“Confidence doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s a result of something… hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication.”
There is a bold and noticeable difference between the way someone with self-confidence strides into a room and the way someone with little confidence wanders into the same room. There is a difference in the way these two people talk and sit and smile. It’s apparent in the subtle way someone with confidence holds their head and chest. Their movements are sure and purposeful. They exude a physical sense of conviction. But this doesn’t mean that they are better than everyone else, and the physical aspect of their confidence does not imply that the trait is genetic or hereditary.
Throughout the years of my own struggle to find self-confidence, I’ve realized that confidence is a quality that can only develop if we personally will it to. In my previous blog post, I mentioned that there are many aspects of my life and personality that I love and that make me who I am. I can safely say that my confidence is at the top of that list. My confidence in both myself and my abilities makes everything else I do easier because I am not afraid to make mistakes or try new things. Does this mean I always succeed? Not by a long shot. But I also know that if I don’t succeed, that’s just fine.
So, if confidence isn’t hereditary and it isn’t something that we are born with, why does it seem to come naturally to some people and evade others? Truthfully, it doesn’t come naturally at all. Living a fearless, confident life only comes from attitude adjustment and personal esteem boosts.
People who suffer from low self-confidence don’t necessarily lack praise from others. They lack praise from themselves. The days I started to feel more confident were the days I started telling myself that what I do is great and what I’ve achieved is outstanding. Even when I didn’t believe it, I was assuring myself that I’d done a good job at something. Eventually, that self-assurance motivated me to work harder and improve. Over time, I found that I was actually doing something well because others would praise me, too. Though I didn’t need approval from others to feel good, it reinforced my sense of pride.
I can remember one specific instance where this was applicable in my life. I’ve been a black belt for over three years now. Since my promotion, I’ve grown as a student and a teacher of martial arts. However, I was not always so sure of my abilities. The day I was to be promoted to black belt, I was told that the entire dojo (school for training in martial arts or self-defense) would be participating at the tournament. We all had to perform a kata (an individual training routine for martial artists similar to a dance routine for dancers) and we would be judged and ranked within our group of ten. I was nervous, to say the least. I used to be simply terrified of doing anything in front of people. Just before my turn, I was shaking and I felt sick to my stomach. Everything felt blurry. Even as I performed for the judges, I felt empty and mindless. When I finished and received my scores, I could feel the heat rise in my cheeks. I numbly returned to my seat and finally breathed. However, as ranking was called out, it so happens that I was surprised to learn that I came in first place. I didn’t know how but I ran and received my medal.
When the day was over, I wondered how I could possibly be good at something when I was so scared to do it. I realized that our fear holds us back from discovering our true strengths. All that time, I could have held my head high and looked poised instead of mortified. In the competitions since then, I have taken first place not just because of my talent, but also because of my visible fearlessness and confidence.
This idea of fear holding us back is universal and so obvious in everyday life. We are shown, through social media and everyday interactions that people who put themselves “out there” too much are showy attention hogs. A girl who wears so much makeup and posts a selfie online is “asking for attention.” But what if she just likes the way she looks? What if she’s just a confident woman and wants to share it with her friends? We are taught to shame people who love themselves. This leads to less and less people showing off their confidence. If we stop worrying about and fearing what others may think of us, we can fully, and without hesitation, plunge into life with no apprehension. Don’t be afraid of yourself and what you can do.
As I said earlier, those who lack self-confidence and self-esteem don’t necessarily lack praise from others. They do, however, lack praise from themselves. Truthfully, self-confidence must always begin and end with you. Because you are the only person who can ever really stand in the way of your success.