For the past year, or so, I have been preaching that we all need to be stepping outside our comfort zones.
Many of asked "How?!" or have said "I just don't think I can do that."
I think it is time that we get down to the nitty gritty of why it is so hard for us to open up and be vulnerable online. What is it that keeps people from putting themselves out there? This is a question I have been asking myself a lot lately and I think I have it figured out.
Hang with me now, the rest of this is solely my opinion and my reflection, so here we go..
I believe that there are a lot of things that prevent people from stepping outside of their comfort zone, however, I think the biggest factor is fear. Fear of of judgement from our peers and strangers. Fear of ridicule and snide comments that can knock us to our knees.
I wish I could tell you that there was nothing to be afraid of, but I can't. The truth is that by putting yourself out there you open yourself up to a world of judgement, ridicule and people looking to knock you down. I can understand why some would be comfortable staying within their comfort zone. There are moments where I ask myself ...
"Is this worth it?"
I would by lying if I told you that what people said didn't hurt me, make me want to give up or simply want me to give them a piece of my mind. I have experienced every emotion there is when it comes to me putting myself out there. Does it suck sometimes? YUP! Of course it does, I am human and people judging me or trying to tear me down is not something I can always turn a blind eye to.
In a perfect world, we would all love and support each other. There would be rainbows, gumdrops, unicorns and fairy godmoters. We all know that that is not reality. Reality can be dirty, mean and can kick you down, but while you are down something magical happens. I have found that each time someone talks about me, tears me down, unfollows me or simply feels the need to send me a less than enjoyable email; I make growth. Each time I am torn down I only become stronger.
A year ago, I began a journey of live streaming video which was scary and exciting all at the same time. I launched my first shirt design and everything seemed to be hunky-dory. MAN, was I wrong... I was not prepared for the judgement, rumors, emails and straight up gossip that followed. It knocked me down...hard, but while I was down I found people that truly loved me for who I was. They loved me for being me! They loved me sitting on my bathroom floor ranting for two hours. They loved me for putting myself out there! This is when I realized that while being open and vulnerable is not always easy, it will always be worth it.
So, my friend, I must tell you that if you are afraid to put yourself out there, know that you are not alone I too am afraid a lot of the time. However, we are not going to make an impact or make connections by sitting back in the shadows because we have let our fear swallow our dreams. No, we are going to step out and put ourselves out there, because there are so many that may never overcome that fear. YOU can do this! There is a world out there full of connections, people and adventure! Why would you let fear keep you from that?!
Forget the judgement, it will always be there. Screw the gossiping people, at least they are talking about you (insert valley girl "why you so obsessed with me?" look). Embrace who you are and share it with the world.
You have nothing to lose when you are vulnerable, real and you. My friend, there are only amazing things for you to gain. So get out there!