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.

Understand your feelings

Greetings! How are you doing today? While reading through this post ask yourself, “How am I feeling?” Throughout the day we feel many feelings such as fear, anger, joy, acceptance, disgust, sadness, surprise, anticipation and the list goes on. As we all know, we go through many different feelings throughout the day. From the moment our alarm goes off in the morning to the time we lay our head in the bed, our days are consumed in an abundance of feelings and emotions and can tend to give direction to our day unless we grow to understand why we feel what we are currently feeling.

Without properly allowing ourselves to understand our feelings can be very dangerous. Like putting ourselves on autopilot and just going where the road takes us.

How many times have you woken up, made your coffee and had goals set to crush early in the morning and the moment you open up your news feed on social media, got that email or text, or just simply hit traffic in the morning and it disrupted the way that you felt. Did you retaliate? Did you respond or cut somebody off because of the feeling at that moment? Acting on negative emotions out of impulse rather than understanding how and why you feel that way will tend to put you into a deeper negative situation.

Try this exercise. Next time you feel a negative feeling and you are actually aware of the feeling, purposely stop moving. Ask yourself what you are feeling and then ask yourself why you feel that way. Was it the way that somebody said something or a look that they gave you or could it possibly be just how you read the text. Maybe it wasn’t directed the way that you read it. Once you figured out what actually gave you the negative feeling, then you can think of all of the way to react to it to deescalate the situation or even feel the need to react at all.

Four years ago I had a traumatic even that I put myself in all because I failed to understand exactly how I felt and I reacted in a way that put me into a situation that almost killed me. Ever since then I have made it a purpose to constantly ask myself “How am I feeling and why do I feel this way?” and so far it has worked very well for me. There were times since then that I was able to get out of fist fights, I was able to calm somebody down with an unnecessary argument and I have been able to help educate the people around me to do the same. Now I do it out of a force of habit.

At first it may seem very alien like and uncomfortable to do but you will notice that it will also change the way that people look at you. Instead of being that hot head that nobody wants to be around out of fear of you lashing out, they may now feel comfortable inviting you places. Instead of somebody who turns a simple situation into an all out war, now people will feel comfortable to open up and hold a conversation with you and it gets even deeper. You will feel better towards yourself and be able to have better relationships with the people around you. You will feel more comfortable taking the wheel of your life and going the direction that you choose instead of having the situations of life push you where it wants you to go.

Don’t let music ruin your life

Today while I was at work I heard somebody joking around about me saying that I “make love to the tower” when I’m working. Of course I heard many laughs. When one of my coworkers asked him what that means, they responded saying that I serenade the tower and sing love songs from the time I climb up to the time I climb down and sure as s#%@ I heard some more laughing. Behind the laughter I heard requests to change the genre to rap, rock, club and many others because they didn’t want to listen to what I wanted to listen to.

I decided to put on my headphones instead and told them that they are welcome to listen to whatever they wanted on the speaker. When asked why I listen to what I listen to I gladly reminded them that they are everything that they surround themselves and a lot of our moves come from ideas that we listen to.

I tend to listen to JP Cooper and Allen Stone radio on Pandora because of the feeling that I get from that type of music. Jason Mraz “I’m Yours” is my all time favorite song. I listen to music that I can relate to. Music that gives me a better perspective and makes me feel good. Don’t get me wrong. I listen to all types of music but I prefer music that is productive and the reasoning why is because I don’t want to want the negative to become the norm in my mind.

While I was listening to some of the lyrics that they were jamming on, i noticed some familiarities from what the guys were happily singing. Familiar to the stories that they tell throughout the day. Woman, sex, drugs, violence and drama. They were literally rapping about things that they currently do not realizing that when the music is off, that same lifestyle is what they constantly complain about and it hit me yet again. WE ARE WHAT WE EAT!!!

We all have heard the phrase “You are what you eat.” I have made a post about this a while ago but for the people who haven’t read it let me know what that means to you? Take a few moments out of your day and ask yourself “What does the phrase “You are what you eat” mean to me” Dissect it fully and understand that you are EVERYTHING that you ingest.

The definition of INGEST is to take in · be absorbed in · be immersed in · be rapt in · be lost in · be fascinated by.

So you are what you ingest. You are what you surround yourself with. You are the people you hang around. You become what you see on television and social media. Many times, we fail to realize what our surroundings are and what is actually influencing our thoughts. A large amount of our alone time is immersed in music. When you are working, you have music on. When you are at the grocery store you are listening to music. When you are in the car on the way to your destination, you are listening to music. So we are surrounded by many voices not realizing the affect it can have on us in the long run.

If, since birth, you listened to music that falsely told you how life is suppose to be, would you grow up being as productive as you could have with positive influences? Well todays “entertainment” is ruining peoples lives.

From songs of woman telling you to leave your girl because she’s bored, or telling you that “its not cheating, its just a whatchamacallit”. Lyrics telling you to spend all of your hard earned money in the clubs and get a girl who has a girlfriend so that you can add more bodies to your list.

Understand that music is a form of entertainment but also understand that the majority of the artists don’t live the lifestyle that they are glamorizing themselves. Today’s younger generations are being brainwashed to believe that is cute for a woman to be crazy and its cool to be intimidating. Thinking that its fun to ride dirty and do drugs. Thinking that being smart is actually a negative.

Well I will tell you that a DUI isn’t fun. Broken bones from doing something stupid under the influence is not fun. Walking into a room that most of the people in there have seen you naked and them judging you is not fun. Having 10, 20, 50, 100 soul ties and then not being able to have a serious relationship is not fun. Not being able to find a job because of things that you posted on your social media or posts that you permanently put onto your body is not fun.

So I want you to understand that its ok to listen to whatever music you want. I know I do, but don’t let it ruin your life by constantly brainwashing yourself to believe that not cooking and not cleaning will still get you that ring. It’s just entertainment.

Understanding your mind allows you a chance to change it

A lot of my posts are derived from things that I have witnessed or conversations that I’ve had with people but this post was inspired by a conversation that I had with my son. The other night he was having fun on his tablet playing with his Osmo little genius starter kit. If you haven’t heard of it, I recommend it for all of your little geniuses. Well the kit comes with a bunch of moving pieces that interact with a mirror that senses movement as well as shapes. While he was learning, I noticed him gradually getting more and more upset. When asked what was wrong he responded that his activity kept messing up and he didn’t understand why.

After a brief look I realized that even though he was working on a flat surface like he was suppose to be, the mirror was picking up the patterns on the table. Rather than fixing it, I wanted to test his problem solving skills. I told him to tell me how the game works and he figured out that by putting a blank white piece of paper on top of the surface, it won’t register the patterns on the paper and the activity worked perfectly for the duration of the day. Ever since, by understanding how it worked, he never had that issue again.

Having that experience with him allowed me to question if that concept will work with everything including your mind. Coming into this New Years I have heard a lot of resolutions and many people have already gone back to their previous lifestyle and this is why. They have not gained an understanding of what they want to change and without knowing what’s wrong, they didn’t know how to fix it. Let’s take a smoker for instance. Many smokers think that they are addicted to the nicotine so they try the gums, the pens and the patches, which work for a little while but eventually pulls them back to smoking.

Once you understand what you are addicted to them you can fix it in a productive way. Many people are literally just addicted to the motion of putting something to their mouth and taking it away. If that’s the case, try going to the grocery store and buying a case of toothpicks to keep with you put them in your car and in your bag. Put the toothpick in your mouth when you start your craving and see if it helps. Wooden ones eventually dissolve and break up so that will symbolize when it’s time to put the “cigarette” down.

What about somebody who tends to eat way more than they want to but don’t have the self discipline to not fill up the entire plate every time they eat. A way to change that is by getting a smaller plate. The mind will see that your plate is full while still eating less and once the food is gone, it can possible signal to your brain that you are full. That same concept could be used with somebody who feels that they drink too much.

I was in this category. When I was in the military I created a drinking problem for myself. I would drink on average 18-24 beers every night. I knew that I had a problem but I was in denial so I never asked for help even though I truly needed to slow down. If I wasn’t going to get help, then I would have to figure out what was wrong. So I incorporated the big plate small plate rule but instead of getting smaller drinks I did the exact opposite. I realized that I drank so much because it was easy to just get another beer every few gulps. So instead of buying a 32 pack I got a 4 pack of tall boys a.k.a 24 oz.

What I learned is that by the time I made it halfway, my drink would start getting warm and to be frank, I would be bored to the point that I would have to force myself to drink the others so try it out and see if it could work for you. I can go all day by understanding how the mind works. Whether it is with bad habits to also great ones that you can incorporate into your regular life to push you into a better position.

In the end, always remember that if there is something that you want to change, fix, or make better in you life understand first how it all works and only then can you make changes. If you have any questions, feel free to ask and I can give you a different perspective on what you or somebody you know may be going through.

Think Positive On Purpose

Ask 100 people if they want to go skydiving and look at their faces as a response. Of course, many will jump on board and love the idea but what about the people who don’t? When asked “Why?” you will get a lot of excuses like “I’m not jumping out of a perfectly fine airplane!” and the infamous, “What if the chute doesn’t open?” At first, I was one of those people and I completely understood where they were coming from but it took for me to change my perspective in life and on a whim I decided to jump out of an airplane and I loved it. What I learned is that everything that I feared about jumping out of a plane never even happened and that’s when I started questioning everything. Questioning my fears. Questioning my negative thoughts and that’s when this lightbulb turned on. WHY ARE THESE THOUGHTS EVEN HERE?.

What I’ve come to the conclusion is that our thoughts are the way they are because of traumas and insecurities introduced to us from our past. Why does somebody have trust issues? Most likely because an event in the past that hurt them either physically or mentally and now that person refuses to trust in order to keep from feeling that pain again. Like a self defense mechanism. Many of those thoughts weren’t even experienced in person but rather seen on a screen or heard of, like why is the average human being so afraid of killer whales even though there has never been any known attacks in the wild? While dissecting these thoughts and reasons behind these thoughts I have realized that almost everything that we have become has been built off fear and getting hurt. Once you understand that is the only time that you can change the way that you think and how do you fix that? By thinking positively on purpose.

Let me show you what I mean. Next time you are aware of having a negative thought, purposely change that thought into a positive. It sounds really hard but try it and I promise you that any scenario will have a positive perspective or point of view. The moment that you change that thought into a positive, evaluate how it makes you feel or see if it will push you into a productive direction. I can almost guarantee you that it will.

I will be 100% honest and transparent with you. I am not a therapist. I do not have any degrees or any training behind any of my ideas and theories. I will say though that I have become extremely observant through the years and tend to see things in ways that most people don’t. Continue to be aware of your thoughts and purposely change the perspective into a positive and before you know it, it will become second nature.

You will eventually not have to intentionally think positive. It will become a part of who you are. Somebody who once had road rage will eventually thank somebody who cut them off because of the positive belief that “they cut me off to save me from an accident that I may have been a part of a mile down the road.” Instead of having a breakdown when somebody lost their job they would instead think that “Now I have enough time to work on myself and now have an opening for a better job”. Think positive on purpose and become the positivity that you want to see in the world.

It is OKAY

Todays society has brainwashed us all to believe that we have to please everybody. Brainwashed us to believe that we need to make everybody happy. Brainwashed us to put others before ourselves, but for us to be able to give anything, we must first have it ourselves. It is beyond impossible to make everybody happy and there are times when people that we always make happy wont be and all I am here to say is that it is okay.

It is okay to be frustrated at times. It is okay to want to be alone sometimes. Just as it is okay for you to be happy, it is just as okay for you to be sad. People will try to shame you for feeling emotions at times because it doesn’t help what they are going through and it is okay. Do not allow the selfish wants and needs from other people deter you from your growth.

It is okay for the class clown to be quiet sometimes. It doesn’t mean that something has to be wrong with him/her. Its probably just that he/she doesn’t have anything to say. Its okay to try ask if everything is alright but once they give you the answer, don’t try and force them to be the person that you want them to be for you because it will only add frustration and eventually resentment in the long run and create a negative emotion that wasn’t their to begin with.

It tends to be extremely hard if you are in relationships as well, whether its a spouse or a friendship but know that its okay to have your individual emotions. Society has created this rule saying that if you are best friends or an intimate relationship that you have to do everything together and I have one simple question. Why? Simple right. Why, when you are in a relationship that you have to be connected by the hip and if you aren’t then they can’t be a best friend or a loving spouse. It is okay to run errands alone so that you can clear your head. It is okay to do an activity with friends. It is okay. Do not allow people to make you feel obligated to do things that go against what you want and need to do for yourself. If you need space, take it. If you need to change your environment, change it.

Many times people will try and push their emotions onto you. They may think that something is wrong even though nothing is wrong at all and then create that feeling through their actions only to validate their initial accusation when nothing was wrong to begin with. You alone are the only person who can change your outcome and its okay to be selfish with your means of healing or progression in life.

If you want to wear the shirt, wear the shirt. Don’t let outside voices create insecurities in yourself because of what something looks like or how people might talk about you. If you want to do the activity, don’t let outsiders dictate you to move in another direction. Do what makes you happy and always remember that its okay to tell people “No” as well. Don’t let the emotions and beliefs of somebody else make you feel obligated to do anything and everything they tell you, or ask you, to do. You are in control and from me to you, just know that whatever you choose, it is OKAY.

Dead man walking

During a eulogy at a funeral, a young woman speaks about her late husband. While she was on the podium she was describing who the man was. With tears rolling down her face she explains how he was the most loving person that she has ever met. That he would give the shirt off his back and give it to an enemy if need be. How he didn’t believe that people from anybodies past should automatically be somebody to throw away. He saw great things in everybody whether it was an ex, an old friend, a coworker and even strangers.

She elaborated on how he was always the life of the party and that everybody always loved when he was around. He complimented people and always had to make people feel good and be happy. That he was a people person and could honestly talk to anybody. How his words could deescalate any negative situation and turn an uncomfortable environment into an inviting one.

He was a helper and motivator. He was a comedian. He was a teacher and a therapist. He would inspire people to be great. He was strong an hardworking. He was smart and open minded. Always gave every situation a positive perspective. He was one of a kind. He was always doing something to help others and one of his biggest flaws is that it was hard for him to say “No.” He was amazing.

At the end of the funeral the woman went home and went through an old photo album and reminisced about the past. The happy times as well as the bad and that’s when it hit her.

The majority of their arguments was derived from him simply being him and the perception of his qualities being a form of disrespect. She went back to what she said in the eulogy and replayed it in her head.

“He was loving and would give his enemy the shirt off his back if need be.” If that was so, then why did I force him to throw away pictures of people he shared memories with in his past. Memories that made him happy. If that was so, why did I tell him he had to remove and block people on his social media.

“He was always the life of the party.”, but I would give him hell and guilt trip him knowing that he would stay home if it would keep me happy. Slowly his phone notifications lessened. He stopped getting invited to hang out because they already knew the answer would be no.

“He complimented everybody and wanted to always put put a smile on peoples faces.” How dare he disrespect our relationship by lifting her up by telling her that she was beautiful, but in his eyes maybe he saw something that I didn’t and noticed that she was having a bad day and wanted to make her feel better.

Going through the memories, she realized that her husband died a long time ago. That person she described was not the man in the coffin. He was not the therapist. He was not the motivator. He was not the life of the party. He was not the uplifting man that helped people who were down.

The moral of this story is that we are all unique. We are all different. Our personalities are what make us who we are and I believe that everybody should be allowed to be who they are. I do not agree with forcing people to stop being who they are because the end result is just an empty shell. A dead man walking!

Life is a lot like driving on the highway

Have you ever been on a long road trip as a child? Do you remember where you went and how long the drive was? All of us experience road trips differently. Some love the long rides that feel like its never ending. To gaze out of the window and admire the sights as the world passes by. Others need to make frequent stops to enjoy something new and create new experiences. Some need a little of both during the long haul. In the end we are happy once we finally get to that special location and put the car in park.

We all are going somewhere. Some of us may not have the destination yet. Many may have the destination but not know how to get there. Others are just going where the road takes them. Neither is right or wrong. Either way, we are eventually going to go somewhere. Luckily for us, just like a highway, as long as we are alive there will not be any dead ends.

For the ones that are just going where the road takes them, there is no way to prepare for the roads ahead. That mindset gives you the capabilities to gain experience and ability to adapt when the time comes but it will bring a lot of frustration in the process because, without a proper destination, it will be extremely hard to find stability and purpose. Do not underestimate that process though because with the experience gained, it will make your transition a lot smoother once you finally put that bullet point on your map.

Most of the time, those of us that do have a destination will get there a lot faster. The earlier that we figure out where we want to go, the sooner we can prepare for the long trip ahead. Figuring out what items to take with us and understanding the environments that we will have to go through will help us determine what equipment will be needed for the storms ahead.

The better that you prepare for your travels and the better that you understand the rules of the road will determine how smoothly the ride can become.

With a set destination, preparation would allow us to be able to see what areas we will need to put more effort in and areas that will be easy. To allow us to understand the rules of the road. Understanding that sometimes the fast lane may actually take us to our destination slower.

Have you ever driven in the fast lane and everybody in the middle lane is going the same speed as you and will not allow you over. Many times in life we will be in the correct lane but an uknown obstacle could be slowing us down. Out of fear of falling back, we stay there while everybody in the slow lane seems to be pass us up. Preparation and understanding the rules of the road would easily tell you to just slow down. When you get a chance, ease over into the middle lane and then into the slow lane. Once in the slow lane you will be able to pick up speed and gain enough momentum to pass everybody that were slowing you down and get back on track.

With proper preparation, we will get to our destination smooth and safe and deter many negative emotions such as anger, impatience and frustration.

We will experience many turns and many long stretches on this highway called life. We will find ourselves stuck in traffic or gaining distance without any other vehicles in sight to hold us back. Sometimes we will have to make pit stops to rest or get frustrated due to an unknown detour that forces us to go a different direction, but just like you are right here reading this post, you will always get to your intended location eventually.

Find out your destination early. Figure out what paths that you need to take and prepare for any detours while on your journey. Take breaks. See the sights while admiring the world around you. Slow down if you have to but know when to kick it back into gear. Sometimes doing the drive alone is best. Sometimes having somebody in the passenger seat can make it easier. Regardless of how you choose to get there, if you allow yourself to learn from your experiences and understand the rules of the road, you will surely get to where you want to be.