It does it exactly what it says on the tin. If you’ve too much of it, it dents your reputation. Too little and it dents your opportunities.
It seems like you just can’t win. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Think for a moment where all your connotations, both negative and positive, about confidence come from?
Probably from a mixture of friends, family, television, social media. What all these things have in common is that they’re all factors of society. And guess what? So are we. Society is what influences us and we are a part of it. We are society, we have the power. We can make a change.
“Your one loves herself” .. “She only loves the sound of her own voice”. In recent months I have really began to ponder comments like these and question why is it that we take such a hatred to self love and confidence? But still I am left with nothing, I cannot seem to crack the anti-confidence code. I cannot speak for other countries but I feel for the Irish an anti-confidence attitude is just a given. It’s almost as if it’s born in our blood, we don’t even give it thought we just naturally reject confidence because well, thats just what we do. And I am no saint to this either, I too once was a confidence Nazi back before I discovered the enlightening process of thinking for myself rather than following the crowd. But regardless, I am guilty of uttering such things as “she’s so cocky” .. “He loves himself” and now looking back I have no idea what the basis for these comments were, I don’t even think I knew back then either, I just did it to do it.
Maybe it’s out of jealousy? Jealousy that someone else has a confidence that we don’t? But even jealousy doesn’t seem to fit right, because that implies we want the confidence they have which isn’t exactly true either. It’s more of a disgust, as if loving oneself is an outrage. Not disgust in a personal sense but more so as a default setting, we see confidence and automatically reject it without even stopping to consider what exactly it is we are hating on. A simple example we can all relate to is selfies. We all know someone fond of taking selfies and it’s no secret there are one too many selfie Nazis out there ready to shoot down anyone who shows the slightest bit of self love. A lot of the time the reason for this is quite simply narrow-mindedness. It’s like they have a list with only confidence on it, so once that’s ticked off, that’s it, they look no further. All they see is a selfie, they don’t stop to consider the person behind it because considering them wasn’t on their list. Stop yourself for a moment and think: what’s so bad about someone liking a picture of themselves? What’s wrong with someone being proud of their own body? What’s the matter with someone being confident in their own talents or looks?
I honestly can’t think of one thing wrong with any of the above and I think if people take the time to stop and think for themselves, they too will come to the same conclusion. Once you have the understanding that confidence is a good thing, the world becomes your oyster. You start to see people and things in a new and positive light. And more importantly you start to see YOURSELF in a new and positive light.
Let me make something very clear: Confidence is a skill, it’s not hereditary. A big misconception with confidence is that you either have it or you don’t. I can see why people think this, some people give the impression they came out the womb strutting their stuff shamelessly whereas others seem afraid of their own shadow. My whole life confidence has been a struggle for me. I have always shied away from myself and my own talents and looking back it’s hard to pinpoint a reason for this- It’s not like I have oppressive parents (my parents are so encouraging and supportive), I did all the cliche confidence boosting shit as a kid like drama and singing and so on- so then why didn’t I have confidence? If confidence is a skill then why didn’t I grasp it? I had all the right tools so why didn’t they work?
I had no self belief, that’s why.
If you tell yourself you can’t do something than chances are you won’t be able to. Think about it- if you’re in a race and before it starts you tell yourself you’re not gonna win then it’s unlikely you will run to your full potential because you have already told yourself you’re not good enough. In your mind you’ve already lost the race. Confidence in everyday life is no different to this- if you convince yourself you’re gonna get no likes on the selfie you took, before you even post it, then it’s unlikely it’ll make it to the gram. If you believe your voice isn’t good enough to be heard then it’s unlikely you’re gonna put yourself first in line for karaoke. Remember that every little thing has stemmed from the human mind- cars didn’t just appear out of thin air, someone thought of it. This counts for emotions too- yeah maybe you’re angry because your sister stole your clothes again (SO to Gracie) but it’s your brain that is processing that anger. Your mind is so powerful and the best part is it’s all yours. You can control what you think. Really, really think about this for a minute and let it soak in because it can apply to far more than just confidence. Whether it be that your angry or heartbroken or sad, you have the power to shift your thoughts. For me low self esteem was something I needed to kick out of it’s cosy little spot in my brain and replace with positive confidence thoughts.
I have always struggled with confidence issues. I know, especially for those who don’t know me personally, this may seem tough to get your head around. I know what you’re thinking “how could someone posting half naked pictures of themselves have no confidence?” .. “how can you have low self esteem putting your opinions out there to the public” .. These are all fair arguments and I see your point but you have to bear in mind how deceiving social media can be. A picture may speak a thousand words but at the end of the day, its a picture. You’re choosing what pictures you post, you’re choosing what you want to share. I have chosen to share a more confident me.
Let me backtrack a little first. Growing up my confidence always hindered me. For as long as I can remember, I always had a constant feeling of not being good enough and this affected me in various factors of my life. I never thought I’d win the race, never thought a guy would like me, never thought I’d be picked to sing. They’re the most obvious examples but there are others too like the fact I genuinely did not think anyone would have interest in what I had to say so I would literally shy away from speaking. I have to say a lot of this, in my case, came down to anxiety (anxiety and confidence go hand in hand in my life story but that’s a topic for another day) but I think the inferior feeling associated with confidence is something a lot of people, regardless of having anxiety or not, can relate to. I was in a terrible cycle of repeatedly telling myself I wasn’t good enough and you know what the major problem in this is? Your brain will believe whatever you tell it!! If you really want to believe a pink wall is blue, if you keep staring at it and repeatedly telling yourself it’s blue, I guarantee you’ll at least start to question it if not believe it. I would tell myself things like “you’re never gonna get your dream career” .. “you’ll never get those points in the leaving cert” .. “you’re never gonna be as pretty as her” and I believed every word of it.
Now that I look back, it makes me so sick to think of all the time I wasted putting myself down, all the missed opportunities because I didn’t even want to try. Rationally speaking, if everyone had this “not even gonna try” outlook on life nothing would be done. Take my blog for example, for so long I dreamt of making my own blog but what kept holding me back was the thought that it would not be good enough, that nobody would want to hear my voice. If every other blogger out there had this attitude there would be none- blogging wouldn’t be a thing! Everybody has to start somewhere- every blogger had to sit down, just like I did, and contemplate what content they want to post and what domain name they want to use. Theres no doubt Youtubers like Dodie had the same jitters I did when they started out, they were probably just as scared as me. Sure Thomas Edison was ridiculed for the creation of the lightbulb but did it stop him from producing one of the best inventions of all time? No.
Right about now I’m sure you’re thinking “Well what good is it to me hearing about Thomas Edison, I’m nothing like him” .. Eh, eh thats where you’re wrong. You’re breathing aren’t you? A heartbeat? A brain? You’re everything like him! Because you are human. We are all built in the same way, nobody is inferior or superior to anyone else. Yes, we may speak different languages, have different coloured skin, even different talents but nothing takes from the fact we all share the common ground of humanity. We are all born with potential, it’s how we choose to use this potential that differentiates us. Sure, education and resources come into account but none of this matters without self belief. What good is it having a shiny new state of the art car if you don’t know how to drive it? Forget money and material items for a minute and focus on yourself because if you can believe in yourself, you can have anything.
So next time you’re sobbing, over a tub of ice-cream, comparing yourself unfavourably to someone currently living your dream future, stop and remind yourself they’ve nothing over on you. They’re human, just like you are. If they can do it, so can you. And I know there’s so many other factors that come into play here, like money and status etc but these are just things. They can be acquired. Confidence comes from within, its 100% free and its 100% necessary to succeed in all walks of life. So stop shying away from yourself. If you want to make a blog too then just bite the bullet and do it. If you want 400 points in you leaving cert then believe you can do it. I can’t stress the importance of just putting yourself out there and trying. If you’re not in the race then you have no chance of winning- If you want something then you have to put yourself in a position to get it. Worst case scenario it’s a flop but even at that, you learn a lot from a failure.
I just want to finish by saying how precious each and every one of you are. Unfortunately I don’t think theres any non-cliche way of saying that but I just really want to stress the point that we are all so important, the universe makes no mistakes, you are here for a reason. You have a purpose. So don’t let self esteem issues stop you from finding it.
Expect to see a follow up to this post in the next few days on some Positivity tips for all areas in life but for now let me leave you with some short tips on how I have gained so much confidence 🙂
1.) The Secret & other books
2.) Youtubers – Mika Francis
4.) Self Affirming Quotes
5.) Encouraging People
(I’ll further expand on these in my next post)