December 14, 2013 § Leave a comment
Val asks, I have become a huuuuge fangirl…of a real person, and for some reason I feel not myself anymore when I am around her. She’s smart and goofy, has an awesome personality and badass sense of style, she’s pretty, talented/skilled (we both are pursuing arts in uni), and confident (which I struggle with). We are friends too, but I the more I have gotten to know her, the more I have come to feel like I cannot be my natural self around her. She’s generally nice to me, but sometimes I wonder why we are still friends because I can’t see what she sees in me (because she’s so much more awesome than I), and it has gotten so bad that I cannot see what’s good about myself anymore. This has become very difficult because it’s deeply affecting my self-esteem and creativity, which shows in my work. Every action and thought has some sort of consideration of what she might think of it, even when she’s not there. For some reason, knowing her has exposed all of my insecurities to myself. I was wondering if you have ever dealt with this before, and if you had any advice on how can I stop obsessing over her and start feeling like myself again.
Thanks for your question, and I hear you, Val. Sometimes we use other people as the lens for how we see ourselves, and when those people appear to be better than we are in all aspects, we slouch our shoulders and frump around, hissing at sunlight and mirrors. We compare our insides to other people’s outsides, and never measure up. I’ve never been much of a fangirl of actual celebrities, because other fangirls tend to throw around words like “perfect” and “flawless.” This bothers me when I know that even those unicorn actresses are just as broken as any other human who has to exist in relationship with other people. They’re just broken with really shiny hair, ya know? But boy do I hand my heart away to real life women who inspire me and have their shit together. I start taking my cues from them, and their outsides become the measuring tape I wrap around my own accomplishments and abilities.
Whether your friend thinks you are awesome or not won’t help you be more confident. If you’re taking your cues from anyone outside of yourself, then anxiety and other emotions will keep you from having a firm sense of who you are and what’s great about you. Self-esteem is about having faith in what motivates you and what you’re passionate about. Not about getting approval or kudos from other people. We all need praise and approval, but that shouldn’t be the leash tugging us along in our decisions.
There are no magic words I could give you to be more confident. You could recite a thousand mantras about how amazing you are, but you still might never believe it. The trick is that you have to decide who you want to be around any person, whether they are your favorite actress, your friend, or the guy on the corner selling newspapers. Building a self that doesn’t bend to circumstance means really doing some thinking about what you believe and what motivates you in life. And that means boxing up the friend-guided microscope.
So Val, who would you be if nobody ever noticed you? If every person in the world noticed you? If you’re being the real you, then there won’t be any difference between those two answers. A BAMF moves from the inside out. She doesn’t ask the world who she is. She tells them.
Got a fangirl dilemma? Let me know.