It’s good to mess up, be silly and look stupid.
This is the affirmation I filled a page in my journal with the other morning after I’d been thinking about a few nights previous when I’d been at a friend’s birthday party.
When it comes to parties and dancing it’s not that I can’t dance, it’s that I choose not too mainly because I feel really uncomfortable doing it. But as the night went on there were some really good tunes being played, stuff that I would dance to but I just felt super uncomfortable at the thought of it.
Maybe it was because I was pretty sober, maybe it was because I didn’t know a lot of the people there, or maybe it was because it was completely outside of my comfort zone. Dancing makes me feel really self-conscious, I know it’s irrational and no one really cares, but in my mind I look like a complete idiot and everybody is judging me.
Now I know this is not true, but there’s a strong enough emotion attached to it that I knew I needed to investigate further.
My investigation wasn’t just an attempt to feel better about throwing shapes in public. It was more about breaking down a barrier of insecurity or fear that I clearly have. A barrier that’s in the way of me being completely myself, unfiltered, unashamed and unapologetically authentic.
I believe that owning and expressing the truest, most authentic version of ourselves is the ultimate way to experience happiness, success and fulfilment. It’s the best version of ourselves and I’m working on removing the subconscious crap that’s in the way of that for me.
So I did my journaling with the intention of understanding what this particular block is all about for me, and this is what I came up with…
First of all I acknowledged the feeling, it was fear of looking stupid and being judged for letting go and being silly, having fun and just being myself.
Then I tried to remember the very first time I ever felt that way. It was when I was at Primary School, I was a bit of a weirdo (I used to tell people I was an alien), I was confident and loud in my silliness and goofiness and I was a tomboy.
I was friends with the pretty popular girls but I was never really one of them. The most popular girl I was friends with was my friend because I used to get a lift to school with her in the morning. If this hadn’t the case she probably wouldn’t have felt the need to hang out with me at school. As it stood, we did play together at break times but it always seemed like she felt obliged to and that the other girls didn’t really know why I was there. I remember feeling like I was “less than” them and that I needed to filter myself a bit to fit in.
*I’m aware now that this was most likely more to do with my own interpretation of things rather than anything specific they did or said. But nevertheless, I remember feeling this way.*
Also, incase you’re reading this and you’ve never been a 9 year old girl just know that it can be pretty intense at times. There’s judgement flying around everywhere what with hormones, bitchiness, playground politics and the fact that girls are pretty much experts in psychological warfare!
So my insecurities about looking stupid or being judged were kind of a culmination of all that to begin with, and it just intensified as I went into my teens and twenties. I actually remember a moment in my early teens where it felt like all the confidence I had being a loud and weird kid, just went away and I felt a real need to fit in which resulted in a lot of self-consciousness, self-esteem and confidence issues. Typical for a hormonal teenager I guess.
But we also live in a culture where too much emphasis and value is placed on how we look, how we’re perceived by others and how cool we are. This has definitely seeped into my subconscious and effects the way I feel about myself.
As a result of all this I tend to feel worthless and embarrassed if I make a mistake in front of people, especially if I get called out or teased about it.
There’s a part of me that feels like I need to be “perfect” in order to be loved, accepted and good enough, but perfection is unattainable and exhausting!
There are so many ways in which I feel the complete opposite to what I’ve described above, but the point is that we all have certain triggers or sensitivities and they don’t always make logical sense.
What I reminded myself of during this journaling session is that people who judge others are actually judging themselves, probably more harshly than anyone else, and I don’t want to live my life feeling like I need to protect myself by being “perfect” all the time. I don’t want to be affected by other people like that. I want to be able to mess up and not feel like I’ve slipped from some sort of imaginary standard that’s not even my own standard!
Striving to be perfect and never messing up is a butt load of pressure! It feels like there’s so much at stake and it makes life feel stressful and anxious when you're trying to maintain that standard and the way people see you.
I’m human and I’m not perfect at all. My intentions are good and I try to be the best version of myself but ultimately I just wanna be me without worrying about judgement from anybody else. I want to have fun and be silly and chances are I’ll mess up and look stupid along the way but that doesn’t make me less of a person - in fact it makes me more of a person because I’m being my whole self and not just the part that feels “safe”.
The world will continue on and people will continue to judge but I am going to make a big effort to not let that stop me from being a weirdo, having fun, messing up, looking stupid and just being me in all areas of my life, not just the parts where it feels safe.
I had a think about how to expand my comfort zone and start to practice publicly messing up, being silly or looking stupid. The first thing I did was to look for evidence to support the new affirmation I’d written (the title of this article), so I spent the next hour or so watching Youtube videos of people starting dance parties, like these ones…
*Tell me your favourite in the comments, or share one you’ve seen that isn’t in the list :)
Then I thought about what I could do to strengthen that silliness muscle for myself. I thought about maybe joining a comedy class or even a dance class. Just different ways of gradually practicing messing up, being silly and looking stupid so that it feels normal and fun instead of making me feel anxious.
Happiness isn’t just a mood, it’s a work ethic. I’m working on my own happiness by paying close attention to the areas where I feel fear or insecurity and instead of accepting it and letting it affect my actions and ultimately my whole life, I’m committing to getting curious, changing my thinking and my actions so that I can really be the best version of myself and create sustainable happiness, fulfilment and success.
I’d love to know what you think, what do you need to pay attention to and investigate so that you can remove the stuff that’s getting in the way of you being fully and happily yourself?