The “new year, new me” mantra is back in full swing as we enter another unpredictable year. The expectation to hop on the latest trends and to be “that girl” and the inevitable stress that follows is even stronger. When I pictured the adult version of myself as a preteen girl, I imagined a girl boss who had a career, success, a good image, and most importantly, confidence. I put a lot of pressure on myself to one day be that person and strived for greatness as I matured through my teenage years.
As a teenager, I found my confidence by seeking it out in other people. I discovered self-assurance in having a significant other and put a great deal of reliance on them. I felt confident around other girls by molding into their lifestyles because I assumed that they had it all together. Of course, I didn’t realize that I was doing this.
I have reached adulthood now and I’m nowhere near “that girl,” but I’ve realized that I don’t need to portray a certain image of someone who I’m not in order to be confident. I used to think that one day I would wake up and confidence would find me, but I’ve learned that it is something you must find for yourself. I’m fully content with the person I am today. If I could go back and tell my teenage self to have more faith in myself, I would. But since I can’t change the past, I want to help you along your journey of self-improvement. I haven’t exactly reached where I want to be on the confidence scale, but that is my number one priority for 2022. Here are some of the steps I took (and am still taking) to love who I am and to let confidence radiate through everything I do.
Confidence starts from within. Putting on the best outfit in your closet and wearing a full face of makeup can be a very empowering feeling. However, confidence on the outside doesn’t come from your wardrobe – it comes from loving every aspect of yourself, inside and out. Those jeans will make you feel even more incredible if you already feel great about yourself before you put them on. Inward self-confidence is the key to outward confidence.
Your opinion is valid. Something that always used to scare me, and often still does, is using my voice. I was bullied a lot as a child and would hardly ever speak up for myself. The one thing you would never see me do is raise my hand in class because I was afraid that what I had to say would be wrong. However, I realized that voicing my opinion is a big step in feeling more confident. Every individual has their own unique opinions, so you should never be afraid to speak yours.
Don’t let a breakup steal your worth. Last year, I went through an incredibly painful breakup. I kept asking myself “why?” and summed it up to the fact that it was simply because I wasn’t good enough. I wasted most of 2021 beating myself up which was completely unfair of me. However, I eventually chose not to let their choice damage my self-esteem and I found love in myself, not in a partner. The right people will love you for who you are, so keep working on yourself in the meantime. Plus, confidence is super attractive!
Stop comparing yourself to others. Being yourself is where you will find true happiness! If you have a people-pleaser personality like I do, it’s easy to worry about what others think of you. I used to try to be like the people I surrounded myself with, but it always left me feeling like something was missing. That is why it’s important to be around people who accept and appreciate who you are without having to change for them. Be the best you for you, not for anyone else.
Refuse to speak negatively about yourself. Self-confidence cannot grow if you don’t believe in and encourage yourself. A part of developing inner strength is being your own number one fan, which can’t happen until you stop talking down to yourself. A few ways you can learn to speak positively about yourself is by journaling about the things you excel at, or by giving yourself three compliments in the mirror while getting ready for the day. Manifest every goal that you wish to achieve and tell yourself that you have what it takes.