How I found confidence online
Somewhere amongst the heartache, trolls and self-loathing memes, I found friends and blogs which taught me I have value. They taught me to love myself.
I’m going to take a stab in the dark here, but I’m guessing go you’re online now (obviously) but you also were online yesterday and you’ll probably come online again tomorrow. And as groundbreaking as the internet is, spending too much time on it can be damaging. Like chocolate to your smile.
KNOWING WHERE YOU STAND
I am not the most confident girl in the world. Far, far from it in fact. I do feel it’s important to point out though, that I have never lacked self-worth to the point of breakage. I have always valued myself and my strengths. However, I do know how it feels when everything comes tumbling down. All at once, like the entire solar system is against you. How it devastatingly stings, like salt in a wound, when you think everything that could have, has gone wrong. And all whilst thousands of people speculate from the sidelines.
Valuing, understanding and growing from my weaknesses is something I have never been good at. It’s an acquired talent which I cease to believe would have been possible without the internet.
You are your own worst critic!
SHARING IS CARING, OR IS IT?
Online, people feel obliged to share. I like sharing, that’s why I’m here right now, tapping away to you. And why I keep coming back every week or so to talk to you about something new!
ALL THEY ARE IS MEAN…
In most instances, sharing is a really great thing. But in a few, it has resulted in the awful demise of someone’s self-esteem. If there one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that there will always people less confident than you, whose goal is to break you down. I spent more time than I’d like to admit at school, wishing for it to be over so that the mean kids could disappear. But there’s mean kids at school. And then there’s mean peers at work. Then there’s even more ‘mean’ on the internet.
YOU ARE MORE THAN WHAT YOU READ ON THE INTERNET
I love the internet but what it does, is give an anonymity to those with a desire to destroy. Negative opinions and mean dialogue come from people who care. They care about the fact you have something they wish for. However, the opinions of others that share mean things, do not impact your life. I mean, half the planet dislikes Trump right now but he has one of the most prestigious jobs in the world. Negative opinions cannot direct your path. Nor can they decide who you are.
The moment I stopped caring about the snide remarks was the moment my shoulders pushed back, my chin tilted up and I felt more alive.
THE INTERNET: A JUDGE AND JURY? AND THE JURY IS OUT…
The internet has the power to make you lose the ability to tell the difference between opinions and fact. And when it’s appropriate to speak or type out loud.
In 2015, there was a phenomenon where men (and a few women) of the internet grouped together in protest. They insinuated that wearing makeup meant you were a liar. It was apparently untruthful for us to coerce others into thinking we were someone we are not. This is an example of opinion vs fact and the power of the internet making people completely bonkers.
Now I understand where they’re coming from, however, wearing makeup does not make you untruthful. And it definitely does not make you any less worthy of confidence. I didn’t know this at the time.
YOU ARE YOUR OWN WORST CRITIC
If you are anything like me, then you wear makeup because it gives you that boost of confidence needed. When you didn’t have a great night last night and want hide the evidence. That’s nothing to be ashamed of. I bet the strangers on the street wouldn’t notice regardless. But you’re not doing it for them. You’re doing it for you!
– Flaws, Bastille
BUT YOU FIGHT FOR WHAT’S RIGHT
The bump on my nose, my large freckles and hooded eyelids. I bet you’ve never even noticed the dent which resides smack bang in the middle of my forehead from when I had Chicken Pox at age 5. You have probably never noticed them, but I am very much aware. I wear makeup to distract from these niggles that drive me half mad. I wear makeup because it makes me feel more confident. And that is all there is to it. The internet taught me that. For every person there was protesting against makeup, there were a confident man and women standing their ground. Fighting for a right for confidence.
My Grandad used to call makeup ‘war-paint’. I love that if I’m feeling a little like poop, I can put on my face, a pretty dress and feel like I could take on the world. And there is nothing wrong with that.
PEOPLE ARE SILLY.
Over the past few years, my online presence has changed. Being a blogger has taught me many things, but particularly the importance of a photograph.
People are silly. We always do that “judge a book by its cover” thing. I do it. I bet you have too. As embarrassing as it is to admit, I’m definitely more likely to read someone’s blog if they have pretty photo’s to accompany bodies of text. So silly. Last year I took a huge leap to up the quality of my content and started taking photo’s, of myself. Because people can relate to human beings better than inanimate objects. Sorry, flat-lay lovers.
“WHO IS THAT GIRL I SEE, STARING STRAIGHT BACK AT ME?”
We all have this image in our heads of what we think we look like. I truly believe that how realistic that image is, determines how confident you are in yourself. In school, I listened to music that was so far from my physical personality. Think Slipknot and first album Panic! but with a whole lot of Taylor Swift mixed in there to. I had a serious identity crisis. In my head, I pictured myself as this scene kid with dramatic bangs and seriously intense eyeliner. But in reality, I was the shy girl in the back with a metal mouth and passion for wearing leggings with smock dresses.
There is no greater disappointment than having your expectations crushed like having your photo taken and realising you look nothing like what you had pictured in your head. Or even how you looked in front of the mirror this morning.
BECOMING CLEARER ABOUT WHO I AM
I have always (and still do) considered myself a photographer, not the subject. But pushing my boundaries and being the subject of my blog content changed how I viewed myself. I’m not a model, far from that but my vision of myself is so much more lifelike than what it was before.
Whilst it’s not perfect, my eyeliner is much more ‘on-fleek’ in my head than in real-life, the same goes for my eyebrows. The overall perception of myself is much fuller. And so is my confidence. My personality and photo’s of myself are so much better aligned. And as a result, I understand myself so much better now. All because I took more selfies to post on the internet.
UNDOUBTEDLY, I STILL HAVE MOMENTS WHERE MY SELF-ESTEEM PLUMMETS.
I value my being 110% but I will always be the first person to pick holes in what I do, think or say. But – to an extent – that is a good thing. I am my own worst critic. I know that the things people say about me will never be as mean as the things I think about myself. And when I think those things, I know how to overcome them and channel them into greater thoughts.
Thank you internet!