Confidence and How I Got It

I questioned this post long before I began to write it. I had this little whisper in my ear telling me not to because it was going to make me come off as conceited and full of myself. I didn’t know the words to say to not offend anybody and also not have people think about me in a negative kind of way. Well just a few days ago I started to hear another voice. A voice that started to get louder and louder. Eventually louder than the other whispers. A voice saying “You earned it!”. I did. So here it goes.

I am going to be completely transparent with you. It was hard to open up like this but I cant tell you the story of how I got confidence without telling you who I was before.

I grew up in a single parent home with my mother and my twin brother Austin. Austin and I were always around our many aunts and few uncles. You can see that we were raised by only woman for the most part. I tend to pick up habits from my environment just like when you start hanging around somebody new and you then start to mimic some of the things they say on accident. Well I was around females most of my life and tended to have feminine qualities. Sometimes it was my posture. Sometimes it was the way I thought and the things that I said.

So coming from a child who was in the stage of self identity, it was extremely hard for me when people would laugh and say that I was a girl. I would get picked on regularly and called names that I didn’t even know what they were until I got older. I got picked on and I didn’t understand why.

During middle school I started liking girls and girls started liking me but it was still a constant battle because at that age I realized how horrible bullying could be. The girls that I liked would like me when I was alone with them but treat me horrible when their was an audience because they didnt want to be made fun of for liking the “gay boy” in school. That was the first time I contemplated suicide but that will be another story. It built one of the worst insecurities I have ever had in my life.

Once I reached high-school I thought that things would be easier. I had my first girlfriend during my freshman year. Due to my morals, I refused to be intimate with her and after a year I found out that the whole time I was a side piece when her “girlfriend” wasn’t around. Yeah that destroyed me considering that once the school found out, the bullying was 10x’s harder. Sophomore year I dated another girl and she was honestly my first love. I never felt a love like this and I knew for a fact that she would be the one.

Well right before summer break she wanted to take a “break” and see other people until school started. Yet again, I was crushed. I went through an extreme depression where I fought for her to open up and tell me why. I later found out that she also left me to be with a girl that she lied and said her name was Nate just so that I wouldn’t find out. Well many people new before me and the bullying intensified to the point that I didn’t have confidence in anything. I didn’t think that I was ever going to be man enough to be with a woman. I never thought that I would be strong enough to be good at any sports. I never thought that I would be smart enough to ever become anything and I was drowning in pain.

Drowning so deep in pain that I began cutting myself and other forms of self harm. I figured that if I was going to feel pain, I might as well be in control of some of it. Questioning myself “Why are you like this Adam? Why do you only hang out with only women? Why can’t you get along with many guys? Why are you so weak? Why can’t you be like everybody else?”

Well one day about a year after I graduated high-school, my twin brother and I were invited to go to the club with six of our female friends. They liked to bring us to occasions like that to keep the guys from harassing them. After a few hours of dancing and underage drinking, we decided to start heading to the car where our sober friends were waiting for us. Told you I was going to be transparent.

On the way to the car we passed a group of guys posted up on the wall. One of the guys laughed and said “Look at these fags!” while pointing at my brother and I. With a little bit of liquid courage in my system I turned and asked if he was talking to me. He replied “Yes” while snickering with his boys. “Yall have to be gay hanging around only girls.”

That was it. I couldn’t take it anymore. I was never a fighter but I was always good at hurting with my words and dammit I was fed up. So I flamboyantly did 2 snaps and said “Im going home with six beautiful woman while you are going home with a group of guys. That actually seems a little more suspect than me and my brother right now, and to answer your questoin. No we are not gay, not that it matters anyways. We were actually invited here specifically to keep guys like you from stealing away these beautiful women’s joy. And now that I’ve looked at yall, a few of your friends were actually hitting on some of my friends earlier tonight. So although I have nothing against gay people, you clearly do, so let me get something straight. Me hanging out going home with woman will always be more masculine than another man like yourself trying to show off how tough and hard you are to make your homeboys, other men, feel that you are more of a man. So I am going to finish my night on good terms and you can continue trying to impress your guy friends.”.

I just knew that we were going to get jumped that night but what actually happened is the dudes only said a few more jabs trying to piss us off. Nothing they said could change the facts that I just threw into their faces and myself and my lovely friends walked back to the car and had a great rest of the night. That night taught me that at the end of the day, I can only be who I am and I can only impress the ones that truly care for me. That night I overcame the insecurity of people thinking that i was gay and I actually used that same response many times after. The more I responded that way, the easier it was for me. That’s when a lightbulb clicked on.

If my worst insecurity could be destroyed just by putting myself into the situation to beat it, then what happens if i put myself into other uncomfortable situations. I remember sitting down and thinking about all of the events that, at one point, hurt my feelings or had me thinking that I wasnt good enough. I wrote them down and figured out what I could possibly do to fix it. Before I knew it, my insecurity of being weak was killed simply by going to the gym and pushing myself. My insecurity of my weight and how skinny I was was simply erased by leaving the house in tight fitting clothes or even all spandex.

In doing so, I have made it a goal to face my fears and insecurities to the point that i joined the military, jumped out of planes, swam with sharks, nude modeled in front of strangers in art classes, had some of the best times of my life in some of the roughest parts of town and even faced my fears of wasp and heights as a tower climber. So if you made it this far understand that this is why I said that I earned the right sound conceited or full of myself by explaining how i got confidence. It was a hard journey that I had to fight everyday, completely alone. Now that I was able to find the secret, I am now sharing it with you.

If you dont have confidence in yourself, simply sit down, evaluate what you are insecure about and why. Once you find your “why”, jump into the fire. If you are scared to talk to a man or woman, take a breath and say hello. If you are insecure about your looks, step outside without makeup. If you are scared of being on stage, sing karaoke with a group of friends. Who knows? I felt like insecure to write this but this isn’t me bragging. This is me celebrating my success at overcoming the hardest obstacle I have ever had to face. Finding my confidence. Never be afraid to celebrate things that you have overcome. Finding out who you are and building confidence will bring peace and happiness in your life.

If you have a story like this that you would love to share, feel free to write me or send me an email. I would really love to read it.

You don’t know how bad you feel until you start to feel better

Today I had a class assignment. All of the students in my class had to take a happiness scale survey that would tell us from 1-5, 1 being the less and 5 being the best, how happy we are. I had to take the survey multiple times because my answer to the question would contradict a previous question. While changing my answers I realized that maybe many other people are having that same problem. I didn’t understand the survey because I was answering it truthfully and to the best of my abilities. While dissecting what was going on, I decided to look at the discussion board and see what questions would be asked about the survey. The first question was if I was surprised that the majority of the world is happy. The second part was what I felt would contribute to that happiness. I’m pretty sure that as soon as my professor read my response she would have that “Oh shit. He is one of those!” perspectives, but for a psych professor, I am almost positive that she will understand my response. It is a problem that I see on a daily basis. Now let’s hope that I don’t get in trouble for posting this, but I feel that everybody should see my perspective on the situation.

You never know how bad you feel until you start to feel better!

I am not surprised at all that the Subjective Happiness Scale shows that most people are fairly happy. The scale involves us to rate questions to the best of our knowledge of how happy we are but that’s where I feel that that’s where it ends. Many of the questions would require answers that would contradict another question that would be asked later on in the survey. In my opinion, I feel that the scale gives a false rating because most people do not know what happiness is. Instead people are assuming that they are happy because of what society wants you to believe is happiness. This is only one of many examples that I have but, how many of my fellow peers know a large amount of people that go to the club every weekend and literally party until Monday? Now ask yourself this question. If they were truly happy, would they be waking up on Monday and counting down the days until Friday so that they can go back to the same club and do the same thing that they did the weekend prior? Society has, for the most part, brainwashed us to believe that we are happy because “We are what we eat”, meaning everything that we ingest becomes us. We surround ourselves with music that constantly brags about “popping bottles” in the club and going out to “make it rain”. We watch television that is solely revolved around sex, drugs, drama and violence. Going onto social media and watching people express their emotions about relationships and constantly bashing or comparing themselves to others because of their own insecurities. That’s all that we know, so what we tend to do is what society makes us believe is happiness when its not happiness at all. Look to your neighbor and ask them when the last time that they went to another state, skydiving, hiking, left the country, swam with sharks, put a puzzle together, wine tasting, stopped at a random location and stared at the stars or simply just stayed home and enjoyed the people that they love for reasons other than they didn’t have any money to go out? Now ask those same people how much they spent this past weekend buying drinks and entering establishments that only lasted for a very small amount of time. They will tell you that they love their life and are extremely happy, which some people may actually truly love doing that stuff, but the majority think that they love it only because they don’t know anything other than that and society supports it. Happy people don’t tend to have many insecurities but, in this day and age, its hard for a woman to walk out of the house without makeup.  Society has put into our mind what beauty is. Go to the search tab on Google and type in the word “beauty” and look at the pictures. The people that society considers beautiful don’t even look like that in real life. For the ladies, this is just an example so please don’t take it personal because there is a huge amount of woman that feel beautiful without needing to change their appearance. See what I just did? I felt the need to apologize to complete strangers because of the fear that somebody may be offended. If the majority of society was happy, most people wouldn’t get offended over that. Men, you are not off the hook either. I know many men that spend their last dime on temporary materials to show what society feels that a man is supposed to have which, in the end will leave him broke and unhappy.

Now, what I feel contributes to happiness is the exact opposite. I personally believe that happiness comes from within, but its something that has to be done on purpose. Review what I stated in the first paragraph. People in the first part have a false sense of happiness because they follow the trend of doing what others do. The ones that are happy go out and do what others don’t do. They tend to do what they, themselves, want to do. Throw away the stereotypes. Throw away the pride. Throw away everything that the world told you that you are supposed to do, what to wear, how to walk, what activities are “cool” and tell me if people wouldn’t be happy. The negativity that society shows us all throughout life is what helps contribute to happiness because people will use that to understand who they are and where they want and do not want to be in life. They will make mistakes and fail forward. They will do what people say that they can’t and they will surround themselves with other happy people that will boost them and help them. Happy people tend to get out of their comfort zone and experience many more options that, in return, make them happy. Use a child for example. They will tell you all day long that they don’t like a certain food because its nasty even though they never tried it but once they taste it, they don’t want anything else. Same concept. People that are happy have opened up their horizons and changed their perspective on life. They look at society and gain an appreciation for where there are and what they have. Happy people don’t make excuses but instead work hard and do what needs to be done to be happy.
So, in a nutshell, I am not surprised that the happiness scale taught us that most people are happy. Most people don’t even know what happiness is, but for the ones that are happy they find happiness from within and the negativity that the world shows us day in and day out, is what contributes to that happiness as long as we purposely make changes within ourselves. So get that haircut, try something new, talk to a stranger, do something out of the loop and be happy.