There are so many write-ups out there about how to step outside your comfort zone in big ways. Try a new class! Go skydiving! Expand on a hobby and make it into a career! And these are all fantastic suggestions. However, in my own experience, the biggest changes do not come in the big, grand moments – they come in the small details. Once these details accumulate, amazing things begin to happen. And for many of us – too many – the missing details are the ones that make our existence more fun and more meaningful.
Growing up, my mother would traverse my younger brother and I around town as her two trusty sidekicks. My mom was (and still is) not one to give a hoot about what anyone else feels is the “proper” way to behave. And while I was (and still am) her trusty sidekick, there was one thing that never failed to make me run and hide: the department store dances. We’d walk into Nordstrom to pick up school uniforms or a new pair of shoes and undoubtedly the piano man downstairs would be pounding away some upbeat Billy Joel tune or 11 o’clock Hello Dolly number. And my thirty-something Pilates-devotee mother, sandwiched between Youth Apparel and Sale Boots, would sing and dance in the loudest way possible. My brother had three fewer years of life experience than I, which had not yet taught him that this was an absolutely mortifying event. So of course, his 4-year-old self would join my mom in her crazy antics as I ran and hid behind the denim rack. My mom might have grown up amidst the fineries of Brentwood, California life (mere minutes from Pressed Juicery, where I now spend much of my time), but she has always had a confidence and craziness about her that is all her own. And no one – NO ONE – tells her what to do or who to be.
My mom ROCKS.
I inherited my mom’s strength and determination at a young age, but it took me a very long time to become me instead of who I felt I should be. I was always uber-cautious and self-conscious. I considered myself “shy” around my peers, when in actuality I was just so longing to fit in that I squelched any impulse that would deem me different or odd. I approached life with a fierce determination, but my department-store dancer was locked away in a vault somewhere, lest she should sabotage my attempts at being fabulous.
What a surprise it was to learn that when we let go of trying to fit in, THAT is when our puzzle pieces find their place in the world. When we quit censoring our impulses, we become truly fabulous.
Take yourself seriously. Take your life, your goals, your loves, your actions – take them all very seriously. But make sure not to confuse always taking yourself seriously with always being SERIOUS.
Here are some of my go-to confidence boosters when my world seems a bit too stoic:
- Paint your nails a bright color – I’m not talking red. I’m talking electric blue.
- Sing out loud if you’re running outside. And run so fast that you don’t have time to notice if people turn and stare.
- Have a dance party in your car.
- Learn the lyrics to at least one guilty pleasure song, one hip hop tune and one classic rock jam. Then sing them whilst imitating someone completely unexpected. I prefer Carol Channing or Julie Andrews.
- Wear a pop of color in an unexpected way. Royal Purple leggings? Okay! Neon green socks? Own it!
- Make corny jokes just to see who catches on.
- Download a silly app on your smartphone like Taking Pictures With Dinosaurs or Cat Effects and bejangle your photos with no rhyme or reason attached.
- Use words like “bejangle”.
And if all else fails, make a trip to your local department store – and DANCE.