The Fear of ‘Putting Yourself Out There’

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Location: Santorini

overcoming vulnerability

reflections

 

Recently I’ve had quite a few emails and comments from bloggers asking how I found the courage to put my blog out there. How did I face being so vulnerable and opening myself up to negative opinions from people I knew? I could never answer it honestly because the truth is, wanting to hide in the corner and succeed is a feeling I know all too well.

To this day, after two years of running Sunday Chapter, I still have trouble with putting myself, and my blog, out there. I started this blog as an escape from my life, to connect with like-minded people and share the things I loved. Eventually, people I knew started finding it and it made me angry because I didn’t feel like I could write what I wanted anymore. I felt restricted, and I still do. Every time I start writing a post, in the back of my mind I know who is reading it. I know it’s open for everyone to see, and it’s created a lot of self-doubt, frustration and not to mention writers block.

At the same time, as I grew Sunday Chapter, I knew I wanted it to be something long-term. I wanted to turn it into a place where people could connect and be inspired through travel, style and beauty. It’s unrealistic for me to think that I could keep it from the people I know when it’s such a big part of my life.

Why am I so afraid of putting myself out there? I’m afraid of being judged, for one, and as stupid as it sounds, I care about what people think of me. It’s human nature and I know I’m not alone here. Everyone wants to feel accepted and told they’re good enough.

But the past few months I’ve realized just how much success and growth I’ve hindered by keeping quiet and seeking everyone’s approval. Standing out is a necessity if you want to do what you love, especially as a blogger. I don’t want to look back in 5 or 10 years and realized how much I gave up because of my fears.

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If you were a reader from the early days of Sunday Chapter, you’ll know my posts started off quite personal. I shared a lot of my life on here and then I stopped as soon as people I knew found it. I even went to the effort to delete posts I felt were too revealing.

Blogging became a daily struggle. I would try to let you guys in, then the fear took over and I’d instead post something I felt was more safe and less personal. I struggled to find my voice because I didn’t feel confident enough to reveal it. In the process, I became disconnected from my readers. I’m not the kind of person who can post a few photos of an outfit and share one or two sentences. It’s not enough. I want to provide value, I want to let you guys in on my life, and I want to hear about YOUR lives.

Being vulnerable is scary, but it’s also a necessity. The only way to form real, deep and meaningful connections is to put yourself out there.

My life is not a series of pretty pictures and there has been so much struggle behind everything you see. Those who know me, know I’m a very private person, sometimes a little too guarded, so sharing photos of myself online, advertising my opinions, reaching out to people… it’s a lot to take on.

Just to get things straight, I’m incredibly passionate about my work and I’m in no way complaining. I want to make an impact in this industry, which is why I’ve been working everyday to try and to let go of this vulnerability. This post is one of those steps and I’m hoping to help anyone in the same position.

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Over the past week, it’s kind of hit me. Who am I really making happy by keeping so much to myself? Because it surely isn’t me. I’m finally coming to the realization that not everyone is going to like me, and that’s okay. I don’t enjoy watching every single youtuber or reading every single blog, but that doesn’t make them any less successful.

“What makes you happy doesn’t need approval from anyone else.”

So yes, I’m still afraid of sharing my ideas, opinions and photos, but it’s getting easier. My drive is growing stronger than my fear and the last thing I want is to be held back by what people might think.

For those reading this who have been condescending towards me or my brand, I know it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with you. This is my job, which I love to bits, and I work so hard to keep it that way. I don’t ever want to settle for anything else. If you’re not happy with your life, change it. Don’t bring others down because of it.

I’m telling you this in case you’re in the same boat. Perhaps you fear others judging you and your work, or your scared to pull the trigger on something, or you’re uncomfortable with self promotion, failure or success.

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“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”

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What if I’m not good enough? What if they laugh at me? My list of worries is endless but I can’t let my mindset control my life, and you shouldn’t either. People will try to criticize you when you’re doing anything out of the ordinary, but you just have to keep moving forward and keep improving.

I’ve learned that if you really want to make an impact, you have to get people to talk about you. The only way you or your work are going to grow and succeed is to be put out there for judgement – both negative and positive. And you just have to push past it. You can’t succeed without failing. You can’t fail without being vulnerable.

 

 

You can’t avoid fear unless you’re locked up in your room all day trying to ignore it, but that’s not living. You need to decide what scares you more. The fear of vulnerability and failure, or the fear of settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.

As for me? At the end of the day, I realized that this blog isn’t about me, it’s about YOU guys. It’s not just about what I’m wearing or what I look like, it’s about providing value, content, and developing a strong long-term readership. It’s about connecting and inspiring like-minded people from all over the world. That’s what makes the fear seem almost trivial.

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Have you ever felt like this? Have you ever avoided something because you were afraid of putting yourself out there? If it’s something you’ve dealt with or currently deal with, I would love, love, LOVE to hear from you!
  • Ksenzag

    This made me cry a little bit. It was so emotional and I feel like I found myself in some moments that made me cry. This is a very good post, thank you so much for helping other people to avoid bad things and start thinking about the real ones!

    • Oh wow thank you so much for your comment, it seriously means the world to me. I’m so happy I could relate to you in some way! xx

  • very heartfelt, I need to take your advice xx
    Ella

    http://www.ellaryder.com/

    • Thanks so much for reading Ella! xx

  • This was written so beautifully.

    I have avoided telling people that I have had a blog in the past, until I decided to create my new blog a few weeks ago. Today was the day I shared it with my Facebook friends and I was amazed at the positive feedback I got. I honestly thought everyone would think I am lame or silly for wanting to share my thoughts, pictures etc. with the online world.

    I love the advice you have given, and the quote “Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing”, really puts it all into perspective.

    Kelsey x
    http://www.kelsey-rose.com

    • Congrats on sharing your new blog, that’s amazing! I’m so happy that you received such a positive response :) thank you so much for reading too. It’s one of my fave quotes! xx

  • Sharon

    I would say that I used to feel like you do and then I got older. In my twenties and early-mid thirties, I cared what people thought, did not want to disturb the proverbial apple cart, went along with things etc. Then I got to be later thirties and now into my forties and overall, I really do not care what people think. I know for a fact that some people will like me, some will even love me and some will not and that is a lot more about them than about me. Love the quote that goes something like ‘ your opinion of me is none of my business” I am the only person who gets to live with me 24/7 and I need to be comfortable with me and what I do/say/experience etc. I think that it is a big part of the maturing process and for most of us that takes time and you have to get there on your own terms/timeline.

    • Thank you for your comment and sharing your experience! I absolutely agree with everything you’re saying too. It definitely gets easier with time :) xx

  • I am exactly the same, I hate when people find out that I have a blog. I get embarrassed and angry and try and brush it off so they’ll forget about it. It’s like I want to live in two different worlds but I guess that’s not feasible. I want to share how I feel and things that are happening in my life because I keep so much inside it can get overwhelming. I am not the type of person to spill all my darkest secrets to my friends or family, I am extremely private and cautious about what I reveal to people so it’s a little weird that I am okay with sharing how I feel with perfect strangers. But hey it is what it is xxx

    AlLittleKiranBloglovin

    • Ahh I feel like your comment was written by me haha. I used to feel like that ALL the time, and still sometimes do. The more you let go, the easier it becomes. It’s feels like a sigh of relief haha :) thank you for reading! xx

  • Isn’t it strange how ‘safe’ we feel posting our innermost thoughts to strangers on the internet? There is an inevitability I guess that people we know in real life will come across our blogs if they like the same things as us.

    I started a personal blog but then became uncomfortable with what I was revealing, so I stopped. I feel safer writing about novels and publishing than about me.

    • I’ve always found it easier talking to strangers than people who know me well, haha. It’s so weird isn’t it?! Wish you all the luck with your writing!! :) xx

  • I feel this way too. My family has a way of making comments about everything I do so I always leave bits out of my blog because I’m scared what they say when they read it. Random people I went to high school with who I wasn’t even friends with have found my blog and stick their noses up which shouldn’t bother me but it does. It’s hard to not let that get to you and open up but you’re right. Being vulnerable is what connects us. Thanks for sharing!
    The Fernweh Wolf / Travel & Lifestyle Blog
    xx

    • Oh I can definitely relate to you, especially the high school thing! High school feels like so long ago for me (I graduated in 2012) and yet I still see randoms from there follow and hate on me. It’s like, don’t they have ANYTHING better to do?! I really appreciate your comment. Love your blog btw :) xx

  • Hey Angela,

    firstly, I want to tell you that you shouldn’t hide yourself, because you’re really pretty and honest person. I really like your posts and actually, you are one of my favourite blogger, who keep me inspired and I thank you for that.
    Secondly, I have these feelings too. I don’t want to put my blog or me out there because I am afraid of oppinions of my friends. But I guess I can’t let myself be influenced by this and just do what I truly love. :-)

    So, thank you for this post and have a nice day xx

    http://www.inbluebox.com

    • Thank you so much Lucie, you have no idea how much that means to me! Wishing you all the luck with your blog :) xx

  • Ashley Christabelle

    Oh yes, Angela! This is so accurate as to how I feel about blogging. Well, I’m more open about my life on my blog than I am in real life and I find that really weird, but I guess it’s because I’m not so good at socializing and being around new people. I hope you get to overcome any problems that you have about blogging because you ROCK! Your blog is one of my absolute favorites. <3

    http://www.ashrealasitgets.blogspot.com

    • Thank you so so much! That was so sweet of you to say <3 Good luck with your blog lovely! xx

  • Great post!

    sheloveschaos.com

    • Thanks so much! :) xx

  • Wow! Great post. This is something I really needed to read right now. I had a meltdown last night over this exact thing. Things won’t come to us if we don’t put our selves out there and work hard for it. Thank you this post has really made me realise I need to change a lot of things about the way I think and feel.
    I love your blog posts. You are truely something special xx

    • So so true! I hope you’re feeling better about it now :) nothing happens overnight! & THANK YOU so much, that means the world xx

  • Vilma Sierra

    Great inspiring posts something we set so many limits because we are scare of people laughing at us or criticize but that’s when we need to listen to our inner voice and just be ourselves. I love your blog you are right every single post you offer such a great value. Looking forward to next post.

    • Couldn’t have put it better myself!! Thank you so much Vilma, means so much to me xx

  • Very true! great post x
    Marveling-Mind☀ | Instagram | Bloglovin’

    • Thank you so much for reading! xx

  • Great read. I think everyone feels this way at some point. This post has really come up at a good time for me. I needed to hear this :)

    • Thank you Melanie! I’m so happy I could help you out a little :) xx

  • Yiotou_La

    I used to feel that way too, especially when I started my blog. ”What if nobody reads it” or ”What if noone will follow me”, these were the thoughts that kept going on my mind. But I stopped and tried to do my best without being stressed everytime I hit the ”publish” button. If we stop worrying so much about what other people will think, then we will be free to enjoy this and I really really enjoy it now :)

    Yiota
    PinkDaisyLoves

    • You are so right! I’m definitely trying to do the same. Thank you for your comment, I appreciate it more than you know xx

  • I just started my blog, but for years I thought about it, my fear stopped me . One day I decided it was time to start Noble Tandem no matters what, and I have no regrets. Yes I was criticized by some people in my entrourage and I still am, but surprisedly their comments do no effect at all. It’s fell so good to be where I am, writing for my blog lets me satisfy the creative person in me !
    I discovered your blog not to long ago, but it is absolutely beautiful !

    • That makes me SO happy! What makes you happy doesn’t need approval from anyone else :) Thank you so so much for your comment Sophie xx

  • I’ve been blogging for about 2 years now. When I first started blogging I was so hard on myself and I started comparing my blog to other blogs. But now I realize as long as I work hard and spend quality time for my blog then that’s all I should care about. This was such a lovely post and I enjoyed reading it very much!
    http://livingblissfullybalance.weebly.com/

    • Very true! SO happy for you :) your blog is lovely! Thanks so much for your comment xx

  • I really try to write to little bits about my life and things when I do a blog post to keep readers in the loop, even if my blog is very small but sometimes I worry what people think as quite a few people I know know about it and some of it is quite personal, but i want to be personal I want my little amount of readers to get to know me and know who I am and what I do!
    http://www.pagesfrombeth.blogspot.co.uk

    • I totally understand! It used to affect me so much, but I’m learning to let go & I hope you do too one day! It’s so freeing! What makes you happy doesn’t need anyones approval :) Thanks so much for your comment! xx

  • ari michael

    I can relate to this post so much. I’m a blogger and didn’t even want to post pictures of myself because I know how harsh the internet can be. At the end of the day, showing your face can be essential for the brand. Readers want to know who you are so it’s something I had to overcome, and it was fine at the end of the day! I think the issue is people view vulnerability as weakness when it’s anything but that. It takes so much strength and courage to do the thing that scares you the most.

    http://live-in-bliss.blogspot.com

    • You are too right! Putting a face behind a brand is definitely an essential for bloggers. Love your comment Ari! xx

  • Kel

    This post really couldn’t have come at a better time. I posted my first ever blog post two days ago and I’ve barely told anyone. It’s very basic and not filled with beautiful photos and a perfect layout but it’s my first one so I figure that stuff will come with time. This has inspired me to be a little more brave. Thank you x BehindTheWardrobeDoors.blogspot.com

    • Congrats on starting your blog!! How exciting. I remember for the first 6 months of my blog I was taking all my photos with an iPhone & outfit shots in my room – everyone starts somewhere :) Thanks for your comment Kel! xx

  • Lee Hynes

    Perfect timing, I have been offered a wonderful opportunity for growth and am almost paralyzed with fear.To accept I must submit my work for honest(often too honest) criticism.It’s a once in a life time opportunity yet I am fighting against myself to do it! I am still hiding from it but must act soon or I will loose this chance.

    • I hope you go for it!! I think living with regret is much worse than living with fear. In the end, fear is not real, it’s a product of thoughts you create. Good luck Lee :) xx

  • Zara

    I started writing a travel blog purely for the joy of writing. I decided to share it on my Instagram feed and Facebook feed but I was sooo scared that my friends/acquaintances would criticise me and my blog or make fun of me. It took me a couple of months to decide to share it on my social media to show my friends what I was writing about. Since then, I have had nothing but positive feedback from friends and acquaintances alike saying they love the blog and how they are hooked reading it!! Just shows, you have to put yourself out there to be noticed and quite often, your worst fears (i.e. being mocked) never actually happen anyway!

  • I’m late to the party, but this was such an inspiring post. I had a very similar experience I wrote about my blog. This touched me so much, I quoted you. Thanks as always for sharing your life. I’m glad you overcame your fears and found your voice. ♥

    Gia
    http://www.TheBlossomProject.io