The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Have you ever seen the ad commercial on Snapchat where this person who radiates so much strength and confidence receives a FaceTime call from their other self who is so ready to tear them down; to point out all their faults and flaws?
Yeah well — I have that other self in my head.
As I am sure many of us do, this other self walks with us and talks to us; not just at our highest points in life, but at our lowest as well. We may not be seeing them in the mirror, looking at the disappointment or saddness sketched into their facial lines; however we hear them using our voice or someone we appreciate, to diminish our worth.
Unfortunately, we cannot click the end call to shut off our insecurity.
So what can we do to build our confidence and put an end to those voices?
While I – myself still struggle with this; I had turned to asking a few college students and adults in the working field for their advice.
And here is what they had to say:
What would you say has helped you build confidence growing up?
“I was a chubby kid so it was a little hard for me to think I was beautiful… It wasn’t until I came to college and I met people who told me I was beautiful…. Just hearing that helped me love myself… Now I am obsessed with myself. I love me for me.” – AB (17)
“Therapy and experience probably helped me the most at building confidence. Experiencing something and doing it over and over again until I’m good at it really helped with my confidence and allowed me to empathize with people who are undergoing a similar struggle.” – Cab (22)
“Definitely my environment; the environment I was raised in. My family has installed confidence in me. Participating in sports and seeing how I can contribute and then just going through life. I don’t know how to phrase that better than just going through good and bad stuff. Confidence by experience. Also being tall helped — seriously, not going to lie. And being a guy — sadly.” – Jon (40)
“I did a couple things: one, being around supportive people. My parents were really good at that and so was my older sister. So if I was ever struggling academically … the three of them were always helpful. …Just keep trying things even if something is difficult…. My parents and especially my mom pushed me to just keep trying and make changes and ask for help if you need it… Just keep trying or change something up…. Because you know it’s hard to be a teenage girl too… And also understand that sometimes you are going to have those days where you don’t feel great…. it’s just one bad day this isn’t my whole life it’s okay.” – Maggie (36)
“After I turned 45 my Confidence was in God. Every day and every hour I call on to him (I pray)” – Jen (53)
“I was born into a Christian family. My parents instilled in me confidence. They always told me that I was beautiful and could do anything I put my mind to. I was told the same thing every day when I was growing up. However it’s still with me till now.” – Madeleine (56)
How have you kept your confidence as a college student?
“As a college student I have kept my confidence by internalizing it. I consider myself a confident person, so it has become part of my identity and how I see myself. I also maintain it by staying on top of things in my life such as running and trying my best to learn from my classes.” – V (20)
“Just inadvertently sticking out from the crowd. Just — when everybody tries to go right, I’ma take a left just for that reason to stick out. I don’t like societal norms, I don’t like chasing that normal life; I try to do something different. In college there are a lot of identity issues, and I always knew who I was.” – Cos (21)
“Part of it is just growing up… Still have so much to learn… having more experiences in college… just still trying things out. If I was having a hard time with class, I would just keep pushing myself; and just giving yourself some grace…. Trying to like —keep it positive. Trying to remind yourself of “here are the good things I am doing already”… Some of it too is maturing.” – Maggie (36)
How have you kept your confidence in the work field?
“There is an American expression that is really funny and it’s “fake it til you make it.” …Really again it’s just by doing and going through the emotions… ‘oh yeah I can do this, this is not rocket science”… it’s tough to gain confidence without trying.” – Jon (40)
“That one is harder. I think it’s just reminding myself that I know what I am doing. I think right now like in my current job I will sometimes deal with other people more often… There are going to be negative people… and sometimes for women it can be hard… Some people are just talking down to me because of my age or because I am a woman…So I think that’s the key with maintaining your confidence in a work environment it’s like — continuing to advocate for yourself, continuing to stand up for yourself. Being confident that you were hired for a reason. You didn’t just get picked randomly for a job…. Sometimes you just have to ignore negative people…. Just because someone else is negative doesn’t mean I need to feel that way.” – Maggie (36)
“I think always being willing to admit that you don’t know it all and continuing to treat yourself as a student even if you are not a student anymore… Every opportunity I have is a way to teach myself… I think I am just a lifelong learner.” – Bunny (28)
How have you kept your confidence during times of struggle?
“It’s all tangled up. I just remind myself like you got this… even if I’m having a tough time getting up and getting ready it’s like the issue has nothing to do with me at the end of the day. I am fighting the issue, the issue is not fighting me.” – AB (17)
“During times of struggle I often think back to times where I overcame something. Every obstacle you face and overcome kind of fills your bucket in a sense because as you move through life you acquire more tough experiences that you overcame. One example that comes to me in my life is my struggles junior year in high school. I felt pretty lost that year because I felt like I needed to move on in some areas of my life, but I eventually moved on and it made me stronger and more confident.” – V (20)
“Usually I am not confident during times of struggle. I’m hibernating in a low state, but at the end of the day you just gotta know yourself; being comfortable with who you are. That’s the key to confidence.” – Cos (21)
Has your confidence ever wavered when being around friends, family or people whom you never met before?
“Maybe in the past there has been a moment where I would be like “Damn I wish I looked like her” … I definitely have been around toxic family members … this summer my uncle said “OMG you look so pretty. You are losing so much weight”…without knowing they were malicious like that’s not their intention, but shit hurts. There definitely have been moments where my feelings have been hurt.” – AB (17)
“At times my confidence has wavered when being around people I don’t know well. I am sometimes a little insecure about my conversational skills, even around people I’m very close to at times, but how I overcome this is just thinking to myself that my awkwardness doesn’t matter and that we all die eventually so what the hell! Even in the times where my confidence has wavered, I snap out of it very quickly because of how I have made being confident as part of my identity.” – V (20)
“Oh yeah, very much so and still till this day … Not exactly sure how to navigate the situation and the circumstances you are around…. Again the only way to go through it is to go through it… Always go back to the same concept that the only way to gain confidence is to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable; exams, going to the bank… but then you do it and suddenly you gain more confidence that you can do anything.” – Jon (40)
“That’s something I had to learn… I am naturally an introverted person… so I think it was — I am always big on what’s your evidence that you can do it… How many times have you gone and met new people and it has worked out… and I am always a big believer that… if they don’t make you feel good now; don’t waste your time…If they are not a good friend back to you or being around them doesn’t make you feel good then don’t waste your time. Right, there are so many other people who you could spend your time with. So like — I think the same goes for family; anybody that you are choosing to spend your time with should lift you up and make you feel good and if they don’t maybe it’s not a person you should spend your time with. So that I think helps build up your confidence too. Not saying you need people that gasp you up constantly… but being around people that support you, helps with your confidence, and helps you do better personally.” – Maggie (36)
There are a lot of great takeaways from each and every response. While interviewing I was reminded of people who had told me “You can do this,” and the reminder I gave to myself (but had forgotten about along the way) of not caring what others think.
I hope reading this article helps in some way as a reminder that we do not have to let our insecurities take hold of our confidence. We all need to remind ourselves of those who have faith in us; or as Cos said “at the end of the day you just gotta know yourself; being comfortable with who you are. That’s the key to confidence.”