The other night, I was at a dinner party with some friends when the topic of my blog was brought up. “So, what is your blog about?” one of the girls asked. I began to talk about it while suddenly feeling embarrassed, “Oh, it’s really nothing.” I claimed with a playful eye roll. “ I just write about teaching and health for the five people that read it!” It was then that one of my dearest friends quickly intervened, “Why did you roll your eyes? You love writing that blog!”
The thing is, she wasn’t wrong. Writing my blog has become one of my favorite things to do and something I thoroughly enjoy. I love being helpful and sharing my minimal knowledge, and I absolutely love having an excuse to write. There is so much power in language, and it has been such a rewarding experience to use my words to change perspective and connect with others.
After having time to think about the way I responded, I came to the realization of three things.
- Even though starting a blog has taken a lot of time, research and sacrifice, I brushed it off because I didn’t want to sound vain. I didn’t want it to seem like I knew everything when I have so much to learn, and truthfully, I really didn’t want the judgment. When you tell people you started a blog, you can get categorized as a millennial cliche. I didn’t start a blog to be my own boss, but what if I did? It took a lot of freaking work to start my blog, and that is something every blogger and business owner should be proud of!
- Like every success, hours and hours of sacrifice and labor are put in and typically are never talked about. I realized that I undermine my success not only with my blog, but every part of my life, and I am starting to see how much it affects my confidence. I am my own biggest critic. Ask my husband. I beat myself up about things all the time when no one else would even take a second look at the flaw. This kind of negativity shadows all of the great things that I have been blessed with, and I need to start recognizing that.
- A big part of why I didn’t want to make my blog a big deal was because it is linked to a bigger, messier picture of my life. I can’t tell others about my blog without addressing where my motivation comes from to write. Telling others my story could make them uncomfortable or pity me, which is the exact opposite of my intention!
These realizations opened another door for me, something I have become so passionate about I decided to write a post about it. Because the problem was not that I didn’t feel comfortable sharing about my blog, but why I was ashamed of my story, my success and my passion. I found myself asking a series of questions-
Why do we hide our successes and past in fear of judgment?
How can we learn to embrace each other’s success?
How can we learn to embrace our success?
How can we tell our story confidently?
Because it all matters.
Every accomplishment, every failure, every trial, every happy memory- they are all building blocks that made the imperfectly perfect human you are today. Your story, where you have been and where you plan on going creates an individualistic culture that should be celebrated, not judged.
Anyone that knows me knows that I am a huge advocate for authentic, deep relationships. I find true contentment in personal connections, and I sincerely want to know people’s stories. I love when other’s confide in me so I can better serve them, and I love to appreciate people for who they are so I can learn from them. It is one of the reasons I became a teacher, I absolutely love people.
With that being said, even though I whole-heartedly invest in people’s stories, I am consistently hesitant to share mine. I never think people are self-interested when I ask about their personal life, but I have a bad habit of being self-conscious about my vanity when I start talking about myself. It was a huge struggle for me to actually write my first blog post. However, writing eventually eased lingering anxiety. The keyboard became a sanctuary, and I made myself comfortably vulnerable.
Obviously, this all stems from not only my personal insecurities but also society’s norms on how you are supposed to view yourself. Y’all, it’s hard to be a truly content human being today. We have a filter on all of our pictures, and a live gallery showing off the high points of our lives. Confidence is earned, and it won’t come unless we make those personal connections and start celebrating one another.
With all of that being said, I want you to think honestly about how you speak and think about your personal story and successes. Do you struggle with anxiety as you share your success? Do you feel like judgment disables you from sharing? If so, I need you to hear me out. I am going to start pushing myself to do several things habitually, and I am going to challenge you to do the same. Positivity is contagious, my friends. Keep these things in mind-
Let’s be encouraging about success.
When someone you know shares a remarkable achievement with you, be the first person to encourage them with positive words. I don’t mean give them a general one-liner like, “That’s great! I mean go over the top with it. Ask questions, give them a hug, make them feel like their success is valued and those hours of work leading to the success are a big deal. After you have a mini siesta, encourage your friends to share their success with others so they can inspire the people around them. Nothing makes my accomplishment feel more validated than when other people brag on me. Now, do I know how to react when people say nice things about me? Nope. ( I mean, does anyone?) This is another struggle that goes hand and hand with not talking about my own personal story. It’s time for me to get over it though because being good at something is a big deal, guys!
Embrace your past.
To go along with that, your past is the firm foundation that stably supports you today. I feel like I don’t really know someone until I know their past. I truly do understand that it can be painful to talk about things that have happened. You don’t necessarily have to start a blog about it, but I challenge you to view your previous trials and tribulations as something that made you grow into a strong, capable person. Get a journal, write about it, talk about it with a close friend or parent. When you are finally comfortable with it, use your past to help and inspire others. That’s what it is intended for.
Ask others about their story.
So many times we stop asking personal questions for the sake of being polite, but I have never had anyone turn down talking about what makes them the person they are today. If you feel comfortable and compelled to do so, just simply ask about details they have mentioned, or just be bold and ask what their story is. Not only will this make them feel valued, but you now have the opportunity to learn something new. We can not grow and appreciate others while not knowing their past. I challenge you to connect with people on that level. It helps us empower one another.
Be comfortable with sharing your success
This is huge. I feel like as a society, especially as women, we undermine our successes. We don’t want to sound conceited or self-centered, and so we play it down so others don’t judge us or feel threatened. Your successes are a part of your story and it is okay to be proud of the hard work leading up to each success, no matter how big or small. I know this is very difficult for some people. This is something that I personally struggle with, especially since I have been jaded in the past. The truth is, the more you share your success, the bigger your support system becomes, and with people that love you and have your back, anything is possible.
Always remember that your story matters
Lastly, It doesn’t matter if you were raised in a small town, a city, if you are unemployed, or are a CEO. We can learn from you. You are valued. Your story matters, and it’s about time for the world to know it.