Confidence is a hard thing to manifest especially after years of indulging in self-deprecating humor as seen on TV and in movies. However, after years of using demeaning humor to seemingly help my confidence or at least get the negative thoughts out of my head it became clear that the humor I learned online and in the media only made me feel worse about myself. Bad thoughts about how I looked, behaved, dressed, or even laughed flowed not only through my mind, but were now voiced. This became a form of emotional self-harm because it was not just the bad voice in my head telling me I am not good enough, but by my own voice.I quickly became my own worse enemy as my negative voice quickly morphed into my own, making the words cut even deeper than before.
As I got older I involved myself in more positive forums and away from the shows that supported self-deprecating energy. Seeing other people treat themselves kindly and with respect had a huge influence on me. It wasn't until years later that I realized the significant change surrounding myself with positivity had on my confidence and even my anxiety. I became more forgiving when I made a mistake, was able to hang out with my friends more, and even talk to new people without the crippling feeling of an oncoming anxiety attack.
The process of feeling okay about myself took about five years and is still occurring to be quite frank. It started with learning how to manage my anxiety in a healthy way. This meant coping by talking to people when I feel anxious, creating signals between friends so they can help me, and learning the difference between healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms.
After learning how to tame my biggest inhibitor, I was in turn able to tackle the way in which I had been treating myself. It was not how I would treat a friend, a stranger, or even a foe. In fact, the way I took care of myself was simply appalling. I was never nice even after accomplishing something and could barely look in the mirror and point out one positive attribute. A friend of mine said she looked in the mirror and thought of five positive things everyday, like, "I really like my eyes", "I worked really hard yesterday and am proud of myself", or "I am a good friend". The things said could be body-centric, focused on accomplishments, or on personality traits. As ridiculous as it sound to do this, I would stand in front of the mirror and say jut one thing that was kind to myself. I now can stand in front of a mirror and gush about myself. I have my bad days, and my worse days, but I finally am able to feel comfortable in my skin because I have accepted my body, learned how to handle my anxiety in a healthy way, and learned how to speak to myself in a kind and empowering manner.
Everyone conjures their inner confidence differently, because various things can help. The most important thing for me was to learn how to speak to myself and how those words impacted my anxiety and my self-perception. This also allowed me to better recognize positive and negative influences in my life. Finally it lead to me being able to be comfortable enough to pursue interests (like clubs, sports, or other activities) alone and to be able to meet new people there! When you no longer view yourself as the enemy, it becomes much easier to accept yourself and grow in confidence!