You Have to Earn The Right To Feel Good About Yourself

I feel a lot of guilt, sadness, regret and anger. Much of it is related to the past. It’s not constant. It comes in waves, but it hits hard.

Once you learn to accept that the past is the past and that it can’t be changed, you set a precedent to move forward with your life.

But, no matter what, I’ve learned from one of my role models — Andy Frisella — that you have to earn the right to feel good about yourself.


Some people might disagree with that and spew insipid platitudes like, “happiness is a choice regardless of your situation!” but the truth is, happiness is a choice… yes… but “regardless of your situation”? No. While I believe in making the best of every situation and using it as an opportunity, if you are poor, struggling to scrape by in life and hardly able to live paycheck to paycheck, you might be able to take solace in that you have your physical health and are still able to live your life, counting your true blessings, but I highly doubt you are happy, or at least as happy as you could be.

I don’t remember if I wrote it here or elsewhere, but I also believe that action cures fear.

In the way you earn the right to feel good about yourself, you do so by taking action and doing something that yields that result.

2010-2013 were blunders in my life. Those were four wasted years where I did not advance in my life. I did have some good moments in 2010 and on a lesser scale in 2011, but I accomplished nothing in regards to building a better and brighter future for myself. I spent much of my time bitching, moaning, groaning and crying (to myself only) about missing my ex, who was a crazy, dirty, lying, cheating, childish human being, and doing nothing about it.

I could have made myself busy. I could have strode to keep myself busy by working out more and reading, but no. I spent a lot of lonely nights jacking off to erotica on Lush Stories, intermittently playing video games, reading inane bullshit on the internet and doing nothing to ‘level up’ in life.

In 2014, I went back to college. It was at a community college, but still, it’s college. It was a huge milestone for me. Right off the bat, I took public speaking despite hardly being around a whole lot of people for a few years. I knew I had to make this choice in order to grow. It’s funny how one of the girls in that class remarked near the end of the semester that I was “so calm and collected” even though I was nervous as fuck. I always went first in class, because my theory always is, in public speaking, people are too busy  worrying about their upcoming speech to truly pay a whole lot of attention to yours, and besides, even if they do key in on you, they’ll forget about you soon enough!

I felt great. I was building confidence.

I continued another school year in 2015-2016. I took a shitty chemistry class, and I hated my lab teacher. I also made a great friend, at least for that time period, named Dillon. If that was the 2009-2013 version of me, I would have quit going to school just like I did when I first tried college in the fall of 2009.

This past year, I completed my final year at the community college. I think I would have finished up in 2015-2016 had I not been forced to take developmental math for a few semesters. I took a year of math this past school year and made an A last fall and a B this past spring semester. I’ve been accepted to a university this fall as a junior. I’m mostly taking online classes, but I will be taking a night class at the same community college for five weeks through the university.

I’ve built confidence and, in many ways, I feel great about myself.

But you can’t just do the right thing a few times and expect it to last… you have to keep the momentum going by continuously doing what you need to do. Don’t feel like working out? Do it, anyway. Don’t feel like studying? Do it, anyway. Don’t feel like writing that paper? Do it now! Do it, anyway!

Because when you are done, you will feel a whole lot better about yourself than you will if you procrastinate and watch shitty YouTube videos instead.

I heard somebody say, elsewhere, I think on Reddit, that you “should find enjoyment in everything, even if you dislike it”… BULLSHIT. That is nice, in theory, but truthfully, some things just suck! And no matter what, through whatever positive thinking channel your mind goes through, you will never enjoy it, and sometimes it’s best to put your head down and grind through it. Once you start something, sometimes you realize it’s not as bad as you conceive it to be.

If I work out every single day for 90 days, I will feel better about myself than what I would if I kept procrastinating.

By doing so, you earn the right to feel good about yourself.

I struggle almost daily to stay on track.

It’s fucking hard. But that’s OK. Because nothing worth doing or accomplishing in life comes easy!

Sometimes I procrastinate. Not as much as I used to, but I’m still working on it. It happens. No excuses. It’s easy to be suckered into doing things that are not apropos to what you should be doing.

But man, when you get into that flow of doing the thing you need to be doing, accomplishing tasks that need to be done, and you complete them, it feels good. It’s liberating.

You have to earn the right to feel good about yourself. I think that is an undisputed truth. I appreciate Andy Frisella for talking about this on one of his podcasts. If you don’t know who he is, Google him and thank me later.

I’m sure there are antagonists out there who exist that will be antagonists of this mentality, but that’s their thought process and not mine.

I didn’t start feeling better about myself until I started doing shit that made me feel uncomfortable, stepping out of my comfort zone and attempting to achieve a modicum of success.

If I kept sitting in my bedroom, on my computer, jerking off to sluts on Tumblr and not doing anything, no matter how badly I want to feel great about myself, I’d still — deep down — always feel depressed and awful about myself.

Whenever you go out and do something that you feel needs to be done in regards to accomplishing your tasks and goals, you feel good. I believe that’s an undisputed truth as well. But you have to do it day in and day out and build that perpetual momentum to consistently feel good about yourself.

No, not every day will you feel like a million bucks. This is life and we are all human beings, prone to difficult days, but you can’t have sunshine without a little rain.

Keep grinding, keep hustling, do what you need to do. Embrace the suck. Consume some caffeine (or not) and bulldoze ahead. I believe in you. If I can go through hell, you can, too.

Fear is a Double Edged Sword: Drive or Die

I was with my ex-girlfriend Bekki in the fall of 2009 when I was a student at a local community college. I was 18-years-old, didn’t manage my priorities correctly and ultimately finished the semester with a 1.9 GPA, only completing one of my five classes (while not properly dropping the other four and receiving F’s). The one class I completed was an 8am Tuesday/Thursday English class, the only time of the day I felt like I could relax, because my relationship with Bekki was a colossal shitbag disaster. Yeah, that one class I completed, I only made a C in there when I should have made an A, but my dumb ass didn’t turn in the final term paper and I half-assed the final exam.

After a five year hiatus away from college, I returned to that same local community college in 2014. Now, in 2017, I’ve managed to take that 1.9 GPA and raise it to a 3.3/borderline 3.4. Redemption has been mine, but damn, it was a long, painful journey!

In a nutshell, I’ll tell you what happened in the fall of 2009: I was an in-love 18-year-old dating an immature girl that was still in high school. I prioritized that relationship over my personal goals and mental health. I got myself so wrapped up in making sure she was happy, I lost sight of what was going on in my life. I didn’t consider the consequences of my choices at that community college at the time.

You can read about my experience with Bekki in another post. I linked to it in the first line of this post.

2010-2013 were the biggest wastes of time in my life. Especially 2012 and 2013. I did not accomplish a single thing in those years.

I was handicapped by fear. I knew I had to return to college and make things right. But how? But when? I’d say “now“, every time, but I was so scared. I remember, back in April or May 2013, it was a late night, and I had my TV set to TNT. I was watching the NBA playoffs featuring the Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies. I loaded up my local community college’s website. I was so nervous… I had to go use the bathroom, so I did, and when I came back I closed the page, closed my laptop and ate six Snickers ice cream bars instead. Complete and total avoidance.

On June 1, 2013 I walked to the top of a pretty big mountain at a park here, alone, and I talked to myself out loud. “I will give my self one year. One year. One year to get my shit together and go back to [my local community college]. It’s now or never.”

I’m not so sure I got my shit together in 2014, but I signed up for classes about two weeks before they began in August 2014, and here I am.

Fear is a bitch. Fear is a friend. Fear is a two-faced motherfucker. I mean what I wrote in the title of this post. It is absolutely a double edged sword that can either drive you to do great things or paralyze you with complete and utter inactivity. I’ve been on both sides.

I knew I had to return to college in 2014. I had to make things right. I wanted to, deep down, but I was so goddamn against wanting to be around new people. Specifically, younger students. Nowadays, I don’t care about that, but back then, I didn’t want to be judged for being an older guy, even though I was only 23 in 2014. It’s funny, thinking back, about how silly that insecurity was.

I used Nike’s “Just do it” slogan to fuel me, I reckon. Also a dash of, “What’s the worst that can happen?” in my mindset. “You fail? Fuck it; everybody fails”. Everybody makes fools of themselves. Everybody is a error-makin’, failure-havin’ human being.

When I signed up for classes, I decided to go ahead and do public speaking. Get it out of the way. I’ve always had a narcissistic enjoyment for my voice. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a sportswriter and a sports broadcaster. In 11th grade, my sports marketing teacher — she was a babe — told me I had a hypnotizing sportscaster voice. That got to my head. I knew that deciding to get public speaking out of the way would push me out of my comfort zone. I was hardly around unfamiliar people in 2010-2013, so putting myself out there and doing public speaking after barely being around anybody was a fucking huge, but fucking awesome, challenge.

The best part about it, and I’ll never forget this because it makes me smirk, is that the two girls I sat next to — Alexis and Whitley — told me that I was just so calm and that envied that about me, when it came to speeches in class. I always volunteered to go first whenever we had our speaking days. Because, my theory was always, if you go first, nobody is really going to pay attention to what you are saying, because they are going to be too worried and anxiety-riddled about their own speeches. I never understood the people who tried to stave off doing it! You have to do it, anyway, so why not get it over with so you can relax!? I’ll never forget — right before Thanksgiving break in 2014, we had a speaking day, and a few people didn’t want to get their speech over with, so our instructor said they’d have to do it after our holiday break was over with. Are you fucking kidding me? You’d rather stew over it during your entire break rather than get it out of the way?!

Most of the students in there were second year students that were just about ready to graduate; they had put that class off until the last minute.

Anyway, the “calm” comments they made about me? Yeah, inside, my heart was pounding, but despite my heart pounding with anxiety, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could do it. I guess that’s why I appeared calm. It was nerve racking, but I knew had the ability to stand in front of a group and talk.

Fear paralyzed me in 2010-2013 when I’d spend all day crying/stewing over Bekki or otherwise wasting my time in other useless endeavors.

Fear drove me to return to my local community college in 2014.

I have a lot to do and a lot to work on. But when you are faced with fear, you have a choice to either do nothing or to take action. If you take action, typically you’ll face your fear and figure out if it’s just a phony — and 99.9% of the time it is. When you doing, you never find out and you only stay in one place, never moving or growing or evolving.

Life without pain is a life without challenge and a life without challenge is a life without growth.