Every week, Flash Pack operations director and resident columnist Jenni Shaw discusses a different aspect of her life as a 30-something adventurer. This week: finding confidence.
There seems to be a common theme amongst my musings that reaching 30 opens the door to some sort of nirvana and everything falls beautifully in to place. On the face of it, this is indeed what seems to happen but I wanted to dig a bit deeper in to the hows and whys of this phenomenon.
I had a long, hard think about it and brought it up at many a brunch with my similar-aged friends. The one thing that seemed to shine through was the fact that we all feel a much stronger sense of self-assurance and confidence than we perhaps did in our teens and 20s. I think that the feeling is an absolute gift.
It is something that opens so many doors, and allows you to make decisions that are often based around wider and more positive goals. There is a distinct sense of relief with letting go of the worry about what others will think or the fear of being judged for our choices.
We live in a world which is breaking so many people.
I often wonder if the fact that more and more people seem to be in therapy is indicative of the widespread encouragement to talk more about our feelings and mental health (and this has, in fact, always been the truth, hidden by the taboo) OR is there is a genuine increase in people needing additional support? Is it a symptom of our over-stimulated brains in this crazy, technology and social media-driven world?
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This situation has led to a big movement in ‘self care’ and looking after one’s self, something which is so important to maintain happiness, relationships, and the ability to support others when needed.
I have been lucky enough to live a pretty rose-tinted life up until now, putting me in the minority but every life includes some small challenges along the way.
These life experiences shape who we grow up to be but also, give us a wider appreciation for the need to look after ourselves and the preciousness of health, life and happiness. I think it is this that makes us take a step back and re-assess.
Most of us are probably doing things pretty well, we have a job that we know how to do – maybe we even excel at it! We live a life that we enjoy, whether that means early morning park running, weekend lie-ins or cheeky cocktails on a week night, and we have successful relationships; friends, family, significant others all included 🙂 .
Whilst this may well have been the case for most of our lives, for me at least, there has always been a slight reluctance to accept and own any success, always defaulting to making some sort of excuse, or attributing it to someone else.
With age, I have realised that there is nothing wrong with admitting that you are doing something well and this feeds in to that quiet sense of self-assurance and confidence.
Whilst arrogance must be one of the worst features a person can display, there is a big gap between confidence and arrogance, something which can take a while to realise.
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So how does this newly acquired self-confidence feed into us making good choices ? It’s like anything in that it actually requires a bit of practice. The first time you make a decision based on your own thoughts and feelings without worrying about judgement or irrational repercussions, can be scary BUT, if it goes well, that only feeds in to your confidence.
Think of it as a basket; every time you push yourself out of your comfort zone with success, you are adding more to that basket of self-assurance. So it’s only a matter of time before you have a pretty full basket and find yourself making choices and decisions on a daily basis without a second thought as to the opinion of others.
As with anything, this is not a) linear and b) without its failures along the way. There is, of course, always the chance that a choice you make goes a bit wrong, and you feel like you’ve lost a slither of your self-assurance.
This is fine and completely to be expected.
The best thing to do in this situation is to reflect and learn from your experience – nothing in this world is straightforward and even the most negative of experiences can come with something positive. In fact, most life lessons are born out of mistakes.
Images: Flash Pack, Shutterstock
Three great places to discover in your 30s and 40s
Glamp in the Sahara with a sunset camel ride, wild swim the waterfalls of Akchour and embrace the flavours of Marrakech with a backstreet food safari: not to mention the dazzling Blue City of Chefchaouen.
Colours of Colombia
Toast a new dawn in Colombia with cycling and street art in Bogotá, rum and salsa in Cartagena, and a trek through the rainforest and beaches of Tayrona National Park. Oh, and we zip between Rosario Islands by private speed boat, too.