Often times, people ask how to be self-confident, take ownership in your life direction, be proud of your actions, and comfortable with who you are. This is something that many of us struggle with, including me at different times in my life. Let’s look at how we progress to the opposite; how do we become ashamed, stop following our own path, begin hiding our actions, and become uncomfortable with who we are? We don’t start out that way as children.
New people come to this world and begin examining how to act and interact with other people by watching them. Before we can speak, we have a year of watching and adapting ourselves and our actions to the world. Kids are not ashamed, they stare people in the eye, and they reach out for what they want without consideration of other people’s feelings. They run into new situations like they have been in them before, and make friends with other children in minutes.
Then something happens where they find the first thing that they should keep to themselves. Some event gave them the impression that they should hide a particular aspect; that something in themselves is not normal or not acceptable by others. They gain or are given this self-awareness to be ashamed of one aspect, and they lose ownership of that aspect of themselves. They hide the first thing, then the next when a similar feeling or situation arises. One at a time, we learn to hide some aspect of ourselves, our life, or our personality to conform to an expected norm.
As these things and portions of ourselves which we have hidden grow larger and larger, we become like an iceberg with the largest portions of ourselves hidden. These things we don’t want anyone to see become a larger portion of us then the things we show. Our ability to sell, own, and be proud of our own direction requires reduction of the aspects we hid from others. To gain full self-ownership requires you to have no aspect of your life in which you feel the need to hide.
How do you get there? Stop adding things to your life that you feel you cannot be open about. Do the things you want to be known for, and don’t do the things you don’t want to be public. Be the person you want to be, and not the person you need to hide. In my own life I have found the more open I am about the aspects of my life I had previously hidden, the less I have to reach for words when I am talking, writing, or relaxing in my own thoughts. If I can tell it to anyone I have no need to be ashamed, embarrassed or uncomfortable.
I have had friends that even late in life take on a behavior which they feel they cannot be open about to others. I have watched these people regress in their confidence as they add things to their lives that they are not proud of. My advice: if you can’t post it on your public page you should think twice about doing it. Own yourself; by pulling your iceberg out of the water.