Both as a teen and throughout the first half of my twenties, I was ashamed of pretty well anything and everything I did that wasn't in direct alignment with what seen as socially acceptable for me. I missed out on potential relationships and stopped doing a number of passions publicly all in the name of being accepted.
What was the result of all of this? A widely accepted but flat out miserable me.
While I didn't raise any eyebrows or deal with much criticism, I also wasn't myself. Thankfully, since then I've experienced what so many had rumoured about before me: with age you literally start caring less and less about what other people think of you.
As I now approach my thirtieth year of life, I can confidently say that the amount I care about what other people think of me is at an all-time low -and that's in the social media obsessed world we live in, where self-consciousness is globally at all-time high. Don't believe me? We all know at least one person who can easily spend several hours perfectly posing and posting a particular image on Instagram to maximize the chances that they receive the attention and approval they are seeking.
Even though this process is seemingly naturally-occurring, we all still perpetually carry some unnecessary shame. So whether you are 16, 30 or 85, here is my list of 7 things I truly believe you need to stop being ashamed of in both video and written form:
1. The Music You Listen To
Still to this day, when asked to list some of my favourite artists or bands I'll find myself inclined to primarily list off those that "match" me. And while those that I list are reflective of some of my favourite music, it's certainly not the full picture. Since grade 2, a part of me has always loved pop music, especially songs created by the infamous boy bands NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys, yet only my closest friends ever got to know this about me.
There are far too many of us who reserve our favourite tracks, which we all know uplift us the most, for those rare "safe" moments where we know there is little to no risk of being judged by anyone nearby. If it's going to put you in a better mood, why not treat your car the same way you treat your shower?
2. The Things You Do In Your Downtime
While I'm not concerned as to whether or not you do what you genuinely love in your downtime, I am concerned about how hush-hush we tend to keep our interests. Whether you love playing video games, reading Harlequin novels, or building model train sets, your personal passions are one of your greatest tools for deep connection.
Think of the friendships you can form with those who are just as passionate about what gets you going. You're far more likely to connect with them than you are with your girlfriend's friend's boyfriend.
3. Your Emotions
I'm not suggesting we all become incredibly emotional beings who overreact to anything and everything that comes our way, but I am suggesting we stop bottling things up inside. While some strides have been made to shift away from the "Macho Man" or "Macho Woman" mentality, there are still far too many of us who think keeping our issues to ourselves is the "tougher" thing to do.
I'm a firm believer that the most efficient and effective way to move past challenging situations is to fully express what you are feeling and ride it out.
4. What You Do For Work
Unfortunately, but also thankfully, we cannot all work jobs that are both widely understood and accepted. I've tried explaining to my mom dozens of times what a social media consultant is and she still has no idea what I do for a living other than "Facebook".
So whether you're a plumber, doctor, or the second line manager for a particular part within a certain piece of machinery at a company that no one has ever heard of, embrace and express what you do. It is a key player in helping you provide for yourself and your loved ones, so why not be proud of everything that it entails? Plus, if you happen to not like your job, it's only through properly expressing what you do, that others can draw parallels to other opportunities that may be a better fit for you.
5. Everyone You've Dated
The shame surrounding this tends to come in one of two ways.
The first revolves around quality. You likely have at least one "psycho ex" or that person you dated for several months that everyone knew was a bad fit for you and ultimately was.
The second surrounds quantity. Either you haven't dated enough people or you've lost count of how many you have, either way there are plenty of judgemental terms that can be cast upon both. No matter your dating resume, remember that everyone, or lack of anyone, has helped to make you into who you are today.
6. Your Bank Account Balance
Let me set the record straight that I'm not suggesting we all start openly parading our checking account balances. What I am suggesting is that we stop letting our savings dictate our confidence level, and ultimately how we sell ourselves to others and the world.
Just as no one likes a cocky bastard who won't shut up about their wealth, no one likes someone who belittles all of their wonderful attributes because they feel their financial situation makes them into an unworthy and lost soul. Remind yourself of everything you have to offer this world and operate from that space, doing so will bring more money your way than selling yourself short ever will.
7. The Fact That You Watch & Read Content Like This
As someone who has been creating this content for well over 8 years, I can confidently tell you that there are far more people who seek this information out than you likely think. But if that isn't comforting enough, remind yourself that engaging with this content simply suggests that you are actively looking to improve your life. When did that become something we need to be ashamed of?
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