I believe confidence is something that takes effort to not only build but also maintain. There are several different facets to self-confidence, and I’ll talk about image today. For most of my life I struggled with confidence in my appearance, which in turn led to low self-esteem in other areas. Though it was a complex problem for me, one major issue was my height. I am 6ft tall; way above the average female’s height of 5 feet 3 inches. I have three sisters, and they stand between 5’3 and 5’4. So, growing up I was the tallest girl, and I despised it. I couldn’t share their shoes and would try to borrow clothes that often didn’t fit properly. Throughout my childhood I felt awkward and different, as if I stuck out like a sore thumb. People would comment or make jokes, and this only made it worse for me. This frustration with my height grew as I got older. Jeans didn’t fit properly, long sleeve shirts were never quite long enough, and most shoe stores didn’t carry my size. Shopping? I didn’t enjoy it and would never try anything on. I had convinced myself that the shorter women were more attractive than taller women and shopping had to be much easier for them. (Until, I met a very petite lady who struggled with finding shoes small enough for her). This led to focusing on other things I found unappealing until I eventually didn’t like anything about myself. This continued into my 20’s. It took time to overcome this obstacle; it was a tough process and a continuous effort.
Over the years I have learned to love myself. But first I had to stop comparing myself to others! I would acknowledge everything good or attractive about another person and think about how I didn’t measure up. The more I focused on others the less I valued who I was. Then I began to realize that everyone is different and beautiful in their own unique way and this included me. Sure, it sounds cliché; but it’s the truth. I understood the fact that I wouldn’t be liked by everyone and neither would I be disliked by everyone. Even I wouldn’t like everyone, for that matter. Am I so vain that all people have to love me and consider me beautiful? No. I finally understood the saying that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. But what matters most is how I view myself.
I’ve heard people give advice to wear makeup or buy a new outfit to increase confidence in your image. Personally, I disagree with this because it doesn’t deal with the inner issues. It’s more along the lines of faking it until you make it or covering up the problem. Makeup and cute clothes are not a solution. I tried them and failed. I had to appreciate myself for who God made me The key was getting to a place where I could accept who I was. I was a very tall, slim, dark skinned black girl and that’s who I’d always be. It begins with a change in mindset. Self-confidence starts with accepting who you are, accepting where you are in life, and even accepting mistakes you’ve made. It is accepting the fact that no one is perfect and no one has it all together. Once you can do that then you’re able to start truly benefiting from those things that will better you inside and out.
It is also beneficial to say positive things about yourself. Tell yourself you’re beautiful. Think on the compliments you have been given. Avoid focusing on negative things or failures and instead focus on your accomplishments and talents. If you feel as though you don’t have any of that then I encourage you to think longer and harder. Also, begin to do things that will help you feel accomplished and proud of yourself. This is the truth I had to grasp; this is who I am and I cannot change it, but I can be the best version of myself there is. I also believe that about you!
I strongly advise doing things to build yourself as a person. This could be just about anything you desire to do, from learning a language to learning how to make something, or even taking on a new hobby. You might even work on certain traits you have in order to become a better friend, wife, daughter, mother etc. Self-improvement is crucial to success and will give you a better view of yourself. You’ll discover that life isn’t about the superficial things.
Now, I am far from perfect in the confidence area. However, I always take note of how far I have come. Improvement takes time and dedication. Only you know where you started; some progress is better than none at all. I’m getting better every day. These are a few suggestions I believe will help those of you on a similar journey to greater self-confidence. Until next time… Love yourself. And remember you are fearfully and wonderfully made by God. (Psalms 139:14).
What are some areas you’ve struggled with self-confidence?
What actions have you taken to build your confidence? What you share may help someone else!