Confidence in the New Year


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Image: Kieferpix

Isabella Bishop, Staff Writer

I wasn’t allowed to have social media until my freshman year of high school. When I finally got it, I was amazed at how confident everyone seemed. But while on FaceTime with one of my friends, she was contemplating whether or not she wanted to post a picture. As we were talking about the selfie (in which I thought she looked amazing), she went over every inch of the photo and found every single flaw she could. As her friend, it hurt me to see her talk about herself like that. It also made me realize something: confidence is challenging. It isn’t something we can just suddenly understand.  Like any good habit, it takes time, practice, and dedication. So, how do we get to that point? How do we learn to love ourselves, be our own cheerleaders, and stop caring about what people think? It may not seem like much, but I have a few steps that have definitely helped me along the way.

Step 1: Take pride in your achievements. It may be as simple as celebrating a good grade on a hard test or just getting out of bed in the morning when you really don’t want to. Even something that seems small can have a huge effect on your mental health for the day. You shouldn’t beat yourself up because you think you could’ve done better. It’s okay to have high expectations for yourself, but you should also be willing and able to celebrate your achievements.

Step 2: Eliminate all of the negative comments that you make about yourself. This one takes the most time. There are many moments in our day-to-day lives where we feel the need to comment negatively about ourselves. Maybe we answer a question wrong in class or trip when we’re walking down the hallway. When these minor inconveniences happen, we need to remember to be kind to ourselves. Everyone makes mistakes, and you shouldn’t expect your life to go perfectly. When you make an error, try not to use hateful words towards yourself. Don’t call yourself names or make fun of the way you said something. Think of it like this: you’re walking in the hallway and you hear some random person call your friend a mean name because she made a mistake in class. Wouldn’t you want to stand up for her? That is the same reaction you should have for yourself. Stand up for yourself and surround yourself with as much positive energy as possible.

Step 3: Back your decisions (don’t follow the norm). We make so many decisions in a single day. What time we want to get up, what we want to eat for breakfast, even what uniform we’re going to wear. These are decisions that don’t have a ton of meaning. But when it comes to bigger decisions, you should not be afraid to speak your mind. In today’s world, not everyone is going to agree on everything. I know that I have had multiple discussions with people over social media, texting, and in-person about our different views of the world. The main thing that I take from these discussions is the importance of backing my decisions. I decided to support the things that I believe in. And while I might disagree with someone else’s choice, I need to realize that I cannot force my beliefs on someone else. We all grew up in different environments, with different stories, and have our truths. As a society, we must stop changing our minds because we’re afraid of hurting someone else’s feelings. Knowing what you believe in and being able to stand by your beliefs respectfully is one of the keys to staying confident.

Step 4: Surround yourself with support. On my very first day of fourth grade, I was the only new student in my elementary school. I was nervous and was worried about making friends. But later that day, I met a girl who I thought would be my best friend. We talked all the time, sat together at lunch, and even went to the same middle school. We were practically inseparable. We were partners in every class, had the same friends, and talked all the time after school. But one day, she said something that upset me. She criticized the way I looked. And after that, I decided that I didn’t want to be friends anymore. It hurt me because I never thought in a million years that she would do something like that. But as I began thinking about it, there were other times that she had done mean things, but I chose to ignore them because I was too afraid of cutting things off with her.  I wasn’t surrounding myself with the kind of people I needed most. Your friends are supposed to support you, love you, and be there for you no matter what. When we have people around us that make passive-aggressive remarks, act toxic, or just hurt us in general, it chips away at our self-confidence. The same words my friend said played over and over again whenever I would try on clothes or get dressed for years. However, since then, I’ve learned what kind of people I need to be around. Now, I’ve had the same friends since freshman year, and I don’t think I would have made it this far without them. They support me, call me when I’m upset, surprise me, and are the nicest and most genuine people I have ever known. They help me be more confident and realize the potential that I have in life. These are the kinds of friends we all need. If your inner circle isn’t treating you with the love and respect that you deserve, it may be time to make some changes.

Confidence isn’t an overnight change. It isn’t some remedy you can order off Amazon as some quick and easy fix. Whether it’s getting a job, making a new friend, or even posting something on social media, mastering confidence is just one step on the road toward a happier life.