Confidence, self image, and self love have become an incredibly large topic of discussion within the last few years. This world is faced with countless people suffering from bad self image and major lack of self love. It’s heartbreaking to watch as beautiful, intelligent, caring people fail to see all of the precious attributes inside of them. Although we may consider them to be confident, smart, loving, etc., they may not ever get the chance to feel it themselves.
Over my years of teenage-hood, I too have undertaken the journey towards self love. Although specific time periods may be fuzzy to me, I do remember the steps that I have taken to get where I am today: completely confident in myself.
Feelings of insecurity were never and probably will never be foreign to me. Seeing photos or videos of oneself, or catching ones reflection in the mirror can sometimes be a disappointing or disheartening thing. There will probably always be things that I could pick apart about myself. However, the key to my confidence and, therefore, a part of my happiness, has always been simply to chose not to. Noticing something I don’t like about myself is a natural human reaction; everyone will experience this. However, choosing to pick that disliked feature apart, focus on it, and let it consume your thoughts, is a completely different story. There is a massive difference between noticing something you don’t like, and looking for something you don’t like. When looking in the mirror or seeing a picture of myself, I like to try specifically to appreciate beauty. Even thoughts as simple as ‘my hair looks nice today’ or ‘this colour compliments my eyes’ can be so important. That positive self talk can make a world of difference to ones self image, as I know it’s done to mine.
I’m sure we have all heard the phrase ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ thousands of times throughout our lives. If so… good! Seeing a touched up, photoshopped version of a celebrity and comparing them to you will never bring you joy. If everyone were to look like those pictures, the world would be boring. Interest and beauty are so often found in unique features or traits. Even comparing ourselves to our friends or peers can be detrimental to our happiness; I’m sure if we try hard enough, we will be able to find attributes/features that others have that we like but do not possess. However, being content with who and what we are is much more rewarding.
A comparison that I often make that does actually help boost my confidence (most of the time) is one to my past self. If we are willing, every day, to try our best to be better than our yesterday selves, the world will be a better place. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely days where I feel grumpy and have no desire to push myself to be better, but there’s always tomorrow to try again.
Another very simple but very effective action that can be taken is that of forgetting yourself. Challenge yourself every morning to go out and give as many compliments to as many people as you can. If you admire or like any feature or fashion, make sure to point it out! Watching for the beauty in others is a massive game changer when it comes to appreciating the beauty in oneself. Whether or not this immediately effects your confidence in your outward appearance, it will undoubtedly effect your confidence in your personality. Complimenting others brings both them and you joy beyond measure. You can be assured that this simple every day pursuit will better you as a person. Someone once told me that before you leave your house for the day, work as hard as you’d like to to look as nice as you’d like to, but as soon as you step out that front door, your appearance should be irrelevant. Obviously food in your teeth or messed up hair is a different story, but forgetting your appearance can help you seize the day. Worrying about whether you look fat in your shirt or if your pants are too baggy will distract from the more important things of the day– relationships, passions, careers or education, and much more. Selflessness is a clear path to confidence.
When friends or acquaintances of mine have expressed insecurities to me, I have always wanted to be able to hand them confidence in a little gift wrapped box, here you go. I wish that I could take exactly how I see them: the respect, the admiration, and allow them to see themselves in the exact same way. So many times, people whom I look up to and simply think are amazing, beautiful, happy people, are the ones with insecurities. If I compliment them, they brush it off, or deny its truthfulness, leaving me completely awestruck. How is it even possible for someone that everyone thinks so highly to not have this same appreciation for themselves?
One of my peers has surprised me like this on many occasion. She has a beautiful smile, a great sense of humour, and is intelligent, and happy and so, so kind. In pointing any of these things out to her, I am so often faced with ‘no way’, ‘you’re wrong’, or other similar answers. But I know I am right. She is kind and beautiful, funny and energetic, and I try to make sure she knows that.
I hope to be able to (in some way or another) gift even the smallest boost of confidence to each person that I meet. A smile or a simple compliment may be all I can do, but hopefully it will be doing something. From me to all of you, “you is smart, you is kind, you is important”.
I feel as though I have just written a whole bunch of cliches. If that’s the case maybe it’s a good thing? Cliches aren’t cliches for nothing. Anyways, this was also extremely long so if you’re still here, thank you! This topic is something that matters so much to me and I hope that in my own scatterbrained, disorganized way, that I’ve got my point across.