Pro’s to mental illness. Be more self-confident!!

I was SO glad when summer came, and I had a fairly good summer in comparison to previous ones. My sister managed to stay out of hospital for all but 4 weeks, so we got to spend a lot of time together – now we are closer than ever. But..I WAS SO SO glad to come back to uni and even more happy to start lectures today. I’m worried people are questioning my ability to be at university, but as my mentor said, the ultimate decision was and is mine.

I had my public relations lecture and seminar, and I tried so hard to be more confident and speak up (I go bright red which is fabulous). This year there seems to be, across most of my modules, a lot of group work and presentations. I’m not a fan of group work, but that’s because I’m a pushover, which I need to learn to be a bit more confident in getting other people to do some of the work. Presentations…who likes them, really? But I reckon I can get myself to the point where they don’t cause me significant stress. First year I didn’t do any presentations bar one and so got zero for them, second year I managed to do them, and this year I am going to do them, and well. I am.

I think one of the “pro’s” of having a mental illness, and the consequent treatment, is that you become much more self-aware. I know my weaknesses, and a big one is social situations/anything in front of people. I’ve spent years and years pushing myself out of my comfort zone doing social things, and now I can transfer that to challenging myself at university with presentations and speaking up in class, whereas some of my friends hate it, and don’t really want to challenge it. Also, years of being the “quiet one” and disliking who I was has enabled me to now realise that who I am is perfectly good enough, and that I can be myself, so I feel much more self-confident now, and self-assured (well, more than I ever have been!).

If there is one good thing to come from everything (and there’s actually a lot of good things), it’s that I’ve learnt the skills to push myself out of my comfort zone and I no longer feel satisfied with blending in, or remaining the quiet one. Life is too short, and putting yourself down or limiting yourself isn’t something to be proud of. It’s not good for you, nor anyone else.

We live in a society where putting yourself down appears to be much more acceptable than liking yourself. Fair play, there’s a line between self-confidence and arrogance, but if you’re not an arrogant person, you’re extremely unlikely to cross that line – and to be honest, I think putting yourself down should be seen as a bigger issue than bigging yourself up.

So laugh out loud, be funny, talk as much as you want, and “act” as yourself (so long as it’s appropriate!). We’re taught not to build ourselves up while simultaneously being told not to put ourselves down. Being yourself is the most attractive thing you can be. Having a low opinion of yourself is not modesty, it’s self-destruction.

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