Something that I've never been afraid to say on online is that I'm quite a fearful person. And I'm not even sure at this point what exactly I'm afraid of. But I'm such a scaredy cat and because of that, I've always wanted to keep myself small. Which seems like a very odd thing for someone who works in the online field as I'm sure it seems obvious that to keep on making a living this way that I need to grow. It's something that I've always known I've done and not wanted to admit, not to myself or to anyone else. After a two-hour work meeting, I had a lightbulb moment and I realised that I've purposely stopped myself doing awesome things because I've been so afraid to be anything but a wallflower. I'm not someone who likes attention that much, compliments make me nervous and the thought of being the centre of anything makes me want to hide. But stopping myself being small doesn't mean that I suddenly need to be the centre of attention. And this is a struggle I know that I'm probably not alone in so I wanted to open up a conversation about it in today's post.
I suppose the most important thing when it comes to this topic is to share why I've not let myself be anything more than a wallflower. And this isn't to be arrogant or pretentious because I'm certainly not under any illusion that I'm the most amazing person on the planet but if I'm not going to be proud of myself then who is? I was always a wallflower at school so it only makes sense that it would carry across to this blog and my adult life. Whenever I've been the centre of attention in the past it's not been for the best reasons and I've become so afraid having hate thrown at me that I've believed if I'm small then I won't get that. If I sit on the sidelines then no-one will notice me and everything will be ok.
But the more I grow as a person I realise that I'm doing myself a huge disservice by not pushing myself. Sure people might not like me but that's fine and completely normal, I'm not doing anything to make myself purposely disliked and I can't please everybody nor do I really want to because I certainly don't like everyone in the world. I find feeling confident in myself online is so hard, I don't want to annoy anyone but I do want to share what I've created because ultimately this is my job and that's how it works. Not having the confidence in the fact that this is how I make my day to day living plagues me on a daily basis.
The constant worry that people don't believe I'm good enough is something I think about on a daily basis. But I am good enough, sure I might not be perfect but I challenge anyone to prove that they're truly perfect in their career and they will make mistakes too. We're all human but we hold each other to ridiculously high standards that it's becoming increasingly damaging to society. We constantly pick apart each other and then say that we champion other women, which is quite frankly laughable. If you spend your time ripping apart people online it really should make you question how much of a champion of other people you are.
Ultimately keeping myself small and being too afraid to say hey look I think I create some pretty awesome things. Or forbid I ever pitch myself only damages me as it doesn't affect anybody else even though some people certainly like to pretend it does. Which is always more of representation of them then it is on you. This year I've made a huge effort to saying no out of fear, I've done things that have made me seriously worry and feel uncomfortable and do you know what? It's felt amazing and I've gained more self-confidence from these past few months then I have in the past 4 years.
THE FEAR OF A FOLLOWING
Having a large following online isn't something that is unheard of anymore. And whilst buying followers is a whole other issue some people genuinely have huge online followings and when I see that I don't feel at all jealous I feel terrified. I've never felt the urge to gather a huge following online mostly because of the fear that comes along with that. Whenever I see people with a large audience I always see the amount of the negativity that comes with it and how hard it must be for the person to deal with even though there is also a large amount of positivity too of course. So I've always sought comfort in a 'small' audience even though to me I think having 500 people looking at what you're doing is pretty scary let alone anything more. The responsibility that comes with having an audience online is huge, whether people take it on or not is another matter but I know that it's something that weighs heavily on me.
Especially when it comes to writing about something that people might go out and buy, I don't take the responsibility lightly that someone might spend their hard earned money on something I'm talking about. I know how hard people have to work to have the chance to spend money on something that's not on food, bills or rent. But if something works really well for me and I'm sharing that, I'm so careful with the words that I use and I hate it when someone says their audience needs something because it's not ok. Yes, everyone has their own minds and ultimately it's their choice what they spend their money on. But I've also been on the other side of the blogging world where I've spent money on something someone said worked for everyone and would look wonderful. And to no-one's surprise it didn't and then I felt irritated that I'd followed that advice and it's something that I'm sure we've all experienced.
BEING ASHAMED OF HOW HARD I WORK
There's a lot of people who share how hard they work constantly and that's great. You can share whatever you want online but something I've been incredibly wary of is sharing how hard I work on projects. There is enough pressure surrounding work without adding any more noise to it in the online world. Because after all why am I sharing how hard I work? Do people really care? Is it to add anything to their day? Or is it to prove a point that I work hard? I fear/know that when people are constantly talking about how hard they work it makes others incredibly critical of what they're doing in case it doesn't look like what they're seeing online. And I've been there, I've listened to people say how tired they are or how many hours they spent doing something and torn my own life apart and completely judged my life based on my work. For some people, they might feel truly happy basing their self-worth on their work and career and that's not a terrible thing to do but it's certainly not for me. I work hard, really, really hard and I'm not embarrassed to say that. I'm a one woman show and absolutely everything I do is off my own back, I don't get any help or support with what I do and that's ok. I'm not telling you this for sympathy or a pat on the back it's for my own sake to recognise my hard work and not to downplay it anymore.
GETTING OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE & SAYING YES
I've spoken about comfort zones and my love for a routine so many times in the past and I love a solid routine. It helps me feel calm and in control of what I'm doing which is something I thrive from. I'm never going to be someone who works well in chaos and that's ok, it's not a bad thing. Whenever I've told myself before that I've needed to get outside my comfort zone then I've always taken it easy on myself but in January it was a little bit of a turning point for me. I was done with feeling scared and ultimately not feeling satisfied with what I'm doing and I knew I was the one in control. Not what fell in my inbox and not making excuses for myself anymore and even now I feel scared about what might come along but I feel a lot happier that I've pushed myself and I'm still continuing to do so.
This year I've said yes so much. I've stopped being afraid to take on brand work that I love in case it offends someone. If a brand they loved came along and wanted to work with them on a paid basis they would never doubt to do it so why should I? And I've worked on some projects that I'm incredibly proud of and hopefully, there is more to come and I'm excited. And I know that not everyone will probably like my decision to take on these projects and that's ok, we all know that we can't please everyone as much as we might like to pretend we can. It's just not feasible and it's no way to live. There are so many people in the world that we can always connect with and someone who we do have things in common with. Rather than spending time getting upset about the people that we can't match up with.
Do you struggle with wanting to keep yourself small and long to be a wallflower?