Confidence Is a You Thing

For so very long I have been basing my confidence off of the attention I get from others. It is a natural process ─ women are taught at a very young age that their value stems from the judgments of others. Whether it is from your parents, or your teachers, or your peers, we are constantly absorbing others’ judgments of us and taking them as fact. This gets easily translated into romantic relationships as we grow older, explaining why so many women gain their self-confidence from the words and actions of romantic partners.

Basing your self-confidence on the judgments of others is a dangerous cycle that I, personally, have been caught in many times. There’s nothing wrong with receiving a compliment and feeling good about yourself, but it can get sticky when this is the only source of our self-confidence. You can build your self-confidence based on the words of another very quickly, but it can break down even quicker.

The only stable source of self-worth and self-confidence comes from within. People always say that “in the end you’ll only have yourself,” and I have to agree. Although it is extremely important to make meaningful connections with those around you to feel love and experience growth, it is equally important to feel stable in your self-esteem and self-worth.

I’ve learned this the hard way multiple times, and I will continue to explore how to tackle it head-on. What I have begun to do is separate my identity from who others see me as. I have recognized that these are two separate entities, and they may not overlap on all fronts. Ideally, others would see me for who I really am, but because of differing perspectives and backgrounds, this isn’t likely to happen all the time.

Activities that force me to look inward help me to understand where I need to put in work to build my self-confidence. For me, these activities include Yin yoga, journaling, and meditation. Each one of these self-care exercises were difficult for me to stick with, as it didn’t feel natural for me to constantly be looking introspectively. But, over time, I learned how to incorporate them into my routine.

After about two months of actively participating in these exercises, I felt a real shift in my self-concept and self-confidence. I felt more sure of who I was and what I wanted from life, which translated to how I felt about myself in relation to others. I didn’t worry as much about how others saw me or how they felt about me, because I was confident within myself.

This is a process that I am constantly repeating, but each time that I do, I feel a bit stronger and more stable in my self-confidence. A compliment, a “like” on Instagram, a text-back from somebody you fancy, or anything along these lines is not a proper replacement for truly feeling good about who you are. Taking my focus away from the judgments and actions of others as the determinant of my worth opened a whole new world of self-confidence for me, and I hope others can experience this as well. Grab confidence by the horns and take it for a ride!