We Should Learn To Be Confident

We Should Learn To Be Confident

Why does society push us to believe being confident is being prideful?

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I have not yet learned to love myself. If you think that this article is going to be about how I learned to love myself and how you should too, you're in the wrong place. There's already thousands of articles like that out there. Which is great! There should be! We should all love ourselves! We all should aim for that standard of feeling great in our own bodies and loving our own personalities. I wish everyone felt that way, but I know for a fact not everyone does. If you can relate to what I'm saying, this article is for you. If you can't and you do find comfort in who you are, keep reading! You have someone in your life who you need to come to understand.

When I was young, I was taught that being confident can come off as prideful. This wasn't one person whispering in my ear for me to stop being confident-- in fact, most of the time it had nothing to do with words. No one ever said "Emma, you should learn to be careful with how high your self esteem is, you don't want people thinking you're cocky." It was remarks aimed at women who talked proudly about their achievements, women who wore bathing suits that were a tad bit small and had a look of pride on their face that was matched with disgusted looks from women in the crowd. It was women who were laughed at for being proud of their bodies, reality shows featuring the snobby full-of-herself girl that was too wrapped up in her appearance to focus on anything else. It was shameful to be proud of the way you looked.

It was beautiful if you didn't realize how beautiful you were. Songs like One Direction's "You Don't Know You're Beautiful" praised young girls who didn't appear to know they were pretty, and needed a man to come along and say it so they could believe it. Girls who had low-self esteem are valued in our society. If a man tells a girl he's into that she's pretty, if she agrees she's often rejected for being too prideful. She's supposed to do the "respectful" thing and deny, so he can praise her and "save" her.

Growing up with this in the back of my mind, I never thought to look in the mirror and like what I saw. My entire family has broad shoulders and a stockier build, so I never looked like the people on TV. It didn't help that everyone around me had low self-esteem, as well. Seeing people that looked like me reject themselves made me in turn reject myself. It's hard for me to look in the mirror, and I don't have many pictures of myself because it makes me sick.

I'm not blaming the people that I learned from. It wasn't their intent to brainwash me into low-self esteem. They tried to remind me to be confident, but how could I do that when all around me was negativity? The only positivity I saw was from afar, and even that was limited. People aren't praised on TV for their confidence, they're praised for losing weight and getting plastic surgery.

So what is this article, other than an explanation for my self-loathing? It's a call to action to get the media and society to stop the negative influence. It's an article to help someone who has high-self esteem to see their friends, family members, and peers in a different light, to get a glimpse into their mind. With empathy and the dedication to change, we have the power to stop this cycle. We should encourage young girls (and everyone else for that matter) to love themselves and to be positive. That not everyone looks the same, and your body is beautiful no matter what it looks like.

What would a world look like where we all loved ourselves? How would we treat others, treat ourselves? Would the world be a better place? There's no doubt in my mind that it would be. I believe that the world would be a beautiful, unique space full of confident people and radiating with positivity. People would generally just be happier. What's the harm in that? This is a call for everyone to change, not only you but the people around you, the media, society in its whole. We have the power to make a positive world.

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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