I'm not afraid to admit that, for many years, I was a very shy girl. I wasn't a social butterfly in the slightest bit, and I was definitely that girl who would stand in the corner during a party. I guess being shy and timid was just part of my personality.
However, as soon as I came to college, I don't know what came over me; I shed my sheepish, introverted behavior off like an ageing snake. I think a big factor that led me to become more sociable and outgoing was losing my self-consciousness. You can't have confidence if you're unsure of yourself.
Everybody has insecurities--whether it's about their body, academics, work life, or something else. But I think that as you meet new people and experience new things, which are both major parts of the college experience, you encounter so many invitations to lose all the uncertainties you have about yourself. That's what happened to me, at least.
I learned to stop judging myself and to go with the flow, which was not as hard as I thought because of the college environment; I learned that nobody's perfect and that there are other things worth focusing on and striving to perfect other than looks.
With this new-found certainty I had for myself came a boost of confidence. I found less of a need to compare myself with those around me and I started to feel more secure in myself. When I left my dorm room and walked through campus, I found myself walking with an extra pep in my step and my chin higher.
I remember learning when I was very little that confidence means a self-assurance in oneself. I also learned, years later, that conceit means being overly pleased and proud of oneself, sometimes to the point of arrogance.
Sometimes I worry if people mix up the two; it would be such a shame if someone mistook someone as cocky when, in reality, they're just confident. Sadly, I think this happens a lot.
It makes sense that the two get mistaken for each other because, in a way, they come across as very similar. Someone walking across the room with a look of self-balance may be seen as cocky. Yet, this person might just feel a little bit more upbeat because they received recognition for a project they've been working day and night on.
There was a time where I would assume that a person wearing a smirk on their face with their head held high was egotistical. However, I've stopped jumping so quickly to this conclusion because it's unfair to judge someone based on theirf appearance.
I just hope people stop judging others who looks upbeat and satisfied with themselves. I urge others to recognize the many possibilities that may be stemming from a person's apparent self-satisfaction. It's a completely different story is someone is literally sitting at a table holding a sign that reads, "I am smarter and better looking than everyone in this room".
Please embrace the challenge of letting go of what has become a societal tendency to judge others prematurely. Confidence is such a beautiful thing; we've all had those moments where we've felt proud of ourselves after trying our best. Everyone deserves to appreciate themselves and to bask in the glow that comes with having some confidence in yourself.
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