You may not be able to tell that the person behind the computer writing this is an extremely shy introvert. I have been all my life. Now of course, I have learned to adapt and can put on a real good show of an extrovert when I need to, but inside I am screaming. Big social situations make me very uncomfortable, especially if it is a situation with people I don’t know well. I tend to be the person that stands back in the corner and is the quiet observer. Some people may perceive it as being stuck up, but it honestly isn’t that. I just cringe at the thought of talking to people I don’t know, so I try to avoid it if possible. I am not just going to throw myself out there if I don’t have to. The teacher in me can stand up and talk to a bunch of kids any day of the week, but if you put me in a room full of adults, I freeze up. It is so hard for me. It is even hard for me to pick up the phone and call a new doctor to make an appointment. I would rather text you any day than talk to you on the phone (even if you are my best friend). I would rather write you a note to tell you how I feel than to speak it to you face to face. I hide behind writing. It’s crazy, I know! I think the biggest contributing factor to this is a lack of self-confidence. I’ve never really had much confidence in myself. That negative self-talk I always do comes in to play. What if I say the wrong thing? What if they think I am dumb? What if I don’t know the answer? What if I can’t hang with their conversation? What if they don’t like me? It’s all so ridiculous. I have worked very hard in my life to overcome my shyness and I have come a long way. I have been able to step out of my corner comfort zone and open myself up on occasion. Some situations in my life have forced me to put myself out there in ways I never thought I ever could. However, I still deal with negative thoughts and self-doubt. I still don’t have any confidence in myself.
I recently had the chance to hear one of the founders of Trades of Hope, Holly Wehde, speak on this topic. She is now my new hero and someone I aspire to be like. Her speech hit me like a ton of bricks. All this time I thought that I had made great strides in overcoming my shyness, when really I hadn’t. It made me realize that my lack of self-confidence was holding me back from reaching my goals and dreams. It was preventing me from becoming the person God has called me to be. It was like God had placed her on that stage at that very moment to speak to just me. She talked about upping your brain game. She encouraged us to squash the negative self-talk. This is something I have said time and time again that I struggle with. I’m always thinking and saying negative things to myself. I am tearing myself down in my own head. I have always known that this is a flaw of mine, but I couldn’t stop it. I am the reason that I can’t move forward with my goals. I am my own greatest obstacle. I know my negative self-talk holds me back. Holly mentioned that the most successful people choose to speak a self-language of love. She says that you have to train your brain to believe in yourself. This is something I so desperately need to do. One way to retrain your brain is to do just what she said. Speak love to yourself. Have an “I can” mentality instead of “I can’t.” Give yourself positive affirmations. Positive thoughts will lead to positive actions. Positive actions will lead to positive results. Positive results will lead to positive beliefs. By telling myself that I can, I am going to change how I approach people and situations and, in turn, change the results I gain from those interactions. That will lead me to actually believe the positive things I am telling myself. It all starts will self-love. It starts with the choice to assume the best of yourself. I am enough if I choose to be, and I have to tell myself that every day.
One thing that Holly said that really spoke to me was, “Don’t allow anyone but you to have power over your thoughts and your destiny.” Well, that is exactly what I am doing, but I am doing it in the wrong way. My thoughts are controlling my destiny because they are keeping me from reaching it. The problem is that my thoughts are always negative. Those thoughts have a negative impact on my life. They are holding me back. I realized in that moment that I had to rid my brain of the negativity. I have to retrain it like she says to think positively. I have to train it to speak love to me. I have to love myself. I have a game plan now to help me do just that. I have made a list of 5 truths that I plan to speak to myself every single morning when I wake up, every night before I go to bed, and whenever I feel the self-doubt coming. The more you tell yourself positive things, the more likely you are to believe them. I plan to write them on Post-it notes and put them on my mirror and write them on my calendar each month. I am going to train my brain to have confidence. Here are my 5 affirmations:
- I am ENOUGH!
- I am STRONG!
- I am WORTHY!
- I CAN do this!
- God LOVES me, MADE me, and BELIEVES in me!
Changing your thoughts WILL change your actions. Changing your actions WILL change your results. Changing your results WILL change your beliefs. I encourage all of you to come up with 5 affirmations to repeat to yourself over and over again. Retrain your brain right along with me. Even the most confident people in the world can use some self-love. You have the choice to be whoever you want to be. You have the choice to be who God wants you to be. You just have to accept it, believe it, and affirm it to yourself. It’s your choice. Choose to love yourself. Choose to be unstoppable.
I am going to leave you with the words that Holly left us with that day…