Comparing Yourself to Others: My First Generation Experience
I recently started my coaching program virtually where I met several of other like minded individuals pursuing the dream of coaching. I have to admit, I was a little nervous because I thought I wouldn't have anything in common with anyone. It reminded me of when I first left "the hood". Growing up in South L.A, the neighborhood was mostly made up of Hispanic or Latino, and African American families. When I left and started college, I experienced culture shock with seeing diverse groups of individuals with different backgrounds than me. This led me to begin comparing myself to others and just feeling really subconscious around other people.
Something that people probably don't know about me is that growing up I wasn't like the super popular girl but I did have a lot of friends. I always had a best friend or two and I had different groups of friends at school. I always had people I could call on for support. I may have even been a bully to a boy or two once or twice. I was even involved in school events and class Vice President for a while. My point is that I was just comfortable in my skin. So when I first started college, I felt like I didn't belong. I was afraid to speak up in class because I felt like I wasn't as smart. It was the first time that I had been out of the "hood" which felt like a whole new world to me. Honestly, my mom didn't ever take us anywhere so my whole life up to that point happened within South Central L.A. This really caused me shut myself out because I didn't feel that other people would understand me or connect with me.
It wasn't until I transferred from my community college to Cal Poly Pomona for my Bachelors that I decided to open up a little. I used this transition as a fresh start. Thankfully I was able to connect to a Latina based sorority where I felt I fit in. I also joined the Sociology club, peer mentor program, and extra activities. I started meeting other Hispanic Latino individuals who I felt I could connect with. By the time I transferred to USC for my masters, I had a hard time adjusting because Cal Poly felt like a home for me.
I share this because there is so much power in connection. Especially as a first generation Latina college student. Its so easy to feel out of place, like you're not as smart as others, and overall insecure. I also don't have any family so I literally had nobody helping or guiding me throughout this whole process. Through connecting with others I was able to realize that I was just as capable and built up my confidence.
So back to my coaching program story. I was feeling so nervous again like I wasn't going to have anything in common with anyone. I felt like what the heck was I getting myself into. Going into it I thought people would think my life was a mess. The truth is we all have a past and nobody is as put together as we may think. We all started sharing our stories of why we are pursuing a field of helping others and our fears. I shared my experience of divorce and how this jump started my self discovery/healing journey. I shared my fears of being vulnerable and sharing my personal story. When I heard others regardless of background share their stories of divorce and their fears, I realized that we have more in common with other people than we think. We all experience life differently but we are connected through our core emotions. Parts of our stories can even be similar. In this situation, divorce. That was a reality check for me and just completely calmed me. We also have our passion of helping others in common. Something else that has also helped me calm down in these situations is remembering that people don't know what you don't know. Sometimes our anxiety gets to us where we feel like other people may be judging us but in reality they are most likely not and are feeling anxious themselves.
Am I the only one who has experienced this? Let me know if you have. Side note: Im super excited for the coaching journey to come and will be taking you along for the ride.