I did something recently that I never would have done 10 years ago.
I volunteered to be interviewed for a local news TV story.
That might not sound like a big deal to some. I would agree, appearing on a local news station as part of a two-minute bit, in and of itself, isn’t anything to write home about.
But for me, and for anyone who has spent any time judging themselves, it was a monumental experience.
You see, in the past, I would have refused.
My mind would have been filled with thoughts like:
I’m not prepared for that!
I barely have any makeup on!
I look awful!
I’m not wearing a flattering outfit!
I’ll say something dumb and look totally stupid!
No way will I put myself out there for people to judge me! Ohhhhh no!
In other words, I’m not lovable and everyone will know that I’m not lovable if I appear on TV.
But so much has changed for me in the last several years. Recently,I was talking with some friends at a park as our children played on the playground and a reporter approached us. She explained that she was covering a story about whether recent storms were washing debris into the ocean.
Then, she asked if any of us would speak on camera to share our opinions and whether we were worried about the implications of this.
When she asked that question, I paused. I looked at my friends. I hesitated some more, waiting for someone else to jump on the opportunity.
But no one did.
Then I said, “Sure, I’ll do it.”
I’ll do it, even though, I was completely caught off guard (because who expects they’ll be asked to be on TV?).
I’ll do it, even though, I didn’t exactly know what I would say.
I’ll do it, even though, I had almost no makeup on.
I’ll do it, even though, I had dog hair all over my shirt (yep, that’s how I roll on a regular Wednesday afternoon).
I’ll do it, because, I know it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of me. It doesn’t matter how I look or what I say.
The only thing that matters is that I know I’m lovable and worthy.
As the reporter explained how the short interview would work, I clipped the microphone onto my shirt, and realized what I was about to do.
I was going to appear on TV and share my opinions.
At that moment, I expected my anxiety to kick into full gear. I half expected that I would back out, making up some lame reason why I, suddenly, realized I couldn’t be interviewed for the news story.
It felt like time stopped for a bit as I waited for all the familiar anxious thoughts to flood my mind with fear:
You can’t go through with this.
You don’t know what you’re talking about!
You’re not articulate enough!
You’re going to look stupid and people will laugh at you. And they’ll judge you.
Stop this ridiculous interview now!
But, I’ve learned a lot over the last several years—I’ve learned that I’m inherently worthy and lovable, exactly, as I already am.
So what did I hear?
You’ve got this.
Don’t even consider what other people might think or say about you.
Just do your best and everything will be okay.
I could hardly believe it.
This was a concrete example of how much I’ve learned and grown. Of how to live a life that’s filled with love and happiness instead of fear and anxiety.
And it ended up being a great experience.
I was able to share my opinion with no stress or anxiety. And, perhaps, more importantly, I didn’t ruminate on all the ways I could have improved my comments or done better in any possible way.
All this is to say that my life is now easier, because, I deeply love and believe in myself.
When you love yourself and know that you’re inherently worthy, you stop worrying about inconsequential concerns (like whether you have enough makeup on).
You enjoy yourself more. You feel calmer and more at ease because you’re not constantly tossing around anxious thoughts in your mind.
And that’s a pretty great way to live your life.
Author: Dina Overland
Assistant Editor: Elizabeth Brumfield / Editor: Caitlin Oriel
Photo: Jeffrey Young/Unsplash