Embracing awkward

For those that consider themselves to be awkward and those that are self conscious of how they appear to others, being yourself can be difficult.

However, it turns out that the only way to overcome it is to embrace yourself with open arms.

Awkwardness is always amplified when you focus on it.

On the flipside, if you just focus on being yourself and provide a soft and gentle space where you let go of this idea of everything being perfect, it makes things easier.

It could be stumbling over your words when you approach someone new, your idea being shutdown in a meeting, being rejected, falling over in public or someone not getting your humour.

Nobody wants those things to happen but they’re not as bad as we make them out to be.

We can get so caught up in how we feel about ourselves and wanting to be seen a certain way that we assume things matter so much more than they do.

Your new idea might get shut down and whilst you’re now letting your inner monologue play out and tell you to never contribute again, someone else is thinking it was great idea or wishes that they’d had the confidence to contribute or even just come up with an idea.

This post is titled embracing awkward but you’re probably better off letting go of the labels and instead just embrace being yourself.

From bad to worse

When your life isn’t exactly what one would describe as good, you may find that you’ve developed a fear of things going from bad to worse.

It is this fear that keeps you stuck, stagnant and stops you growing to potentially start living a life that is better than your current circumstances.

From the outside it might seem frustrating that you don’t take action but for you, the person that is experiencing the situation, doing nothing makes prefect sense.

But the problem with doing nothing is that things have no change of getting better.

Do something that scares you

Halloween is the perfect time of year to be reminded to do something that scares you. It could be watching a psychological thriller that gives you heart palpitations and nightmares for a week. It could also be speaking up when you have something to say, saying no instead of yes or making an appointment with your doctor about something that’s been worrying you.

When things scare us our immediate reaction is often to run away from it because in our minds that makes sense and it’ll keep us safe. However, when you run away from something, you’re actually just avoiding it. It might not be an issue for today but it’ll be still be there tomorrow. And when you avoid something but know that you’ll have to face it eventually, you end up heightening the fear.

Suddenly, just the thought of speaking up is giving you heart palpitations and affecting how you sleep.

You have the option to face the thing that scares you and do what needs to be done. The outcome might not be perfect but what matters is that you tried. You might speak up and feel like you didn’t get your points across well. But if you keep speaking up you’ll keep improving. Then, one day it won’t even be something you have to think about, you’ll just do it.

What do you really want to do?

I think sometimes the fear we have of making the wrong choice is really just a sign that our mind is not clear. On the flipside, when you’re mind is not clouded over with stuff you’re able to be more spontaneous and quick thinking with your choices.

More often than we realise we know exactly what to do. However, we allow our thoughts to get carried away and we engage them even when we know it’s not helpful.

Maybe you want to pursue your love of baking but then you let your mind wonder. You start to think about money, what your friends will think, your parents being disappointed, people not getting it, worrying you’ll regret leaving your stressful well paying job, you tell yourself maybe baking is just a hobby or a fantasy career and you wonder if you’re good enough. The thoughts go on until you’ve talked yourself out of making a decision.

You now spend the coming months or even years trying to decide what to do. The truth is you’re just putting off doing exactly what you know you want to do.

Backing down is easy

If you’re in a situation that you anticipate could be challenging, you may feel like the best thing to do is back down. That way you no longer have to deal with things or worry about the outcome being far from ideal.

But backing down can also mean that you aren’t willing to stand up for yourself. Sometimes we convince ourselves that backing down is the right thing to do. Other times, we worry that by not backing down, we’re making things difficult for others.

You end up being so considerate of other people that you’re not even willing to stand up for yourself. Backing down is easy and sometimes it might even be the right thing to do. However, if you’re backing down out of fear or your desire to please or appease others then maybe you’ll be better off standing your ground.

When to hold ’em

…and when to fold ’em.

I know next to nothing about Poker but I love this phrase.

When you have the choice to either stick with something and hope for the best or to bow out and move on, it can be difficult. Sometimes we end up believing that we should stick with things until we’ve ‘fixed’ them. Or we tell ourselves that we should keep going even when it’s clear that things aren’t working well.

We think we’re doing the right thing when really we’re just making ourselves a little bit more miserable as days go by.

In contrast, walking away sounds too much like we’re giving up, that’s the reason we won’t do it.

And like that phrase goes, better the devil you know. There’s always this fear of walking away and ending up in a situation that leaves you worse off than when you started.

But that outlook is so bleak and unhelpful, perhaps it is seen as realism. However, it’s always important to consider that things might not get worse, they might actually get better.

Security over happiness

There’s a choice to be made that sometimes ends up being a sacrifice.

It’s possible to have security and happiness but people often make choices that prioritise one over the other.

They do this for reasons such as fear, a lack of self belief or because they have people relying on them.

It becomes difficult to choose to pursue something creative where you know you’ll go through a period of low finances and you have people to support. In cases like the choice is security because if you pick happiness the people that need you are now at risk.

Sometimes in life you do have to do things you might not want to do but it’s important that you do it for the right reasons. Choosing a path based on security because you have children to care for is very different from choosing security because you’re trying to appease your parents or impress other people.

The right time is now

Sometimes you need a few words of encouragement to get started. maybe you’re afraid and keep putting things off because you think it will be much eaiser to do it later.

Instead you find that the longer you wait, the less you feel ready to begin.

You make excuses like it’s not the right time, you’re not good enough or that you need to spend more time planning and preparing. And it’s okay to need more time but it’s not much use without having a deadline for when you will begin. You could end up planning for the next 10 months.

You have to start changing the way you think about things, it’s rare that anything needs to be perfect before you begin putting it out for people. It could be blog posts, YouTube videos, a podcast or a bunch of other stuff.

The right time is now so don’t put off starting any longer.

If you think you might forget

Write it down.

Sometimes when preparing to have particular types of conversations we spend a lot of time gathering information and planning what we want to say.

We do this because we want to be prepared and we want things to run smoothly. Also, many of us have probably had situations where we got flustered or overwhelmed and forgot what we’d planned to say.

However, despite this, we sometimes don’t end up writing things down.

Maybe it feels silly and you’re worried about sounding rigid when you talk or appearing to be reading off some sort of script. And so when we have the conversation, even if it goes alright, once it’s over we realise their were things we forgot to say.

Setting boundaries badly

I think a big reason why we sometimes avoid setting boundaries is because we think don’t know how to do it. However, it turns out the setting boundaries is like everything else, getting good takes practice.

And so like Zig Ziglar said ‘anything worth doing is worth doing poorly until you can learn to do it well’.

Instead of shying away from setting boundaries because you think you’ll do it badly, embrace where you’re at and in time you’ll get better at it.