In layman’s language, one could describe Self-Confidence as a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment. Self-confidence usually works hand in hand with esteem. Esteem is confidence in one's own worth or abilities; self-respect.
For the past 5 years or so I have been approached by individuals both male and female who have said,” Oh you exude such confidence.” My response is usually an awkward smile or look followed by a “thank you!” because I don’t know how else to respond.
Truth is, I have not always been as confident or had the esteem that I do now. When I was in school (especially high school), I struggled a lot with self-confidence and esteem issues. I often had feelings and thoughts like; ‘Am I good enough, pretty enough, womanly enough, attractive enough, likeable, intelligent, loved enough by my family and friends?’ and so many more. Sounds like a lot, right? Well, I can assure you a lot of kids, teens, young adults and full on adults struggle with these same things and so much more.
Granted some or most of these are triggered by the environments in which individuals are born and raised, there is a sense of inadequacy that hits each one of us at some point in our lives.
That being said, I am so passionate about self-awareness and the discovery of self-identity because it’s extremely vital for self-growth and excellence which then feed into our with self-esteem and confidence (really, it’s a constant cycle of development). There is a saying that goes,” If you don’t know your own worth and value, don’t expect someone to calculate it for you.”
Funny thing is, I was raised in a Christian family and my grandparents often told me bible stories about how much God loves me, I attended Sunday School every Sunday and sang so many “Jesus loves me, this I know” songs and yet between the ages of 15-23, I could not comprehend how all this translated into who I was as an individual, as Lynn. I was loved as a child, that’s something I am always going to treasure. I was truly loved in the best way and by the very best people I know.
This love though was never enough whenever a flood of those feelings of inadequacy came gushing through my mind like waves at sea on a sailor’s bad night. This was usually followed by comparison with peers, jealousy and envy. Unfortunately, this is not something that a lot of us successfully outgrow or learn to deal with.
I can’t tell you exactly when I stopped feeling like this and built up the confidence I have now. All I know is that it has a lot to do with my faith. I know my readers are not going to be all Christian but for anyone out there who is not, I truly say its amazing and comforting to believe in something or someone bigger than yourself. There is an unseen vacuum within all human beings that cannot be wholly filled by any individual. When I started to work towards a stronger relationship with God (this is still ongoing L.O.L), I intentionally looked out for scripture that expresses what God thinks of me. Scriptures like Psalm 139 that talk about Him knowing me even before I was formed in my mother’s womb, I am a head not a tail, I am above and not below- Deuteronomy 28:13, I am more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus- Romans 8:37, I will never leave nor forsake you-Deuteronomy 31:6, He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing- Zephaniah 3:17 and one of my absolute favorites, Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. I could go on and on with scriptures that made me snap out of self-pity and self- inadequacy and continue to do that to this day when my mind tries to play Russian roulette with me.
I can’t lie and say, ‘Oh the way my family and friends love me gives me self-worth and confidence in myself.’ It’s amazing to be loved by those around us but if I can’t find something(s) to love about myself then those people’s love will just bounce off me. I know, I have introduced another concept, Self- Love.
To be continued......