Sorry My Self-Confidence Makes You Uncomfortable

April 8, 2016 ~ Demetra Szatkowski

I had a guy tell me recently, "You show off a lot." It was one of the things he didn't like about me. "You try to impress me," he said.

He gave examples. Me posting pictures of myself on the pole. Me doing handstands when he was around. Me saying out loud that I'm really smart. Me being so "open" on the internet. Me not being humble enough for him.

Even better was when he gave the "rules" for being modest. "You can say you're good at something that happened in the past, but not the things you're good at now, or it's bragging."

"So I can say, I was really good at piano, but I can't say, look at this cool pose I can do?" He nodded.

I thought about it. I've been thinking about it. I like to be called out on things, because it makes me more self-aware. But I have come far enough now in the process of self-growth to recognize when things that are said about me are based in truth, and when things that are said actually have nothing to do with me and are really about the other person. 

The thing is this:

The only people who get annoyed when other people are proud of who they are, are people who are insecure. 

It could be more subtle than you think, more subconscious than you think. If I'm bothered by a girl posting a picture in her bikini, it might be because I think she looks better than me, but it could also be because I'm jealous that she has the motivation/time/ability to work out when I don't. If I'm bothered by someone making their status about how they got a really incredible job they wanted, it could be because I don't like my own career, or because I don't feel like I'm accomplishing anything in my life. Or maybe it bothers me because I don't feel good enough about my life to want to tell other people about it.

I know this, because those things don't bother me anymore.

They used to. Once in a while, I'll still be scrolling through my newsfeed and have a thought like that. And then I think about it, and realize it's because I'm feeling not good enough about something. 

I have also worked through a fucking lot of my own insecurities, and that is not an easy process. I went from being someone who had such awful skin and was terrified of anyone seeing me without loads of makeup on, to someone who doesn't even care or think about it anymore. I went from worrying about how every other girl's body compared to mine to seeing a beautiful picture of someone and genuinely thinking, "Wow, she looks great." I went from caring so much about what other people thought of my clothes/choices/opinions, to feeling so free to express any of those things.

And you know what? That's a really big deal.

Of course I still have insecurities - but I am no longer insecure about having them. I most definitely have moments where I am moody and I hate everything and everyone, but I now know that those emotions aren't actually true and that they'll pass. I am still emotionally affected when someone says they think my outfit looks dumb or that I shouldn't have posted that picture or that my idea is stupid - but so much less than I used to be. I feel the hurt and then I name it inside my head: "That person was just pretty mean to me." It's a neutral statement. Because I know the way other people feel about me is really not about me.

I go to therapy. I see and accept and work with my own darkness. I talk about it. I write about it. I like being offended or insulted or being called out on some level because it forces me to look again at myself and see what I'm missing. Sometimes I see things I really don't like. Sometimes I see things I do.

I will tell you all about any part of myself the moment I meet you, if you are willing to go that deep, if you ask. I want to hear everything about you, too. I want to understand those qualities in other people. It helps me understand myself.

I like who I am because it's taken a lot for me to get here. I can handle a lot emotionally because I've gone through an extremely awful tragedy. I post pictures of things I can do physically because I work really hard at them. I can travel by myself because I've worked through the fears that made me scared to do that. I'm still so excited to be able to lift myself up in the air because a few years ago I had no arm strength at all. I post things that I write because I love writing and I can see it getting better every time I do it. I express myself, sometimes loudly, because that's me, and because it feels so good to no longer care if someone is bothered by it. I do handstands because they're fun and they feel good and you know what? It took me two years to be able to hold one.

If that bothers you, that's your own stuff. I'm not taking responsibility for it.

People are always going to try to shut you down. You are always going to be "too much" for someone. I had a boy break up with me in 5th grade because I was "too loud around my friends." Stupid, right? But it stuck with me. I'm too loud. I'm too giggly. I'm too immature. I'm too much.

It's not true.

You know what I like? When other people tell me how amazing they are. When other people post pictures and essays about cool things they're doing. When my friends call me to say "I did this thing and I'm so proud of myself!!!"

That fills my heart up. I want people to be so proud of who they are and so proud of the things they work toward that they are not afraid to share it with the entire world. (I mean, or not. If you're naturally quiet, that's cool too.)

I think it bothers me so much because it also feels like a return to another century, with men policing women's behavior. "Be quiet." "Sit properly." "Your husband should have dinner ready for him every night." "Don't show that you're annoyed so you don't upset him, he's had a hard day." "Don't show that much skin, men will think you're a slut."

Like... Come on. Can we move on from this already?

My friends are people who let me know how incredible I am. Who totally support me. Who are also not afraid to call me out on my bullshit when they see it. This is the best combination, because it keeps me honest and it makes me want to be a better person daily.

Confidence: being inspired and lifted up by other people doing really awesome things.

Confidence: loving who you are and expressing it in a way that is true for you. Knowing that you will always be okay, that you support yourself, that you validate yourself. Knowing that you are so much more than enough. Knowing that you're going to be wrong and you're going to mess up a lot and that doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with you. 

Confidence: being okay with your bad days and bad moods because you know that even with those qualities you are still a pretty amazing person. 

And the best part? It's something that is accessible to everyone. You just have to be willing to work for it. 


P.S. I'm not sorry