I am not the most confident person. As a child, I didn’t care what anyone thought. I had a small group of friends, wore boys’ clothes, and expressed my interests without a worry that I would be judged. This lasted for several years until I hit middle school. I am not going to go into detail with my experience with puberty and post-puberty middle and high school life, because frankly, no one needs a reminder. However, those years were easily some of the most difficult of my life. Along the way, I tried too hard to be liked by others, and lost myself somewhere in the process, and that was one of the worst things I could do to myself.
Since then, I have realized that you cannot force other people into liking you. This is still something I have to remind myself even today. I do not get along with certain people either, and there is not a lot that one can do about it. I have learned that what people think of me does not reflect who I am as a person. The only person who truly knows who you are is yourself. But when confidence is lacking, there can be problems with this. I have been told that you cannot be loved if you do not love yourself. While I do not like to say that because it can cause a feeling of hopelessness, there are aspects of it that are true. This was my wake up call. I realized that if I did not feel like I was worthy of being loved and cared about, others potentially would feel the same way towards me, which looking at it now, is not what I deserve.
Time and time again, I am still insecure about the way that I look. I see beautiful girls all over social media and it brings my confidence down. But just because other girls are beautiful does not mean I am not. I am not particularly skinny or striking in any other way. I used to look at the girls I danced with and feel out of place because I am not built the same way. When I began college this past fall, I began exploring the different options for exercise since I no longer competed with my studio. I joined clubs where I could dance and spent time in the cardio room running. I continued eating healthy meals, while trying to keep my snacking to a minimum. I began drinking more water. Being healthy has made me feel beautiful, because there is so much my body is capable of, and I do not have to be tiny.
I came to college and instantly felt like I was not as smart as those around me. I have now learned that this mindset is dangerous and will trap you in a hole that is nearly impossible to get out of. The biggest change I have made in my studies is managing my time wisely. I am I believe that if there is a will, there is a way, and I have reflected that in my coursework. At the end of the day, it is not about how smart you are, it is about your drive and how much you truly want to succeed. If you want it enough, it is possible.
Since I have decided to gravitate a more positive outlook on life, I am finding myself again. I have found myself in the night sky on clear nights when all of the stars are visible. I have found myself in the music I listen to as I walk and inhale the fresh air of nature. I have found myself in the smiles on those whom I love’s faces when they accomplish something, big or small. I have found myself in the immense amount of poetry I read in my free time and write to express myself. I have found myself in the breaths I have caught after a successful workout I once thought I wasn’t strong enough to finish. I have found myself in the admiring look on my niece’s face when I visit after not seeing her for several months’. Most importantly, I have found myself in me.
My advice to all of you who are on their journey to confidence just like me, is to keep your eyes open and allow you to find who you really are. It is a long journey, but we will get there together.