My addictions strangle me when I’m unable to cope with situations. Hearing bad news kills. Chilling, defined here as succumbing to any addiction, then feels acceptable. If you’re anything like me, we need to re-enforce our defenses, rather than ask that the constant barrage of life’s perhaps-positives and perhaps-negatives cooperate with us. It would be nicer to have a conflict-free life. That won’t happen. Let’s instead try figuring out how to build up our defenses.
“You’re a rockstar!” That’s the most consistent compliment I’ve received throughout my career. Every positive interaction I’ve had with any rockstar has had two factors, their humble upbeat attitude and leaving you feeling great, with the 10 minutes hanging out with fans waiting to meet Albert Hammond Jr (guitarist from The Strokes) particularly reinforcing that notion. Let’s explore 5 factors I’ve noticed from rockstars and how you can apply them, even if you don’t like rock music!
I think we focus too much on what other people think about us. When I’ve felt awkward, it’s usually because I’m thinking too much about what people think of me while I’m doing something. It’s all in my head, too. No one ran up to me exclaiming that I shouldn’t photograph this sign. Most people wouldn’t even care. If they did, it’s only because I distracted their own focus. How can we overcome focus insecurity?
I was feeling stressed out until Gogol Bordello kicked into the chorus of “Break the Spell,” just as I’m usually always despondent after hearing bad news, until I breathe in deeply and accept the circumstance. No one died, nor will die because of this. It’s unfortunate, sure, but that makes for good writing fodder, so get over it! That’s not meant to be callous or superficial. It’s just acceptance is the first step toward resolution.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about self-confidence through five years of sobriety, it’s valuing myself more. This isn’t an exclusive trait of sobriety. I’m just more resilient against merely going with the crowd now. If they’re all going to the bar to go drink, and I’m not feeling particularly strong-willed, I’m comfortable saying no. Also, if anything doesn’t feel quite right, I’m more comfortable voicing my opinion, because what have I got to lose?
I used to profoundly respect anyone’s opinion. It’s not that I’m some kind of awful curmudgeon now. More that I refuse to freely accept anyone’s subjectivities about the world, or myself, until I’ve listened with my empathically critical ear to validate their true intentions. If the argument is reasonable enough, I’ll buy it. If not, I move on with my life. Why obsess over negative thoughts? Why not forget and carry on? That’s easy, right?
The 400th entry to Better Zombie had the wrong URL for over 12 hours… oops! That’s a trivial mistake. One problem I had growing up – maybe we all did – was the fight toward perfection through never acknowledging your mistakes. It’s always someone/something else’s fault I didn’t get that good grade. That irrational irresponsibility leads to subconscious suffering. Rather than admitting a problem to overcome it, if you avoid confronting the problem, you grow to fear it!
Health plays a key role in our self-confidence. If I’m feeling even somewhat ill, it’s likely I won’t feel confident in myself. That’s obvious, sure, it’s just I think we typically only etiologically work on problems ranging from communication to physical health. We might accidentally overmedicate to sedate lingering health issues or eat poorly, causing us physical distress, causing us mental distress, causing us to lose our self-confidence. What can we do to fix that?
While there’s something to be said for playing life safely, when the opportunity strikes, jump up on life’s stage! Get outside your comfort zone! Even for just a minute. The experience will probably be uncomfortable, you might need to push through fatigue, or embarrass yourself. You might step in spilled beer, get bumped into harmlessly, or get your picture taken. You also might not get the best shot. That’s still better than no shot whatsoever!
I’ve found I’m the most self-confident after planning how possible scenarios might happen. If X happens, and I’ve planned some counter-offenses, I’m more comfortable than just jumping in. Sometimes, you just need to jump first, then plan mid-jump. If quick-wits aren’t required, build a compelling case using neutral evidence so you’re more likely to win, because if the battle is fought on a hill you’re willing to die on, at least give yourself survival options.