure. There are days when I feel like if I move they whole world around me will just crumble. Those days will happen, yea, but they’re tiny reminders that we are human and we can’t do it all.
Long story short: Life is what you make it. If you do everything in your power to make sure this year is the year WHERE EVERYTHING HAPPENS, you will not be let down.
As much as I believe in psychics, and as much as I am excited for your year to unfold, I am going to caution you against “waiting for all the things to happen.” Dannielle is correct: while many of us (including Dannielle, yourself, your psychic, and me) do believe in guiding forces that shape and inform our lives… those forces don’t just work alone while you eat Cheetos on the couch. If you want this year to be the year where everything happens, you make it so. No one else can do it for you. Not even witches or warlocks or psychics or god or Beyonce.
What does ‘the year where everything happens’ mean? I think it means that you have the potential to kick a lot of ass. I think it means that you have a force within yourself that will allow you to overcome obstacles and commit to things you believe in. I think it means your psychic may have taken the easy road out, because, spoiler alert: we all have that potential inside of us.
It’s pretty cool that we have markers in time that allow us to look back and reflect on what we’ve accomplished, and look forward with a sense of optimism and hope for what lies ahead — but it can also be scary to put huge pressures on ourselves to make oneparticular year THE BEST ONE EVER or THE YEAR IT ALL HAPPENS. Think about the things you’d like to accomplish this year and go after them, sure… but also think about the things you’d like to accomplish today, this month, and over the next ten years.
Allow yourself many ways of measuring your expectations and your achievements. Take things one experience at a time. Persevere. Believe. Breathe.
Gabi talks about body positivity as part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions
"How do you get self confidence?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
I think Target is having a sale next week? LOL JK YOU GUYS THEY DON’T SELL CONFIDENCE AT TARGET.
ZING tho, amiright?
Anyway. For me, it took a long time and a lot of patience. It also took a ton of self-awareness. When I would get upset and think “ugh, I’m the worst at this I hate me” I would have to take a step back and be like “okay, why do I think I suck” and I would pull and tug on my brain until I realized that because of things that my mom said, or my exes did, or my shitty friends used to say, I thought I didn’t measure up. THAT WASN’T THE CASE THO, I was brainwashed. We are all brainwashed to a certain extent. Whether our parents pointed to our siblings and said “be more like that” or our friends looked across the cafeteria and said “I wish I were friends with them” or our exes told us we could stand to lose a few. Directly or indirectly, the things people have said and done to us in the past 100% affects how we see ourselves today. I think therapy can be a huge help in finding those moments and hashing it out with yourself.
However, I think there’s a ton of work that can be done on your own. I think you can absolutely write lists of things you’re grateful for, take 10 minutes to close your eyes and focus on why you rule, ask your coworkers/professors/friends what they think your strengths are, and learn to love you by chasing after the things you love.
We all have such a specific role to play in this world. You are important, you matter, you have already made a difference in someone’s life. Focus on the things around you that make you happy and remember those things have made their way into your life for a reason. Because you deserve them. You deserve the best because you are the best.
I will tell you what. There are days when I feel like I am the worst, stupidest, laziest, ugliest person on the planet… and there are days when I feel powerful and in control and smart and wonderful and pretty. For me, personally, it isn’t so much that I aim to NEVER have a day or moment when I feel shitty, but rather that those are the rare moments, and the in-control version of myself is much more common.
I agree with Dannielle insofar as the behaviors and actions of people around us, not to mention the media and popular culture and WHATHAVEYOU, work to inform what we think of ourselves. I also, though, look to the world around me to learn how to find my own strength. When I see someone and think, ‘Man, that person is f*cking awesome,’ it is rarely Beyonce (although, Beyonce, you’re doing great). It is usually a person standing on a street corner, checking their phone, doing what they do, wearing what they wear, etc. It is the way we carry ourselves that informs people around us, not the things we wear or the money we make or any of those other lies that we are made to believe. So, for me, when I am feeling like the worst person, my first step is to remind myself that who I am isn’t informed by the things I own.
The second step is keeping myself healthy. I know that you’re like, “I ASKED about self-confidence, Kristin, not about my health.” The thing is, after many years of searching, the place that I always, always find mental clarity is the place where I am challenging myself physically or mentally. In combination, that is the one-two punch of finding self-confidence. Start running. Begin a yoga practice. See if their are community classes available near you that teach you a new skill like cooking or photography.
Don’t just take a class for a week or go on three runs and then throw up your hands and say, “I STILL DON’T FEEL GREAT.” You have to stick with it. You have to push through the moments when you feel crappy and get up and run anyway. Get up and go to that class anyway. All those chemicals in your brain-head will start to bang around with more oxygen and more creativity and more whatever-the-hell-else that those physical and mental challenges bring you. Over time, you’ll suddenly realize that you aren’t thinking about your self-confidence so much… because mostly you are just living.
"I grew up as the youngest of four girls... All my life I've just wanted to be the best at something. I was never the smartest, or the prettiest, the most compassionate. I was always just the youngest. I struggle in my current life and relationships because I always feel like someone is out performing me. I never feel like I'm the best, I never feel like I'm number one. How do I settle for second best?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
What I suggest is going to sound impossible, but I promise it is not. Stop comparing yourself to others. We are all incredible in our own ways, we are unique, talented, and incredible. If there are certain skills you want to hone, YOU CAN, you can take classes, look up youtube videos, try again and again and again. You could be the greatest vegan baker in your family, the most talented kayaker, the fastest knitter. There is always something at which you can be the best in a small group of people.
HOWEVER, I want to put this in perspective for you. This year Meryl Streep has been nominated for 17 oscars, she only won 3. THREE. MERYL STREEP HAS BEEN NOMINATED SEVENTEEN TIMES AND ONLY WON THREE. Parks and Recreation has been nominated for 10 Emmys, AND WON ZERO. They have won no Emmy, ever. Mean Girls WASN’T EVEN NOMINATED FOR AN OSCAR OR GOLDEN GLOBE.
The world is weird, super weird, we have a weird way of putting certain people or things on a pedestal based on real dumb shit.
You are incredible. You are the only you in the entire world. THE ONLY ONE. No one will ever be able to compare to you because you are the number one most beautiful, compassionate and brilliant you in the world. Be proud of who you are and who you will be in the future. When you get down because someone is “better” than you at something, appreciate that you have incredible people in your life and strive to make them proud of you. Beyonce says you get one day to feel less than amazing, ONE DAY, and then you use that shit as motivation to be even more incredible.
How about this, though? You aren’t second best. Your mind thinks it is second best, but that is only because of the way you are positioning things. There are a hundred gabillion people on this planet, which means that there are a ton of humans that might excel past you and a ton of humans that you will excel past. The thing about that fact, though, is that it shouldn’t lead you to want to be “better” than any specific person. It should lead you to want to achieve the things you want to achieve the way you want to achieve them… because being better than other people doesn’t mean jack shit unless you are literally going for a gold medal.
I am certainly not the best advice giver on the planet. I am not the best writer. I am not the funniest person. I don’t know how to knit. I am really bad at running. I am really good at watching old episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I am certainly not the best. The thing is… none of the matters to me, because I focus as much of my energy as I can on not comparing myself to others, but rather setting goals and standards for myself.
I know when I answer an advice question and it could have been better. I know that there are a lot of papers I wrote in college that deserved more attention. I know that the work we do creating webcasts is the absolute BEST that I can do given the circumstances. I am proud of the things that I achieve for myself.
When you have that itch in your middle that says, “I just wish I could be as good as that other person,” take a moment. Stop in your tracks. Remember that there is always someone we can compare ourselves to and that those comparisons get us nowhere. Reflect on what you want for yourself. Keep your focus there.