On Confidence and Choices

A friend told me the other day he thought I was confident. I was amazed, because I don’t think of myself as a confident person. I’m riddled with anxieties and phobias with a little bit of PTSD thrown in for good measure (And no – that isn’t an exaggeration – I’ve been treated for PTSD by an actual therapist – it really is a problem I struggle with).

So when someone I know well says he thinks I’m confident I’m thinking, no I’m not What he sees isn’t confidence. He’s seeing a choice I made to not allow my insecurities and phobias to impact my life negatively.

I do things despite my insecurities because I have chosen to not let them get in the way of being the person I want to be.

I learned this from my mother. She is an amazing outgoing person. Except she will tell you she is actually very shy. No one who has met her believes it. But it’s true. I won’t go into the details because that’s personal to her but I can attest having lived with her as a child that there are times when she really struggles.

What I learned from her struggles isn’t that she was weak. Because she wasn’t What I learned is that she refused to let her insecurities get in the way of being the person she wanted to be. That you could chose, despite your insecurities and problems and yes, PTSD, to live life fully.

You have to own your insecurities or they will own you! What I mean by this is acknowledge your limitations. Acknowledge your insecurities. Acknowledge whatever mental health problem you have. By acknowledging it you can work around it or get help for it. Neither of those strategies is possible as long as you are in denial.

Now, obviously there are limitations to our ability to choose to defy our mental health problems. Obviously we humans are neurologically diverse and different people are wired differently and some brain illnesses are overpowering and no amount of “willpower” or choice will change that. But you still have a choice.  You can own the problem and the illness and get help for it and work around it, or suffer. I am not one to suffer. I get help.

 When I realized I had PTSD from a stalking, I sought help from a licenced therapist with experience in treating PTSD. That was one of the smartest things I ever did because it gave me my life back. I was no longer in the self imposed prison that my PTSD addled brain had created for myself. By acknowledging it and getting help for it I was able to treat it and work around it.

Why am I open about the problems I face? Why do I seem so confident despite my insecurities, occasional depression and PTSD? Because I have nothing to be embarrassed about! I have nothing to be insecure about. We ALL face these problems. All of us.  By being open I not only admit my problems so I can face them and deal with them, but I help others make that same choice.

Here is what I have learned. No one has ostracized me for having mental health issues. Being open helps other people provide me support when I need it most. Encouraging others to be open about their mental health helps others seek the help they need. And that’s something worth putting yourself out there for.

To learn more about how to be confident despite your insecurities - consider taking my Living Made Simpler course which is all about how to use critical thinking and compassion to more effectively deal with life and interpersonal relationships. http://humanistlearning.info/livingmadesimpler1/

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