Having confidence is something I’ve struggled with a lot over the years, especially throughout college. I dealt with so much anxiety, and becoming preoccupied by how I portrayed myself to others only made that so much worse. I constantly compared myself to my peers and worried what other people thought of me. Was I pretty enough? Was I as smart as them? I had personality, right?
And then a funny thing happened when I graduated college and moved to the city. On my first day strolling in the shadows of skyscrapers, I realized how big everything was. I realized how many people there were in the city, and how I was never going to be able to impress them all. Some of them weren’t going to like me. I wasn’t going to be enough for everybody.
And you know what? I stopped giving a damn.
Really. I stopped caring. And it was so freeing. Being a small fish in a big pond with a totally fresh start made me realize that I didn’t want to be the girl I was in college who was constantly worrying if I was enough. Because there are so many people in the city, and if I seriously try to be enough for everyone that I meet, then I was constantly going to be comparing myself to others, and I was constantly going to be changing myself.
And I was never going to be enough for me. I was never going to do the one thing that I came to the city to do – figure out who I am.
I think that’s the number one rule to finally start exuding confidence – you have to be doing it for nobody but yourself. Because you have one life and if you can’t learn to be happy in the skin you’re in, it won’t always be a fulfilling one.
Confidence starts with being as true to yourself as you can be. It’s finding the things that make you happy and doing them no matter what. It’s figuring out who it is you want to be and finding your own voice.
Confidence is choosing how your day is going to go from the moment you wake up. I’ve been a fan of the quote, “Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.” Waking up and choosing to exude positivity and grace will affect how the rest of your day goes. You’ll have more energy. You’ll smile at strangers on the bus. If you choose otherwise, then your mood will only affect your demeanor. Telling yourself you don’t want to be here will only subconsciously send those vibes to other.
Confidence is smiling more. Practice makes habit, people. And smiles start conversations.
Confidence is learning to accept the things you can’t change. Stand in front of the mirror and pick out things that you see as flaws. Tell yourself why they are quirks instead, and how they make you unique, and how being unique makes you beautiful. You can’t change who you are, but you can learn to be happy with it. We have one body and it should be treated as a temple, not as a inhibition.
Confidence is being healthy. Change your diet and work out more. This isn’t to contradict the aforementioned ‘love the skin you’re in’ message, but rather to note that the healthier you are, the happier you’ll feel, and that will translate into your confidence. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.
Confidence is knowing when to tune others out. You’re not going to be enough for everybody. Someone may not like your personality, or your looks, or your opinions. It’s learning to tell yourself that that’s perfectly okay!
Confidence is realizing that you should never rely on the validation of others.
Confidence is realizing the only validation you need is from yourself.
I’m not saying I’m the most confident girl now. I can be a extrovert around my best friends but a raging introvert around pretty much everyone else. Confidence takes work. But it is so worth it. I look back to who I was just months ago when I was graduating college and terrified of not being ready for the real world. I was terrified of not being enough for the real world.
But once I stopped caring? Hell, I’m ready to take on the real world. I found the confidence to dive into the things I love without worrying what others might think about me, like blogging. To meet new people everywhere I go, even if it means forcing myself into opportunities where I may not know everyone (or anyone). I found the confidence to go out and do the things I want to do, even if it means I’m doing it alone. To look in the mirror and like what I see. To voice my opinions – I found the confidence to start finding my own voice in the real world and to really start to uncover who I want to be. I found the confidence to be myself. And really, that’s all you need.
When I get all dressed up to go out on the town with my friends, I don’t do it to look better than other girls or because I want some guy to think I look hot. I do it because I like knowing that I look damn good and makes me feel confident and it makes me happy.
When I book a trip but no one else can go with me, I book it by myself. I don’t worry about the image I’ll have as a loser with no friends or how awkward it might be going out to dinner alone in a foreign city. I do it because it’s something I want to do and it makes me happy.
When I realize that I am not living up to someone’s unrealistic expectations of me, I don’t worry about it. I don’t compromise who I am as a person to impress them or try to change myself to be enough. I acknowledge that I can’t be enough for everybody, but that I will be enough for the right people, and they will be the ones who make me happy.
So next time that someone tries to tell you that you aren’t enough, you can tell them to shove it.
You are the only validation you need. You are enough, and nobody can tell you otherwise. Your happiness should be the most important thing in your life and you should always put it first.
And once you really, truly realize that, that’s where confidence begins.