The Fear of ‘Putting Yourself Out There’

IMG02810

pindrop
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.

P7032518

IMG_766323

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.

P7032369

P7032334

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.

P7032496

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

P70323452

P7032488

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.

fear1

P7032328
P7032349
P7032515

Shop the post

P7032513
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!