I’m slightly shocked to be at the point where I’m writing about this subject. Especially when I struggled for so long to find for myself. I think I’ve proven time and time again that I have not been someone is very comfortable with herself. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to be the center of attention for being memorable and accomplished, or just fade into the background and hope nobody notices me.
In the past six months alone, I can say I’ve truly found myself. Not completely, as I believe we are always growing and discovering our true selves, but I’m at probably the best place in my life. I know and appreciate my life and everybody and everything in it, and I’m very comfortable with just being myself. I’m still slightly guarded, but not to the extent I used to be.
So from this journey of self-discovery, a question I have always been asking is where to find confidence. How do I get to a place where I am comfortable with myself enough to not really care what others think? Being self-conscious holds us back and keeps us guarded. It can even hold us back from some great opportunities just because we’re unsure with ourselves.
Let me tell you, confidence takes time. Lots of it. I believe we can’t find genuine confidence until we really begin to understand our personalities, the good and bad parts and everything in between. It’s really just a part of the coming-of-age process, so don’t expect to wake up born super confident. Well, I guess some people may be, but they are of a rare variety. I’ve heard plenty of times, “Fake it until you make it.” A very blanket phrase for a quality that is very unique for each individual. But for me, I didn’t realize what true contentment felt like until I compared it to how I felt at my lows. Even though we want to avoid those negative feelings hindering our self-esteems, they offer valuable lessons and a foundation to project ourselves into our best versions.
Another important point is how you express confidence. There is a very big difference between confidence and cockiness. I’ve faced my fair share of people who aren’t afraid to rub it in others’ faces their accomplishments and admirable qualities. That’s when valuable confidence turns sour. True confidence exemplifies your personality to attract wonderful things and people into your life. Cockiness turns people away. For some people, the line between these two opposites is very thin. If you have this problem, perhaps have a checks and balances system in place for yourself. You might discover that cockiness is simply a mask for more painful emotions.
Back to the whole “fake it until you make it” deal. Obviously you want to present yourself in the best light possible, but I know I found it difficult to feel like I’m putting on a mask every morning to try and conceal inner doubts. I’d much rather be honest with myself, realize where I’m at with myself, and put in the hard work to build myself up. Again, the journey isn’t to please anybody else besides yourself. But you’ll see the benefits from the inside out. Life will become much fuller and fulfilling.
So what does confidence really mean? It’s not feeling like you need constant approval and reassurance to accept yourself. It’s knowing your strengths and weaknesses and not being afraid to admit it. It’s not being afraid to let down your guard sometimes and be vulnerable. It’s putting yourself out into the world knowing you might get hurt. It’s addressing your emotions and letting yourself feel them. And you don’t feel obligated to hide them from yourself and others. It’s embracing constant change and growth. It’s allowing people to serve their purposes in your life, even if that means them leaving on less-than-satisfactory terms. It’s knowing that if everybody for some reason abandoned you, you’ll make it.
Words can only do so much. You can put up as many inspirational quotes as you want, but if you aren’t applying yourself to them, they’re pointless. Actions always speak louder. Even if you’re the only one seeing these actions. People might not even notice your progress for quite awhile, but it’s part of the journey.
Here I go again throwing around blanket advice. Spend time alone. Spend time with others. Even others you might not expect to be with. Recognize your strengths and passions and follow them. But also realize your weaknesses. Try new things and step outside your comfort zone every once and awhile. Take care of yourself. Be your own biggest support system. You don’t have to love every aspect of yourself by any means, but accept wherever you are at. Don’t beat yourself up for every little mistake. Everything boils down to that little voice inside your head.If the only things that voice speaks are distasteful, you’ll never reach a point of content. Practice and recite positive affirmations if you’d like.
Voices of depression might seep through your attempts toward confidence. They are simply obstacles in the path. And if your depression is chronic, they will always be there. But once you know what that demon looks like, you’ll realize it has similar patterns that you learn to overcome with some quality self-care. Ultimately, your mind creates your reality. Make your life one worth living and appreciating.
And if you needed the reminder today: you are an amazing human being. You are so valuable. You have a purpose for being where you are at in this very moment. You are loved and appreciated. You are capable of fantastic things. Go and take on the world.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie