Having complete confidence my whole life would have made everything so much easier. I would not have carefully tailored my middle school wardrobe so I would fit in with the crowd, or been embarrassed to be seen with my mom out in public. Those were burdens I voluntarily tied to my ankles, and with time, I learned that they were not doing me any good. They were holding me back.

I soon learned that the hours of putting on makeup and finding the best clothes did nothing to build the confidence that allowed me to eventually grow into my own skin. Instead of running into the dog food aisle when I saw a schoolmate at the grocery store, I would walk up and say hi. And when high school came around, I was proud to show off that I was a musician. Instead of thinking, “This is what makes me different,” I started thinking, “This is what makes me special.” I appreciated the things that made me me, and became comfortable with myself.

I’m not saying putting on makeup shouldn’t make you feel good, because when I put on makeup and cute outfit I feel like I can dance down the street. But the faith and trust and love you have for yourself cannot be tied to how many likes you get on your Facebook profile picture or how people rank your physical appearance on a scale of one to 10. I think we get too caught up in the lies and facades magazines portray. Megan Fox looks like the most confident girl in her photo shoots and movies, but the same girl on all those magazine covers and posters boys tape to their bedroom walls admits that she is intimidated by the fashion industry and hates how she looks on camera. Zac Efron, too, has been quoted on his lack of self-confidence and how he constantly needs to work with himself to strengthen it. So many people watch movies and say, "If I had his or her body (or hair, face, etc.), I would never be upset." But why can't we have that confidence anyway? The confidence that will bring you back from a breakup, or the kind that will give you strength to take a risk or just be content in your own soul, is based on your personality.

I’m not saying I have Beyoncé-level confidence. I was still shy on the first day of college, and I still stutter when an attractive guy asks me a question. But when I decided to move far away for college, my faith in my personality helped me succeed. I didn’t get on the plane and think, “Well, of course I’ll do great; my eyeliner is on point.” Instead, I thought to myself, “Mere, you treat people well, you are really adaptable, and you’re a tough cookie. And you’ll do great.” That is what gets me through tough situations.