The Year It Took To Rebuild My Confidence

Normally when I go somewhere or experience something new, I try to do an accompanying photo post to recap it. I’m not one of those people who takes tons of pictures of everything or constantly posts on social media. However, this most recent vacation last week was a little different in terms of how the planning went.

I’ve never been to San Francisco so I had no idea how massive the Bay area actually is. Over the summer, I knew I’d be in Cali towards the end of the year anyway so I started looking at reasonably priced flights to North Cali in the summer. Apparently, flying to the Bay area is expensive as hell!

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The flight wind up costing $215. Given the results I’d found, that was cheap as it gets.

Initially, I’d planned to spend most of the daytime outdoors. But the weather was like “YOU THOUGHT”. The positive thing is that I had time to reflect about this last year.

What I’ve noticed as time goes on is that we’re all dealing with the same types of things. We learn how to get through and get over by not being scared to be ask for support.

Men need to know it’s okay to struggle with sex and coping mechanisms and suicidal thoughts and therapy. It’s okay to question God and wonder if we deserve love after we mess up over and over. We need to get real about the range of emotions that make us human. But we also need to have conversations about accountability and learn how to own up to our BS then pick up the pieces and work through it.

I hit a point where my self-esteem was low. Some days I wasn’t sure how I’d ever get back to feeling “normal” again. Well, I can say it’s taken a year.

Focusing on what’s good doesn’t mean the bad is less important

When someone is venting, the automatic response of family and friends is to say “it could be worse”. I hate this. It’s a dismissal of the vulnerability you’re entrusting that person with. A lot of people preach that if you focus on the positive and only the good things then the bad things won’t seem so bad. I think sometimes you need to feel those authentic feelings that a bad situation or set of circumstances brings though.

Rather than ignore it or put on a happy face and act like everything’s copacetic, I sat with certain situations and my reactions to them. By doing so, I easily recognize a place I never want to go back to. I know what I’m fighting against and what I want to move towards. You can be appreciative for the little things in life without completely divorcing yourself from the unfortunate events that were meant to destroy you.

Be your own hype man

Earlier this year, I wrote about how guys need should be fans of their significant others. There are a lot of relationships where there’s no support. When you have someone who believes in you, it helps you to believe in yourself. I’ve had that and it made a huge difference. However, during a long period when we stopped talking, I found myself wondering if I was smart or good-looking or funny enough for the next person. I questioned if it was possible for someone to love me the way she did. It hit me a few months ago that I’d been defining how I felt about myself based on how she saw me. Tying your self-esteem to how someone else views you will always keep you starved.

When she wasn’t in my life, I stopped thinking about validation or approval, especially from women. Instead, I made it a priority to be proud of whatever accomplishments I made; big or small. We’re often so critical of our shortcomings that we don’t know how to give ourselves credit for progress unless someone else does.

It’s enough for one person to think you’re special – even if that one person is you.

Stop moving the goalposts when you think you’re missing out

Comparison is not only the thief of joy, but it’s also the catalyst to a nosedive into constant bouts of unfocused effort. The life I thought I wanted would have come with a lot of sacrifices. And on the outside looking in, I realize that I was right about a lot of things. So had I been given the opportunities and started my career out of college earlier, I’d be in a different place. In my heart of my hearts, I know I could do the job. Instead, I’ve firmly planted the goalposts in a place where I feel comfortable and I’m thriving. I no longer feel like I’m behind or that I could do more or work harder or be better. I hit a point in my life where I accepted that my dream job didn’t look how I’d envisioned it and that’s perfectly fine. When you accept that what’s meant for you won’t elude you, the load to be something and someone you’re not off your shoulders feels awesome.

 

 

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