I have debated with myself for weeks as to whether or not I would do this series of blog posts. What is this series? I’m calling this series the Expedition to Happiness: an expedition to discovering true happiness and self-identity.

In the summer of 2019, I came to the realization that I was not as confident in myself as I had previously thought. Up until this point, I thought because I didn’t care about other people’s opinion about me, I was the epitome of confidence (I was to an extent). I realized that contrary to what I thought about confidence, confidence is not a one-level thing. In fact, confidence is built in two levels: outward and inward.

Outward confidence is what I exemplified the most. This is the level of confidence that made me not give a care about what other people thought of me. This level confidence persuaded me to not change anything about my appearance or personality because that’s what everyone else wanted me to do. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good thing to have a high level of outward confidence. However, I had so much of this outward confidence that I didn’t change things about myself because it’s what I wanted to do. So in my efforts to not to be crippled by the opinions of others, I was still crippled by the opinions of others. I greatly lacked the inward confidence that I needed.

Inward confidence is the confidence that gives you the fuel to fire your passions and to do everything that you want to do for yourself. After realizing that confidence is two-level thing and that outward confidence is actually the overflow of your inward confidence, I can’t seem to wrap my mind around the fact of how I had so much outward confidence but lacked the inward confidence. How do you know if you lack inward confidence? Here’s how… when someone tells you that you are good at something, do you believe them? When you see a picture or video of yourself, or when hear your own voice being played back, do you look past yourself or revolt with a little disgust?

I do. In fact, these are the two areas of questions that play a major role in my realization. I have always loved singing. I remember around the time I was in elementary school. There was one night I was sitting in my mother’s bed watching American Idol; I remember telling my mother that one day I would be the winner of American Idol, apparently that day never came. I don’t know what happened but something made me loose that zeal of fully pursuing my talents. It wasn’t until I got into high school that I began singing in front a crowd in choirs. Even then I had no intention of joining the high school choir. I had just gotten to high school as a freshman and for certain reasons I could no longer participate in the band for a while, so in an attempt to keep me involved in the school and music program, my principal thought it would be good for me to join the choir. I wish I could tell you the entire story, but I will keep it a short story. One day halfway through the semester the principal calls me into his office along with the choir director and they asked me if I would like to join the advanced choir. By normal circumstances, I should not have been able to just jump into the choir halfway through the semester but I did. Somehow I ended up liking being in the choir, I liked it so much that I stayed in it for my entire high school career and joined some of the other school choirs. Fast forward to freshman year of college. I’m living in a new city, so I found a new church home – James River Church. After a few months of being there, I decide that I wanted to volunteer in the church, so I go through GrowTrack (a small class that you have to go through to become a volunteer). It’s the fourth and final week for me and it’s time for me to decide what dream team I want to serve on so they can tell us more about that dream team. I ended up being on the worship team, but once again that was not my intention. I initially chose to serve on the photography dream team, but they said that you needed your own equipment which I did not have. In my quick haste to switch teams without being noticed, I decided to just slide into the group right next to me which ended up being the worship team. I thought I would jump in for that day and change to another team later, but I never did change teams. When they sent out signups for audition times, I thought to myself, “What’s the worse thing that could happen if I at least audition?” With this thought in mind, I decided to audition but I never thought that I would actually make the team. Once again, when I thought I shouldn’t be able to join, God said, “I would join” because I made the team. Even though it was never my intention to actually make it past the audition process, I have been on the worship team for a little over a year now, and I love it.

I tell you both of these stories to to tell you this… I didn’t think that I should’ve been in the choir or on the worship team. The four years I was in the high school choirs, people told me that I had a great singing voice. I didn’t believe them. After my audition for the James River worship team, they told me that I had a great voice. I didn’t believe them. Even now as I’m on the worship team, people tell me all the time that I have a great voice. I don’t believe them, but I guess God has something bigger planned.

Let’s take it back to the summer of 2019. A new app called Tik Tok started to become very popular, so I had to jump on the bandwagon and download it. Some people might say that I put too much value on Tik Tok, but that’s because Tik Tok has been revolutionary for me. It’s because of Tik Tok that I have started this journey. If you don’t know what Tik Tok is, Tik Tok is an app (kind of like Vine) where you make videos but you don’t have to use your own audio. I would make Tik Toks using a sound I found, but I wouldn’t watch them because I didn’t like how I looked in them. I would also make videos using my own voice, but I wouldn’t watch them because I didn’t like how my voice sounded. I often asked myself the question, “how can I not like how my voice sounds and I have my own podcast?”

For those of you who know about my podcast Digging Deep (if you don’t know, you can listen here), other than one time, I have never listened my own podcast. The only time that I have listened to my podcast was in the summer of 2019 and it was not on my own volition. I was in the car on a weekend vacation with three of my friends and they wanted to listen it; I begged them not to play it but they played it anyway. Why haven’t I listened to my own podcast? Because I don’t like how my voice sounds.

So here I am today, beginning an Expedition to Happiness: an expedition to discovering true happiness and self-identity. As I think about the stark difference of outward confidence and inward confidence, I still can’t comprehend how I have so much outward confidence but lack so much inward confidence. But one thing is clear… it is because I tried so hard not to change into what other people wanted me to change into, that I forgot to ask myself what I wanted to change about myself. This is why I’m starting this expedition.

I have no idea what this expedition holds, but it is rumored that there is this island called True Happiness. Its waters flow with self-love. Its fruits give nourishment to grow in self-identity. The plants give off an aroma of sweet confidence and are tasteful in a healthy balance of self-esteem. I don’t know how frequently I will be able to write to you about my expedition, but I do hope that you will join me on the S.S. Happiness as I begin the Expedition to Happiness: an expedition to discovering true happiness and self-identity.

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