Tuesday, March 4, 2014

You Know You Are A Confident Person When...

If there was something that I was lacking during my teenage years, it was confidence. I have been too much of a perfectionist my whole life, and I used to define my self-worth by what others think of me. My mom tried hard for many years to stop me from focusing on external factors, and to start worrying about how I see myself, but it was always easier said (or heard, for that matter) than done for me.

Only now, when I am rapidly approaching my 26th year of life, have I started realizing that what you read in all those Pinterest quotes is actually true: real happiness can only be found within ourselves; the art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things, and many more. I believe I am a confident woman now, with the tools to be able to give the finger to society when some aspect of me doesn't necessarily conform to its cookie-cutter standards. I am far from perfect; my many quirks and flaws (those that I desperately tried to mask in the past) are actually what make me, me and I have finally learned to come to terms with that. This is particularly hard to do when you grow up in a culture that defines you solely based on the way you look. But really, there is nothing more refreshing and liberating than to feel you are being true to yourself and not giving a crap about other people's judgmental nonsense.

Confidence takes many forms. It involves a lot of respect and love towards oneself; it takes strength, and it takes courage, but it always pays off. Being confident for me, for instance, means:

- Putting yourself out there is often underrated. Having a little space on the internet where you post your feelings, thoughts, emotions (and the occasional embarrassing pic!) is brave. People behind a computer screen are much more... "direct" (nice way to put it) than in real life, so sharing stuff for anyone to see and read is no minor feat.

- It takes tenacity and a strong spirit to be true to yourself. I talk about this a lot, because only last year I was able to clearly define myself and learn who I really am and what I want from life. It was eye-opening to say the least. I now feel so silly that I "wasted" all these years being who I am not.
We are not cookies out of the same mould so why try to be a version of what society deems "acceptable"? Screw that! For instance, no one in my broad circle of acquaintances writes, not even for a hobby, and here I am doing it, after many years of knowing that I loved it but being too frightened of being labelled "uncool". Now? No one can stop me!

- You have flaws, and so does everyone, but I think a great part of becoming more confident is to not take yourself too seriously. This for me is very difficult, because like I said, I am quite the perfectionist, but I am getting better at it, and have learned to make fun of myself from time to time (such as here). By this I don't mean that you shouldn't try to improve your weak spots, but that you need to accept the fact that you can't possibly excel at everything. Yes, I'll never be a chef, so what? is that really going to define my happiness?

- I understand now that acknowledging your strengths isn't cocky or pretentious, it is healthy and a sign of high self-esteem. Stand up to the world, say "Yes, I am actually really good at (insert verb here), thank you very much."

- Identify which things in your life you should have 100% say over (stuff like career choices, motherhood, etc.) I believe that if you feel strongly about an aspect of your life and you are doing YOUR very best, you owe it to yourself to not care what other people's versions of very best are.
Sure, accept well-intentioned advice, but don't base your life solely on what other people think. For me, the key aspect of my life where I don't let ANYONE meddle except (obviously!) my husband, is the way we raise our son. People will always love commenting (sometimes nicely and sometimes not so!) on how you are doing raising another person, and I made it a habit of never listening to them when I know all they want is to impose their beliefs on us. You raise your kids how you see fit, we'll raise ours how we see fit, thank you very much. (rant over, but it was really infuriating when people said stuff to me like "seriously!? strawberries!? he is only 8 months old! the alergies! the reflux! the poisooooon!!!").

- Oh, the comfort zone... This one is a biggie! It is never easy to leave it, but I think that everyone should. It builds character and, more importantly in my opinion, creates the best memories and learning experiences. When you are confident in yourself, leaving the comfort zone excites you: you know you are equipped with the tools you need to tackle the hard road ahead. When you aren't, you run the risk of always being too afraid to leave the comfort zone and starting to long for a life that isn't the one you are living.

- Surrounding yourself with people who value you and bring you up instead of down is paramount. Those people that belittle others in order to make themselves feel better are the ones you need to stay miles away from. Confidence means realizing who is actually being constructive to your life, and who is only filling it with regret and self-doubt, and having the strength to stay away from them.
For many years I really struggled with the mean-spirited comments someone close to me used to make. I still have to see them on a regular basis, but only recently have I gotten to the point where I no longer let them have the power to bring me down. And you know what? since their comments are not getting the desired results, they have decreased immensely.

- Jealousy. For me, this was linked to being (again!) too perfectionist during my high school years so I used to get jealous sometimes when I didn't get the highest grades or didn't have the prettiest clothes or the prettiest face. I was being totally ridiculous, but not only that, I was forgetting how lucky I was and many of my qualities were overlooked for trying to be the first at some competition that only existed in my head. There are always people who are prettier / smarter / richer / funnier, and that is a reality of life, which the sooner we accept the happier we will be.

It seems like I've been writing forever (are you still there?), and I didn't quite expect the post to turn out quite so serious. But I think it is so important to be happy with who we are, flaws and all, and if perhaps you are having one of those weeks when you are second-guessing yourself too much, this post might be of some help.

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  1. I loved this post! Such an important topic. I was always super confident in high school, surprisingly it wasn't until college that I lost some of that. I couldn't agree more about getting a little older and realizing how self motivated confident has to be. Thanks for sharing this!!


  2. This is an awesome post. I'm pinning it. I love the part where you say that your quirks and flaws are what make you, you. Because it's true. Even though I hate my flaws sometimes, without them, I just wouldn't be me.


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