Confidence is not something we are born with. It is something gained. Confidence is something we breathe in and let settle within us. It is something that we have to have faith in and constantly tend to… And confidence can be fragile, sensitive, and unsteady. If we let it.
I am the first to admit that I have let my confidence become something that can be shattered by the slighted amount of pressure. I let the words and actions of other people obliterate the bit of confident I scraped up. I remember clearly the times people called me a cry baby, made fun of me because I talk fast and mumble, called me “the ugly twin”, overlooked me while giving compliments to my best friend when we went out together, rolled their eyes and joked about my instability when I became depressed, commented on the way I walk with my head down and eyes averted, called me “Squidward” before I grew into my nose.
I also let the expectations of society suck away my confidence. I take in the admiration of women with full figures, long hair, and out-going personalities. I notice the praise that people my age get when they have a big bank account, are in relationships and have children, have a higher education, and are overall independent, fully capable, put-together adults.
In these moments of reflection, when I remember the things about me that made people laugh and think less of me, and the ways in which I have not yet the level of successful that society emphasizes, my confidence shrinks into non-existence. And I know that I am not the only one.
Then I think about the people who have “made it” is the eyes of our world. The people who are financially stable. Who have the marriage, children and white picket fence. Who are well-educated with a thriving career. Who are outspoken. Who fits the mold of the typical attractive female or male. And yet, many of them are still completely void of confidence. This made me realize that confidence is NOT something that is given to us by the approval and acceptance of others. Instead, CONFIDENCE IS BIRTHED BY THE ACCEPTANCE OF ONESELF. No one has the right to determine the confidence of someone else. Society does not have the right to solidify our perception of what is personally acceptable.
So, I will embrace my mumbling, slouchy, and emotional self. I won’t be ashamed of still living at home and having a slim bank account. I will take pride in my awkward social skills and preferring binge-watching Frasier and A Different World on a Saturday night. I choose not to let my confidence remain fragile, sensitive, and unsteady. I choose to no longer gain confidence only to allow it to be ripped away. We should all fight to have faith in our confidence, in ourselves, no matter how hard it can be.
What will you start to embrace in your life to birth and nurture your confidence?