It’s a large claim to make, but it’s true. One of the best acts I ever did for my confidence and self-esteem was to start this blog. Let me set it up for you: I’m not a very confident person. At all. And. . . I don’t always have the best self-esteem, and for me, the two are definitely related. This was a side-effect of blogging that I didn’t see coming, but I’m SO, SO glad it did. I’ve been blogging for about 8 months now, and it really HAS given me more confidence than pretty much any other 8 month span in my life(except one, but those were unique circumstances).
How has blogging helped my self-esteem, you might ask?
1. It’s help my confidence in certain skills & learn what I’m good at doing.
I’m not the best book reviewer in the world. I know that. BUT I’m pretty proud of how far I’ve come. I’ve also learned that my strength lies more in writing discussion post & features, and I’m okay with that. Blogging has helped shown me I CAN be creative. I like to say I’m creative, but I’m not always sure I can back that up. Now I can! I’m not naive enough to think every post I’ve written knocks it out of the part, but there are some post & features I’m pretty proud of. I really like my “A Letter To” feature, and my discussion about romance, YA, and growing up. These are things I’ve written & accomplished, and I think it’s OKAY to like that.
2. It’s helped my confidence in what I like.
At heart, I am a people pleaser. I don’t want to say anything to make anyone feel uncomfortable. This means I’m constantly analyzing every bit of information I share, even when the question is just, “What kind of books or TV shows do you like?” Blogging has helped me realize that these “guilty pleasures” are silly. I’ll OWN what I enjoy, thank you very much. And furthermore, I’m not going to PRETEND to like what I don’t. There’s just not time for that when I could be reading or watching Doctor Who.
3. Similarly, it’s given me confidence in my hobbies.
This point is a bit different from the last–that one was more just about what I enjoyed, but this is about what I actively DO. Yes, I spend a LOT of my free time reading. And yes, I spend a lot of my free time writing about what I read. And YES, I think that’s awesome for me! This is my hobby, and it might not be the most normal hobby, but blogging and reading is what I’ll love and I don’t mind sharing that anymore. I don’t specifically bring up my blog in conversation, but I’ve mentioned it once or twice on Facebook and if a friend brings it up to me, it doesn’t even bother me even more(I use to feel a bit uncomfortable about it). You want to talk about my blog IRL? I’m not sure why, but I’m good with that! And yup, I love all those fantasy & sci-fi nerdy books. This is me, and for once, I’m FREE about it.
4. It’s given me OWNERSHIP.
I own this blog. It’s MINE. I paid for the hosting, the domain. I wrote the content. Sometimes I get jealous’ of other people’s blogs, don’t get me wrong. I sometimes wish I was good at graphics like they are or could write insightful reviews. But no matter what this blog is–creative, uncreative, well-written, poorly-written, etc, it’s MY thing. It’s something I developed naturally, on my own(I mean, lots of support from the book blogging community, but every decision has been mine to make). And I think that’s translated over into other areas of my life, as cliche as they might sound. So often, I read tweets that say something like, “It’s your blog! Blog what you want!” So true! It’s my blog AND it’s my life, and the decisions are mine to make.
5. Blogging has made me face my fears.
Um, interact with people I don’t know on twitter? LEAVE A COMMENT ON A BLOG POST? Are you crazy? I’m not a daredevil, here. These things once made me anxious just thinking about them(and trust me, I only wish I was exaggerating). NOW these things don’t bother me at all(I’ve even got the courage to @reply authors). And the feeling that these things don’t bother me anymore. . . it’s a bit EXHILARATING. Like, these fears might not seem like a big deal to people who are naturally outgoing, but I get really anxious in social settings, and interacting, especially online, is hard for me. It’s putting myself out there, just a little bit, and I’ll be honest: I’m afraid of rejection. To be able to converse with people and realize it doesn’t MATTER if they reject me or not is an awesome feeling, and I hope everyone who has the same anxiety as me can feel it.