Recently I went on a date. I think it was my favorite date I've ever been on. Why? Because I finally stopped being afraid of who I am.
Let me explain.
I am a very socially awkward person. Talking to people is really difficult. It's hard for me to carry on a conversation for more than a few minutes. And don't even mention small talk, because no one is worse at it than me. Because of this, I've always been afraid of dating. I've been afraid that my personality will make the whole date awkward (which it usually ends up doing). So instead of being myself I try to be someone different, which ends up being even more awkward. So now I have a problem: if being myself is awkward, and being someone else is awkward, I can't win. Either way I'm going to be awkward. So what do I do?
Well, this week I finally figured it out. As soon as I asked the girl on the date I decided that this one was going to be different. This time I was going to embrace who I am and just go with it. I decided that I was going to embrace my awkwardness and accept it as who I am.
This was not an easy process. As funny as it might sound, I actually practiced embracing awkward situations. At work if I'd accidentally say or do something wrong, making it awkward, instead of beating myself up I'd say, "No, it's okay. That's just who I am." I did this over and over and over until it became second nature. The more I did this the more my confidence grew. I started doing things I was nervous or afraid to do because I knew that even if I ended up feeling awkward, I could accept that fact and move on. It has been one of the most liberating things I have ever done.
So, when it came time for the date I gave myself a pep talk and decided that this was going to be the best date ever. I was going to just let my personality come out unconstrained. And guess what? It worked!
I still felt awkward at times, but I was okay with it. There were times when I didn't know what to say, but I just thought harder and eventually thought of something. But the most important thing is that I had fun. I actually enjoyed it. I just focused on enjoying the moment instead of obsessing over how I wasn't perfect.
So my message to you is to just be yourself. Don't be afraid of making mistakes, because everyone makes them. If things are difficult, work harder to achieve them. You will find that the more you accept yourself, the more other people will accept you too.