The simple tip that boosted my self-confidence
It's natural for us to go through periods where we don't feel very confident. Aimee, 17, shares a simple analogy that helps her when she's struggling with low self-esteem.
We’re not born with confidence. It takes a long time to learn to love ourselves, surround ourselves with people who love us for who we are, and to view our flaws as quirks.
We see so many posts on social media of people living their ‘best life’, and without even realising it we compare ourselves to them, wishing we had their confidence and self-esteem, or even their lifestyle. It’s hard to realise that flaws don’t make us weak or imperfect, they make us human.
When your confidence takes a hit, it can be so hard to come back. But you still do. And that is amazing.
A few days ago I was doubting myself. I’d finally found this amazing group of friends after a difficult and complicated past regarding friendships, but I was beginning to wish I was more like them. They could make anyone laugh, so I thought why can’t I? Why can’t I hold a conversation like anyone else? I felt that if I left the group, nobody would be worse off. This was really difficult to deal with.
Sometimes the meanest criticism we receive comes from ourselves. Whether it's anger, disappointment, shame, hate or distrust, it can be easy to turn these feelings inwards and direct them at ourselves.
Often when I can’t find anything to blame my problems on, I turn to myself. It feels like the logical thing. If I fail a test, I tell myself it must be because I’m not smart enough, not because the test itself was too hard. This can be a really hard habit to break.
You may have heard the phrase “We are our own worst critics'', and it's true. Whenever I hear it, I think of a lovely analogy I once saw. Our inner voice is like a vinyl record with two sides - a positive one and a negative one. Our positive record inspires us, reminds us of our dreams, tells us what amazing people we are and how much we add to the world. As you can guess, the negative one does the opposite. This is the voice that comments on what might be slightly wrong with us - our newest acne breakout, the stretch marks or the stomach that isn’t as flat as other people’s. It's the voice that doubts ourselves, focuses on what went wrong and what we didn’t do rather than what went right and what we did do.
We can choose what to play, but also what we listen to. You have the power to change the record.
When I was feeling low, I had a long chat with someone close to me about how I was feeling about myself and they taught me one of the most important lessons I’ve ever been taught: Everyone brings something different.
We all have something to offer the world. For me, I send loads of quotes to my friends whenever they’re sad or nervous. I thought, if I left, who would send the quotes? Who would make sure someone upset gets the love they deserve?
It’s so easy to say “don’t compare yourself to other people,” but it’s much harder to actually do it. So how about we do something much easier and focus on ourselves? Rather than focussing on others so much that we make comparisons and put ourselves down, focus on what you love about yourself. Make a list. Do something to make you proud. Write a story or draw a picture. Do something only you could do. Create something only you could create.
Do this and you will see how much you have to offer the world, and that it really wouldn’t be the same without you.
Author: Aimee, 17
Where to get help
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