I’ve only lived 15 years, which is over 5000 days, and it is said that the average person lives 28 000 days. As those days increase, you learn more, you grow and you change – whilst the world changes with you. Then, at some point in your life, you begin to realise that you have very few days left. And you realise that you didn’t live fully; because you found yourself wishing you could have done more. But then those days that were once increasing; have come to a stop – and it’s eventually too late.
Life is like a painting; you begin with a blank, white canvas that is waiting to be filled. There is no sense of character, no sense of place; which is often how you feel when you have no confidence.
So there is something I must ask, what is confidence?
Some people see it as bravery, courage, trust, knowing you’re better than everyone else or knowing you can doing everything, because let’s face it, you’re just that good. In some senses, that may seem like confidence.
I am a quote reading and YouTube watching fanatic; so along with my personal experience thus far, I’ve learnt that confidence is having the ability to stop comparing yourself with other people. Since this society is driven by social media such as (do I even have to remind you) – Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr etc. there is an immense amount of pressure to look a certain way, in which people constantly compare themselves to these figures they see online.
It’s a little ironic because I was always against social media, particularly Instagram and I am currently a user of it since I started my blog. And now that I have it; I actually think the concept behind it is truly brilliant. Whenever you post a photo, whether it’s a selfie, a beach or you’re breakfast etc. it’s an insight into how you’re feeling or what you’re doing, at a certain moment in time. For me personally, it’s a creative outlook where I can share photographs of the food I make, the sunsets/sunrises I witness, and a chance to capture anything of natural beauty – with the aim to inspire others.
Now at this stage; the white canvas you began with – probably has a rough, pencilled outline of what you wish to paint. After a bit of erasing and fixing it up, you think you have the perfect starting point. Then you continue by adding the first streaks of colour to the canvas; and you already feel doubtful as it’s not turning out the way you imagined.
This “roadblock” is called insecurity in terms of your confidence.
So what causes this feeling of uncertainty? As you compare yourself to people on social media, you’re actually comparing yourself to an edited, or even perfected, version of themselves.
You start to lose your sense of self-worth, which leads to a feeling of desire – when people wish they had someone’s body, hair or clothes. However, it goes even deeper than that; because there are people who are longing for someone else’s LIFE. They post these pictures of their travels, doing things people wouldn’t normally do, or going to parties you may not be invited to. So I’ve seen a number of comments reading “your life is perfect”, “I wish I had your life”, or the classic #relationshipgoals.
There are a tonne of articles outlining the negative effects of social media, and the ways in which it can ruin your self-esteem – so how did the simple task of uploading a photo seem so threatening to the viewer? Some may say that social media is the underlying problem; but the main issue is US.
It’s the way the human brain works, as it’s almost impossible not to make comparisons.
We compare things every day; simple things like which apples to buy, which route is faster or which is the better phone. Then there are complex comparisons such as comparing school marks or who’s better at doing a certain thing; hence it has come to a point where we compare ourselves to other people.
It seems simple, right? Do not compare = Confidence.
Well it’s easier said than done. The simplest way to stop this comparative mindset, is acceptance of yourself and your differences. When you look in the mirror, you are the most critical of your flaws and you think everyone will notice them. But the truth is, no one notices and the only person that does is YOU. If you keep scrutinising yourself you will get nowhere; you will feel more insecure, you will lose self-worth; you will lose your sense of purpose, and continue to envision these perfect people with perfect lives – as you compare yourself to these images on social media.
So a key part of confidence; is acceptance of yourself and embracing your flaws – as these qualities make you unique.
As you gain more confidence through acceptance, your painting will also gain more colour and begin to take shape. You have pushed passed the insecurities and doubts you created at the beginning, to continue your masterpiece.
There are two more vital components of confidence – acceptance of the negatives and acceptance of the positives.
So acceptance of the negatives, what do I mean by this? Well a person’s confidence is easily ruined when someone says bad things about them or when they are faced with rejection. There are two ways you can go about this. Firstly, you can let their comment get to your head and give up, because you have lost your confidence. Secondly, you’re the one that chooses to accept it – so if someone tells you you’re not good enough; you don’t have to believe that, as it is now your goal to prove them wrong.
Don’t be disheartened about the mean or nasty words you hear. If you lose your confidence by thinking about the negative words people say to you – it won’t be them telling you you’re not good enough, it will eventually be yourself telling you you’re not good enough.
It’s truly up to you whether you to choose to accept it or not.
Then there is acceptance of the positives. A person’s confidence is obviously lifted when someone says kind words to you or gives you a compliment. Why are humans so happy when they receive compliments? I don’t know. However, these kind words mean nothing if you don’t have self-acceptance. Sometimes, people can say all these beautiful things to you or about you, but somehow it doesn’t make you feel any better. And I guess it took me a while to learn this so I’m telling you now – no matter how many people like you or how many kind words you receive; they all have little worth if you don’t like yourself for who you are.
Confidence is a very broad and large topic, and I tried to be as succinct as I could. So it comes down to two main things: do not compare yourself and acceptance of yourself. I am not sure if this post is even relevant to the idea of confidence, but like most things in life – the first step is being yourself. Imagine if you’re in a room with people who look the same and did the same thing; give yourself a moment to think about what sets you apart from the rest of them.
It’s taken me a while to gain my confidence, but it’s certain to say that I’m a lot more confident than I used to be. Somtimes confidence can be perceived as arrogance, because when you are very confident you seem very arrogant. But there’s a fine line between the two. I don’t even think I’m that confident and people are always talking about “confident women”. I still don’t understand why it’s so important to be confident, despite all the things I have written. I guess, to me personally, confidence and being yourself are the fundamental starting points to begin the journey of life. A journey where you live fully, chase your dreams and overcome fear.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my painting to be half-finished by the time I’m on my last days. I could say that I didn’t have enough time to finish it, even though I had the same amount as everyone else. You don’t know what will happen in life – as you don’t know how many days you’ll get to live. So it’s important to have the confidence and acceptance to start living now. It’s important to have the confidence to pursue those dreams, rather than waiting for them to happen. It’s important to have the confidence to complete that painting.
The painting that was once a blank white canvas, where a pencilled outline was drawn, then little splotches and streaks of colour were added – to complete the masterpiece. It resembles how you created your life; and how, in whatever amount of days you had, lived fully in the moment and lived a life full of colour.