The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Have you ever caught yourself spending hours researching the beauty trends, tips and tricks in dressing for “your body type” or trying to figure out what hairstyle will look the best for your facial type? With the unlimited access most college women have to social media and all it’s hidden beauty secrets posted by millions, it can sometimes feel like an overwhelming black hole of information where one person might be telling you one thing while another trusted beauty professional might give you the exact opposite information. For me, this has led to large amounts of stress and aggravation because I don’t know about you, but I enjoy looking and feeling my best both inside and out. While these professionals have good intentions, it can be daunting to vet all the facts and figures that are thrown out there. I spent a large amount of my high school and, so far, college years trying to keep up with all the trends that led to more insecurities being created than confidence in myself. Part of the reason is because I still find the fashion industry caters to thinner girls. Not trying to throw any shade there. If you do happen to rock a thin toned body then power to you queen! I know you earned it and keep loving yourself! But for me, being a midsized, 14-16 (depending on where you shop) girl with some acne still popping up after being promised it will go away eventually, it can be hard to remember that I’m beautiful even when I don’t fit society’s beauty standards. However, this article isn’t me coming to complain about all the injustices different body types have had to endure thanks to the fashion industry’s strict standards. Because while there are still some lingering disappointments, there is also a lot of progress that deserves to be acknowledged. Here are some of the things I have learned from that I think no matter what body type or insecurity you may have may help in changing the way:
- Confidence is the hottest look that anyone can rock.
“The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence”
As the body positivity movement has been making headway onto social media, especially with the “Instagram vs Reality” trend, more women are showing up to support one another and show that beauty is no longer in the eye of the beholder but in the individual’s own chosen perceptions of themselves. While there is much debate over who the “Instagram vs. Reality” trend actually benefits from, one positive thing about it is that this trend reveals the “reality” behind what those “perfect bodies” can actually look like when not in the prime position, camera angle, or sunlight. What has really stood out to me is that no matter the photo or setting, when a confident woman emerges, not only does she appear more attractive, but she is also showing her indomitability as a warrioress.
“For me, so far, confidence has been a journey, not a destination.”
– Jessica Williams
- Confidence does not equal an extroverted personality.
Despite popular belief, in order to be confident you don’t have to be the life of the party. You don’t have to know everyone or post every single day. Confidence in yourself comes in all shapes and sizes. One day you can feel confident in some baggy sweatpants and an oversized college shirt repping your university or in a crop top with bold makeup on. Point being, confidence has less to do with outward appearance or social prowess and more to do with the way you feel and react to yourself. The product of that confidence in yourself could come in the form of a bubbly personality or look, but it can also come in being able to say no and just chill with yourself and a good book instead of performing how you think society wants you to perform. Confidence is really all about how comfortable you are with yourself.
“Your words have so much power. Every day, if you tell yourself ‘I love you,’ if you give yourself one word of validation, it will change your mind.”
– Ashley Graham
- Confidence is the product of self-love.
When you look at yourself in the mirror, instead of seeing all your insecurities, try to find one or two things you love about yourself (although I’m sure there are way more to point out than you give yourself credit for) and repeat it out loud to your reflection. Whenever I would look at myself in the mirror and start to list off all the things I wish I had: a flatter stomach, more interesting hobbies, clearer skin, or better conversational skills, I would have to stop myself. Take a step back and recite to myself the things about me I saw as beautiful: my curves, my imagination, my piercing eyes, or my empathetic nature. Whenever you intentionally alter the way you think about yourself, taking on a more observational approach, you can begin to challenge all the negative core values you may hold about yourself and are then able to actually react to your true beauty without your mind justifying and reinforcing those negative perceptions. This gaining of confidence in yourself is not instantaneous and most days it’s still difficult to walk into a room or setting like the boss you are. Sometimes you might have to resort to “faking it till you actually believe it”, but there are other days where it is possible to look and feel that self-esteem boost without effort and say “hello goddess, nice to see you again!” When you start to invest in yourself rather than letting the way other people see or talk about you (unless they are there to also support and lift you up in the positive way you need), that is when true confidence is born. Because confidence is “the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something” or “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.”
“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.”
– Marie Curie
All in all, remember that how you perceive yourself and then respond based on that perception is how others will also perceive and then treat you. So when you learn to love and be confident in who you are, then so will they (if that is what you’re looking for). And then if they don’t, maybe it’s time to start evaluating if that particular relationship is actually beneficial to your mental health and sense of self, or if it is actually a toxic relationship. If you aren’t there yet, that’s okay. You can start to change at any given time, but know that’s on you to make the first move. You have the choice, the agency, the power to be and perceive yourself however you want to. If you are already there, know that it’s also okay to slip up sometimes. Everyone still has insecurities and no one is perfect. So when your confidence does slip, give yourself some love and work to overcome that feeling.