28 September 2017

How I found confidence online...

...and how you can find yours too!

In 2017, it has never been more difficult to feel good and confident about yourself. To love who you are, where you are and where you want to go.

I’m going to go all out there and say that you’re online now (obviously) but you also were online yesterday and you’ll probably come online again tomorrow. And as groundbreaking as the internet is, spending too much time on it can be damaging. Like chocolate to your smile.

Online, we scroll through the highlight reel of everyone else’s lives, comparing what we see to the behind-the-scenes of our own.

I’ve learnt a lot recently about the internet and its relationship with my self-esteem and my confidence. My self-worth and my value. And surprisingly, I think it’s done more good than it has bad.

I am not the most confident girl in the world. Far, far from it. I do feel it's important to point out though, that I have never lacked self-worth to the point of breakage. I have always valued myself and my strengths. However, I do know how it feels when everything comes tumbling down. All at once, like the entire solar system is against you. How it devastatingly stings, like salt in a wound, when you think everything that could have, did go wrong. And all whilst thousands of people speculate from the sidelines.

Valuing, understanding and growing from my weaknesses is something I have never been good at. It’s an acquired talent which I cease to believe would have been possible without the internet.

You are your own worst critic - remember that, because I’m going to keep bringing it back up!

Sharing is caring, or is it?

Online, people feel obliged to share. I like sharing, that’s why I’m here right now, tapping away to you. And why I keep coming back every week or so to talk to you about something new!

In most instances, it is a really great thing. But in a few, it has resulted in the awful demise of someone’s self-esteem. If there is one sad truth that I've learnt in life, it is that there will always be bully's and people less confident than you, whose goal is to break you down. I spent more of my time than I'd like to admit at school, wishing for it to be over so that the mean kids could be out of my life. But there's mean kids at school. And then there's mean peers at work. Then there's even more 'mean' on the internet.

I love the internet but what it does, is give an anonymity to those with a desire to destroy. Negative opinions and mean dialogue come from people who care. They care about the fact you have something they desire. However, those opinions of others that share mean things, do not impact your life. I mean, half the planet dislike Trump but he has one of the most prestigious jobs in the world. Negative opinions cannot direct your path. Nor can they decide who you are.

The moment I stopped caring about the snide remarks was the moment my shoulders pushed back, my chin tilted up and I felt more alive.

The internet: a Judge and Jury? And the Jury is out...

What the internet also does, is make some lose the ability to tell the difference between opinions and fact. And when it’s appropriate to speak or type out loud.

In 2015, there was a phenomenon where men (and a few women) of the internet grouped together in a protest insinuating that wearing makeup meant you were a liar. It was apparently untruthful for us to coerce them into thinking we are someone we are not. This is an example of opinion vs fact and the power of the internet making people completely bonkers.

Now I understand where they're coming from, however, wearing makeup does not make you untruthful. And it definitely does not make you any less worthy of confidence. I didn't know this at the time.

Remember that "you are your own worst critic" thing I mentioned. Well, if you are anything like me, then you wear makeup because it gives you that boost of confidence needed. When you didn't have a great night last night and want hide the evidence. That's nothing to be ashamed of. I bet the strangers on the street wouldn't notice regardless, however, you're not doing it for them. You're doing it for you!

"All of your flaws and all of my flaws laid out one by one. Look at the wonderful mess that we've made"
- Flaws, Bastille

The bump on my nose, my large freckles and hooded eyelids. I bet you’ve never even noticed the dent which resides smack bang in the middle of my forehead from when I had Chicken Pox at age 5. You have probably never noticed them, but I am very much aware. I wear makeup to distract from these niggles that drive me half mad. I wear makeup because it makes me feel more like myself. I wear makeup because it makes me feel more confident. And that is all there is to it. The internet taught me that. For every person there was protesting against makeup, there were a confident man and women standing their ground. Fighting for a right for confidence.

My Grandad used to call makeup ‘war-paint’. I love that if I'm feeling a little like poop, I can put on my face, a pretty dress and feel like I could take on the world. And there is nothing wrong with that.

People are silly. 

Over the past few years, my online presence has changed. Being and blogger has taught me many things, but particularly the importance of a photograph.

People are silly. We always do that "judge a book by its cover" thing. I do it. I bet you have too. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I'm definitely more likely to read someone’s blog if they have pretty photo’s to accompany bodies of text. So silly. So last year I took a huge leap to up the quality of my content and started taking photo’s, of myself. Because people can relate to human beings better than inanimate objects. Sorry, flat-lay lovers.

"Who is that girl I see, staring straight back at me?"
- Reflection, Mulan

We all have this image in our heads of what we think we look like. I truly believe that how realistic that image is, determines how confident you are in yourself. In school, I liked music that was so far from my physical personality. Think Taylor Swift meets Slipknot. I had a serious identity crisis. In my head, I pictured myself as this scene kid with dramatic bangs and seriously intense eyeliner. But in reality, I was the shy girl in the back with a metal mouth and passion for wearing leggings with smock dresses.

There is no greater disappointment than having your expectations crushed like having your photo taken and realising you look nothing like what you had pictured in your head. Or even how you looked in front of the mirror this morning.

I have always (and still do) considered myself a photographer, never the subject. But pushing my boundaries and being the subject of my blog content changed how I viewed myself. I'm not a model, far from that but my vision of myself is so much more lifelike than what it was before.

Whilst it's not perfect, my eyeliner is much more 'on-fleek' in my head than in real-life, the same goes for my eyebrows. The overall perception of myself is much fuller. And so is my confidence. My personality and photo's of myself are so much better aligned and as a result, I understand myself so much better now. And all because I took more selfies to post on the internet.

Undoubtedly, I still have moments where my self-esteem plummets. I value my being 110% but I will always be the first person to pick holes in what I do, think or say. But - to an extent - that is a good thing. I am my own worst critic. I know that the things people say about me will never be as mean as the things I think about myself. And when I think those things, I know how to overcome them and channel them into greater thoughts.

Thank you internet!

Love always,

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