Personal growth is never comfortable…
‘Personal Growth’ the wording alone sounds like it’s going to be a pretty active undertaking. It requires us to be bold and explore new facets of our personalities that haven’t fully been explored yet. This is generally pretty scary because of it’s unfamiliarity and the fact that it’s outside of our comfort zone.
I (like many other people) am very happy and excited that the new season of Ru Pauls drag race has started on Netflix. They’re airing one episode a week which is kind of good because it means I can’t binge it…but equally it’s kind of bad because it means I can’t binge it.
As a solution to this problem I’ve decided to re-watch one of the earlier seasons, as it’s all on there and I can watch it whenever I want, which equals happy times!
If you’ve never seen it before my question to you is, “Why? What are you even doing with your life?!” and if you have seen it you’ll know that it’s a fun and often inspirational show about Drag Queens who go through a series of performance challenges each week in a competition to become America’s next Drag superstar, with one Queen getting eliminated each episode.
As I was watching one of the shows from the earlier season this morning, my attention fell on two of the Queens. One was a little different from the rest in her style and creativity, she put together a look that the other Queens said wouldn’t work and would get her sent home. Rather than be rattled by this criticism she calmly and confidently stuck to her vision without getting defensive or bitchy towards any of her critics.
The second Queen I noticed was clearly quite overwhelmed. She was moaning about the resources she’d been given to create her look and you could see her start to shut down and give up. She went straight into victim mode and when it came to the judging panel section of the show, she got quite defensive and came off as angry and rude.
Watching this I really admired the first Queen’s confidence and could see that it came from having total faith in herself and her vision. But this kind of resilience and courage doesn’t just happen on it’s own, it needs to be cultivated.
Humans have a real need to fit in and be accepted, so for most of us our default response to criticism is to feel really insecure about it because it triggers a deep survival instinct within us to succeed and be approved of.
The thing is that we can’t fit in and be accepted by everybody. This was evident in the show because her fellow competitors didn’t accept her vision. We know this because they all told her what a bad idea it was. But when it came to the judge’s opinions, they loved it and applauded her uniqueness and originality.
You can’t please everyone, you can’t be what everyone wants you to be, you can only be yourself so you might as well embrace it and be accepted for it instead of for being someone you’re not.
Cultivating this level of self-belief and confidence comes from accepting and trusting yourself. If you aren’t at peace with who you are, if you don’t like who you are, if you judge yourself and criticise yourself all the time then how can you become your own biggest cheerleader?
Our inner monologue can be really harsh on us. If this is the case for you, start to question it. Is it stemming from something within you that you genuinely need to address, maybe with some professional help, or is it a result of your deeply subconscious survival instinct mixed with societal expectations of being “perfect” and “successful” whatever that means?
Start by taking notice of the way you speak to yourself. Most of the thoughts in our heads go by unnoticed and unchecked because they’re either subconscious or so repetitive that they’ve just become normal to us. When a judgy thought pops up, question it’s accuracy and ask yourself, “If I spoke this way to my friends, would I have any left?”. Becoming aware of these thoughts is really powerful because it gives you an insight into your internal environment and gives you the opportunity to change it.
When you practice this self-awareness and choose more encouraging and empowering thoughts to repeat to yourself, you will notice an increase in your confidence. This is an ongoing process and you’ve gotta stick with it. After all, you wouldn’t expect to be able to run a marathon after going for just one jog in preparation, the same is true of your mindset.
You need to believe it though which is why it’s important to question the judgemental thoughts and get to grips with what issues you may need to work on. There’s nothing wrong with having stuff to work on, I think we’ll always have stuff to work on and we’ve gotta start somewhere. But when you judge yourself for it, you’re blocking yourself from moving forwards and making progress.
The second Queen, the one who was really defensive and aggressive…I really empathised with her. Even though she didn’t come across too well, I recognised that insecurity in her. I’ve felt it myself, I think we’ve all felt it at some point in our lives whether it was when we were trying to do something big and new and challenging, or even when we’ve found ourselves in a new social group and we’re feeling a little intimidated. That internal voice goes from self-deprecating and judging ourself, into projecting judgement onto the things or people or circumstances around us. Ultimately it comes from a lack of faith in ourselves, a lack of love for ourselves and from a whole bunch of not believing we’re good enough.
Making this shift will take you on a journey and it may not be comfortable…in fact I can pretty much guarantee it won’t be comfortable, but it will unlock something truly amazing within you. It’s this amazing, authentic part of you that brings with it all the joy and fulfilment you could ever want. It’s also the part of you the world needs to see.