This week was full of anxiety. I cried so much over the weekend, and during the week, I was too scared to think clearly. The week went by in a blur and it wasn’t until today that I found many lessons – and a major one worth writing about.
You see, I am not a speaker. I’ve had the whole world and their momma (haha) tell me that I’m a speaker. Where I work, I am sometimes asked to speak and instruct. It’s nerve wrecking and it brings me great anxiety. I have tried, all my life to overcome this but it has only gotten worse as I got older.
It hit me in the face, today, that I’m being someone I’m not. Well, I’m being pressured. People will say : “if you don’t overcome public speaking fears you will never succeed.” , “You are a coward.” “You can adapt and change.” “You have low-self confidence.”
I realize this is peer pressure dressed up in a fancy package called motivation. It demoralizes a person. Makes them feel less than and sub par for not meeting expectations. Watching the “I look down on you” expressions from people that want you to live up to their standards.
Where they (and I for a short while) saw mistakes and failure, was where I saw strength and character. First off, congrats to me for even doing it. However, I realized my own strengths. I have the ability to break down hard concepts into simple and easy to understand examples. I can relate to people who are a bit slower than the rest and provide encouragement and a safe place for them to learn. I use my mistakes to help others avoid the same pitfalls. I also like brain storming with people – giving us all an equal footing , instead of me just lecturing and teaching something.
I was so focused on being like them, instead of being me and I refuse to do that ever again. I may not know everything – and I am honest about it – and I may not be the most eloquent speaker but I don’t need to be.
Never again will I allow anyone or anything pressure me to perform. Never will I be anything other than who I am. God made me the way I am and I will not change myself to fit in, be liked, or to succeed. There are skills and traits that I will develop over time, but public speaking just isn’t one of them.
I will succeed either way because I believe I will, not because other people say so. Remember, you must believe in yourself even if the world doesn’t. You must stand firm in your beliefs and identity even if the world rejects you. You don’t have to change to fit in. I don’t need anyone’s approval, nor do I need to speak unless I have something important to say.
I hope this message is clear: introverts , quiet people, don’t you dare change who you are for anyone! You were created this way for a reason. If everyone is the same, who will be different? It was all the quirky people that left a real mark in this world. Not everyone will do the same things and in the same way and in the same order.
Don’t let the world, or the church, family or friends pressure you to be someone you are not. You will feel like an impostor, you will feel anxious and afraid and you will most definitely NOT feel confident. There are many ways to take risks, many avenues and paths to venture. Don’t be forced to do anything but do everything out of love.
Be yourself, literally and don’t compromise!
Until next time,