Having Confidence to Do Things

I’m weird about confidence. I think I am painfully self-aware, but at the same time I don’t usually even care about looking presentable. Jeans, tshirt, ponytail, and I’m good to go. Today is the first time in a month that I’ve worn makeup.

So I guess you might say I’m a pretty confident person. That, or I don’t care what other people think. Maybe a little of both. I think part of confidence is not caring what people think and part of it is all about caring what people think.

Sometimes I care and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I’ll go out in sweats and wish I could disappear. Sometimes I’ll go out in sweats and completely forget that I might be wearing anything worthy of judgment. Not like I judge people who wear sweats. I couldn’t care less. But sometimes when I wear them, I feel sloppy and like I have dressed sub-par. Whatever.

I have always liked strength training and I used to train with machines and light dumbbells (nothing over 12.5lb) a few times a week, but around the end of last year I started getting interested in doing more free-weight training (dumbbells and barbells) and lifting heavier. I wanted to start so badly, but I was afraid to walk into the free-weight room at my gym.

The weight room with the machines was no big deal. There are girls in there all the time. No problem just walking in. The free-weight room, however… I guess it took me a couple months to get my butt in there.

The weight room at my gym is like the Guy Zone. Occasionally I’ll see another girl there, but usually it’s just males males males. I was terrified of walking in and being judged. I was scared to feel embarrassed and to feel like people were looking at me, even though in reality everyone is so focused on their own workouts at the gym that no one really even knows what the people around them are doing.

The weight room at my gym is divided into two sections: a smaller room with racks of dumbbells, some benches, and an EZ bar rack; and a bigger room with everything else (a squat rack, power cages, Smith machine, you name it). The first time I got up the courage, I entered the dumbbell room. I had been lying awake the night before too distracted to fall asleep because I was dreaming up a workout surrounding dumbbell bench press. I was so excited. I was finally excited enough that I was willing to face my fear.

I went in the room, but all the benches were taken and I didn’t know anything about Waiting for a Bench Etiquette (hint: there is none, just stand and wait or come back later), so I walked out with a pair of 15s and did my very first bench press lying on a stability ball in the exercise room across the hall.

The crowdedness made me scared to go back, so the next time I wanted to use the room, I brought a friend with me. A friend who knew less than me about the gym. So I had to take charge and be the one who knew her way around the place. I think being put in that role really helped me, because ever since then I have completely had the confidence to stroll into that weight room (yes, even the big one) and knock out my sets like a motherfucking boss.

Face your fears, ladies and gents. Because they’re probably irrational. And you’ll probably net some more confidence in the process. Go for it.

11 Comments on “Having Confidence to Do Things”

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  1. Stephanie says:

    I’ve been in the weight room at my school a few times, and the only reason I don’t go anymore is because my boyfriend has a pair of adjustable-weight dumbbells. There aren’t that many girls there, but the guys who go there regularly actually don’t care who else is in the gym. Weight-lifting is great for everyone, even though it’s considered a “guy thing”, and the guys who go there regularly know this and are happy to see girls who start lifting seriously!

    To me, confidence is doing whatever you like without letting fear stop you. After all, the people on the street who judge you aren’t actually going to do anything beyond judging you in their heads!

  2. John Michael Reed says:

    Rachel your site is so cool!!! Hope you’ll get MRun web developer!

  3. Sage says:

    I am so self conscious of the men where the weights are, I take the weights I want and disappear in the back room hahaha. And then put the weights back when I am finished and disappear again. I have been there 5 years and it STILL gives me the willies. My personal trainer said to me she is unsure why I am like that because the guys actually watch what I do and have this look on their faces thinking i am too small to lift that much! THAT is the reason, I hate being stared at! BY anyone and I HATE mirrors …

    But kudos to you for facing your fear. Maybe I will do the same :D

  4. Carrie says:

    I wish I had your confidence, please lend me some? I’m horrible with being confident in myself. I have very bad self esteem so that may be it as well. I always wonder what people are thinking of me? Are they chatting about me? Did I hear “I’m fat”, etc. It’s very annoying. :( I wish people weren’t so judgmental, that would help a lot.

  5. Vivian says:

    I can definitely relate with your “self-aware” situation. There are times when I could care less whether people are staring at me or not… other times, I feel almost guilty for looking like a slob or going out in a non-coordinated outfit. Most of the time people probably don’t even care, but I have a heightened sense of self-awareness that makes me uneasy. I still haven’t figured out how to overcome it, but I do notice that when I’m in a position to take charge, I definitely have more confidence and extroversion than when I’m alone.

    Congrats on coming up with a strategy to tame the weight room fears! :D

  6. Cat says:

    I’m the same way about how I look, haha. Because our developers dress very casually, I don’t bother with make-up and just put on T-shirt and jeans. Sometimes being by the sales/marketing girls, who dress nicely, make me second guess what I’m wearing though.

    Congrats on overcoming your fear on going to the weights room! That’s great that you have the confidence to go in there now :) I have to admit I was kind of afraid to go to the gym, but I have equipment at home now, which is pretty convenient.

  7. Silver says:

    I can totally relate to your post. It’s hard to explain or describe the situation we’re in. Some days I love to dress up and some days I think not wearing make up is fine (because I’m lazy and/or confident with how I look without it). Cheers in finding a solution and way to brave through your fears Rachel! I really enjoyed this post. :)

  8. I’m not a very confident person. I wish I could be like you.

  9. I am not a confident person, if you ask me. Put on a paper bag on my head and I’ll be very confident enough to do my stuff. -_-

    High School is a very traumatic experience for me. I know in myself that I have skills of computer, arts, and literature. But I never had the guts to express it. It was a compromising thing for me. Like I would have to go through a process in my head to know what I should do. I cry about it sometimes.

    I then realized that who the hell cares? It’s my life. Why should I let others define it? Confidence is defining yourself. You may be doubtful at first–it’s normal, but make sure that as time goes by, you grow bit by bit.

    Congrats to us both for conquering our fears! ;D

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