How to be confident, courageous and entirely yourself: The Scott Flashheart way (although mostly I stole it from Samantha on Sex & The City). Recorded on a building site, apparently.
I did a Q&A episode recently, and one of the questions that came up a lot, I think three or four times, was “Wanna swap dick pics?”.
Another question that came up almost as much was “How do you have so much confidence?” or variations on that, and the quick way to answer that is to not care what other people think. But I thought you’d like a longer explanation than that, because that’s easy to say but not so much in practise.
So, to recap: I don’t give a fuck. Well, the actual sex-based ones I do, obviously. Often with considerable vigour. But the ‘caring about what other people think’ kind, not so much.
I can’t remember when it really dawned on me, but life so far has shown me that the less you care what other people think, the happier you are. There’s a great poem about a woman who says when she grows old, she’ll wear purple and eat whatever the fuck she wants, and do as she pleases instead of how people think she should. It’s a great poem, but I read it and was like “Why wait?”.
Of course, there’s a little more to it than that - the other essential ingredient in this is to love yourself. And if any of you just rolled your eyes and thought Yeah, we know. You love yourself two or three times a day. It’s all you talk about. First off, fuck you. I also talk about Sci Fi, and Netflix and... cake. And… shut up. Anyway. I’m not talking about wanking. For a change. Murhur.
I’m talking about actually caring for and valuing yourself as a person. And you might be saying “Yeah? So? Everyone does.” Buuut do they? Really? Think about why people drink too much, or eat too much or do lots of drugs, or go home with a different person every night, or get into relationships with person after inappropriate person - it’s because they’re trying to fill a hole inside themselves with cake, or booze, or dick.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with those things - I love cake and booze and dick, Christ yes - what I’m saying is there’s a difference between having those things in your life, and your mouth, because you’re choosing to enjoy them, and because you’re miserable and they let you stop feeling awful about yourself for a while.
Y’see, from a young age, we’re conditioned to look for value and validation outside of ourselves - If I buy this car, then people will know I’m rich and successful, and that’ll make me feel rich and successful; That guy is really hot - if he wants to shag me, then I must be hot too; if I have a boyfriend, then they must love me, and that’s what life is all about, right? Being loved by someone else?
Well, no. It’s nice, obviously, but it’s not good to base your worth as a person on someone else. Because it doesn’t matter what other people think.
Other people are dicks. Fuck ‘em. Learn to love yourself, unconditionally, just as you are and none of that stuff really matters anymore.
Ah, well, that’s easy for you to say, you’re gorgeous and successful and witty, and you were brought up on a mountain top by some hippy Jedi types who taught you all about this stuff and that’s just not true. There are no mountains in Doncaster.
Also, it wasn’t easy; it’s still not. But by god, is it worth it. Think of all the effort we put into changing ourselves so other people will like us: The clothes, expensive haircuts, gyms, dieting, getting drunk so people will find you ‘fun’, the car, the house, the huge salary...
If you change that round, and start putting that effort into liking yourself, just as you are, not “If only I were skinny”, or “Yeah, but if I had better tits, or my dick was bigger, or my teeth were straighter and on and on…” not like that. Just as you are. It’s incredibly freeing.
Like I say, it’s not easy. It takes time. And it’s not a one-time thing. It’s not like you flick a switch and suddenly BAM, you love yourself, exactly as you are. It’s little bits, every day.
Like, I’ll look in the mirror at my naked body and the thoughts always start “Ugh… Look at that podge. That belly and the muffin tops, and your posture and this and that and the other thing” and the key is to hear those thoughts for what they are, and just say “Shush you. I’m amazing.” and start thinking about the things that you do like. It takes time. So much time. There will be a while where it doesn’t seem to be making any difference, and then slowly, you’ll be able to hear those thoughts starting to say the negative things, and you can go “Shush, you! I’m amazing” pretty much straight away.
I find it helps to say things like “I’m amazing” as often as I can, just to help remind myself. Someone will say “Thanks, Scott! Where did you find the extra biscuits?” No worries! I’m amazing or “Oh my god, you saved my children!” Don’t worry about it - I’m amazing or “Oh my god, you killed my children!” ooops! My bad! Still amazing though!
You might think that this makes me sound like a really conceited tosspot, but to whom? To myself? Nah. I don’t think I’m a tosspot. Well, not much. I’m amazing. Might it make other people think that? Maybe, but other peoples’ opinions of me are their business, not mine.
And you might think “well, that’s all fine, but caring what other people think makes life easier” and you’re right, superficially, at least. If you spend your time pleasing other people at the expense of yourself, then yeah, you won’t ruffle any feathers, but you’ll run yourself ragged and you won’t be living any kind of best life for yourself. I’m not saying be a dick to everyone, just make sure that you’re not being a dick to yourself. (Rule 1, remember?)
And you will encounter resistance. Not everyone will go “Hey, that guy is just doing his own thing. I respect that.” A lot of them won’t like that you don’t care what they think. Because in their little world, they think they matter. Bless’em.
For example, a few weeks ago, some guy popped up on Grindr, out of nowhere, and his first message was something like “Hey, you’re cute, but your hair really lets you down. I’d totally go for a drink with you if you cut it”. Would you go Oh god, really? Thanks for letting me know! And run straight to the nearest barber? Or would you do what I did, which was to say Thanks for the input, random stranger, but since nobody asked you, you can go get blocked. Off you fuck! Go on!
And I admit it’s a little harder to tell that cowbag Lisa in accounts to fuck off when she says something bitchy about you in front of her mates in the office, for example. Just making up a random scenario right there. Anyway. Yes, it’s harder to deal with that, because she’s a massive bitch and it was in front of people you work with, but people like that generally tear other people down to feel better about themselves, in the same way cake or cock might. And y’know, we don’t need to be a part of that any more, because we love ourselves enough to not let it bother us. And, again, her opinion is immaterial. Besides which, she’s a right cow and everyone knows it.It might start to sound repetitive, but that’s how our brains learn. It’s like riding a bike - it takes a little while to get the hang of it, and there’s often little wobbles along the way.
Remember that scene in Sex and The City, where Samantha breaks up with Smith, because she loves him, but she loves herself more? I cried. She’s been a role model in my life probably a lot more than I like to admit. Anyway.
The point that I’m making is that making other people like you feels great on the surface, but if you don’t like yourself, it’s pointless. Because sooner or later those other people are going to go away, or change their mind or whatever, and then you’re back where you started. Whereas, if you love yourself unconditionally, then everyone else liking or disliking you is secondary. Your relationship with yourself is the most important thing; It’s the only one that’s guaranteed to last your entire life.
So yeah, get to know yourself, as you are, not as you want to be, not as you wish you were, but as you are right now. Find out what you like, what you want to do, and not what you think you should like and do because other people like and do it.
I use to go out to clubs with people I thought were my mates for years. I never enjoyed it that much, I spent too much and I’d ruin myself with hangovers, but told myself it was worth it, because at least I got to hang out with people I liked. Until I realised that they didn’t care if I were there or not, and that I couldn’t really say why I liked them, or what it was I got from seeing them… So I stopped. I did wwhat I wanted to do instead. So when I would see posts on Facebook saying “Pre-drinks before the club with all my besites” or whatever, instead of feeling like I had to join in to be in that ‘besties’ group and feel validated, I did what I wanted to do, and felt validated for that instead. Especially when what I wanted to do was sit in my pants watching Murder, She Wrote.
So, yeah. I love myself enough to do what I want to do, and I don’t care what other people think.
That’s how I have the confidence and courage to be myself; it’s because it’s what makes me happy, and life is far too short to not be happy. Especially if you’re anywhere near Jessica Fletcher.