I’ve been interviewing a lot of people recently for the first ever Twisted Sleeve course, Self-Esteem: How To Start Liking Yourself. What’s amazed me about these interviews is how different but also similar everyone’s stories are.
It seems that everyone has a very personal story of learning to like him- or herself, but that, eventually, everyone has to learn the same lessons and have the same realisations.
Almost everyone I interviewed mentioned making a conscious effort to start liking themselves. For most of them, there came a moment when they were suddenly done with feeling broken, lonely, and unhappy. A moment when they decided to take matters into their own hands and sort out their self-esteem once and for all. read more…
I believe confidence can be broken down into two strands:
- Practical confidence – the confidence to do things
- Internal confidence – self-esteem
While practical confidence is something non-shy people don’t tend to struggle with so much, almost everyone experiences low self-esteem at some point.
You know when you’ve got period pains – not even the really bad ones, just the normal ‘ugh’ ones – and you’re supposed to do P.E. or some sort of exercise? And how it’s the last thing in the world you want to do? And some annoying know-it-all tells you that exercise will make you feel better?
And you look at them like ‘Exercise is the single thing in this world that is guaranteed to make me feel a million times worse right now. No way.’
That’s not the exercise lie that’s not a lie. Maybe those know-it-alls are right but they’ve not convinced me just yet. read more…
My girlfriend’s really glad she didn’t meet me when I was younger because she cracks up whenever she sees a photo of teenage me.
I wore glasses pretty much until they became cool. If I wore my hair up, the top bits frizzed out around my head. If I wore it down, it was this thick, straw-like frame around my face. And because I didn’t wear make-up, and I have the lightest eyelashes in existence, I had my what friend called ‘foreign eyes’.
Of course, I’m sure I’ll look back on the current me in five years and despair at myself. But, hey, my girlfriend thinks I look acceptable, so I can’t be too hideous, right?!
I was an ugly duckling. Actually, I really was, in a dance show. read more…
A while ago a Twisted Sleeve reader told me that a lot of confidence advice she’s read has actually made her shyness worse. That, by following advice written specifically for shy people, she’s become even more paranoid. Now that got me worried! First up, that is not good! Second up, I don’t want my advice to do that. read more…
You have your money carefully counted out before you’re anywhere near the front of the checkout queue, but you still manage to fumble around and drop the coins as you go to pay.
You drive too fast round bends because the car behind you is right up your backside, clearly mega annoyed that you’re not going fast enough.
You rehearse what you need to say to the hairdresser a gazillion times in your head before you arrive at the salon, but when you go to ask for a simple cut and trim, you trip over your words and they come out all funny.
You panic. read more…
Us shy folk tend to take everything personally.
- Only one ‘x’ at the end of that text? My crush can’t be interested in me.
- My friend said she doesn’t like red hair? She must have been hinting about my almost ginger hair.
- I only got a C for that essay? I’m never going to get anywhere in life.
We always assume people are thinking the worst about us. Mostly that’s because we think the worst about ourselves.
We’re extremely talented at finding fault with ourselves and, because our flaws are so obvious to us, we assume they must be just as obvious to other people. We’re convinced they’re constantly judging us in their heads. read more…
So far in my life I’ve had a perm, really short hair, even shorter hair, dark brown hair, red hair, blue and pink streaks, extensions, and now an ombre style. I love changing my hair. But you know what I think looks really cool? Dreadlocks. I think girls with dreadlocks just look so, so cool.
A couple of years back I really wanted dreadlocks or at least fake dreadlocks (the permanence factor scared me). But my family had a family meeting and decided that I wasn’t allowed them, mainly, I think, because people would judge me and think I was skanky. read more…
So, as I type this, I’m on a ferry, waiting to set off for the Netherlands (Hi, Dutch readers!). Edit: as I’m editing this, I’m in my friend’s bedroom in Berlin (Hi, German readers!).
My girlfriend and I are now officially (well, unofficially as I haven’t got round to changing my address yet) homeless. We’re travelling around Europe in our car until, well, until we don’t feel like doing that anymore.
OH MY FREAKING WOAH! read more…
Last week I was thinking about why I want to help shy girls become confident. I realised it’s because there’s so much I want to do and I know my shyness sometimes holds me back. I don’t want that to happen to me anymore and I want to make damn sure that doesn’t happen to you.
I fully believe there’s this special little bundle of talent caught up inside each one of you and I want to help you let it out, so you can do and be whatever you dream of being and doing.
For me, it’s not enough to just help you speak to strangers. I want to help you talk to strangers so that you can start that fashion line you’ve been dreaming of starting. So you can get up on stage and start your career in theatre. So you can turn your anger about pollution into a world-saving non-profit. read more…