When I think of my freshman year of high school, I mostly remember feeling insecure and anxious day in and day out. We all know what its like to doubt ourselves- whether it be in the midst of middle school, the months after a nasty breakup, or in the moment that you find out that you didn’t get the job/internship/acceptance letter.
Insecurity sucks. It’s a terrible feeling. But what a lot of people fail to realize is that insecurity is manageable. Whether you want to make yourself happy or make yourself miserable- it is completely in your power. Luckily, somewhere between freshman year and today, I took the “make-yourself-happy-route.” Here’s what I learned:
When you cultivate confidence in yourself…
1. You stop needing to be validated.
So you want to take an art class? Go for it. Considering getting ice cream tonight? Great idea.
Young women, especially, are notorious for needing reassurance and approval of their every move; yet, they are the only ones who face the consequences. Of course it makes sense to consult someone regarding the major life decisions, and sometimes you just need a push in the right direction. But when it comes to the smaller decisions, weigh your options and take a plunge.
2. Opportunity knocks far more often.
People who are confident put themselves out there and are more likely to take risks. Whether it be networking for job opportunities, or starting a conversation in a room full of strangers, you’ll often find that opening yourself up to new things enhances your life and brings an incredible sense of fulfillment.
3. Your relationships become more fun.
It’s not uncommon for self-doubting people to feel like their relationships are less than solid. People who feel insecure in their relationships are more likely to get “knocked over” by trivial things- whether it’s a friend forgetting to call or text back, or their S.O. calling for a rain check. When you feel confident in yourself and your relationships, you see these things in a different light. You remember that your loved ones’ intentions are good, life happens, and that the slip-up was not about you.
4. Your sense of self-worth trumps failure.
So, you took that art class and you failed miserably. Or maybe that job opportunity wasn’t the right fit for you. While minor (or major) setbacks can be at least a little upsetting for most people, confidence makes the bumps feel easier. Instead of blaming yourself for mishaps and flaws, you remember that you are strong, smart, funny, kind, and hardworking and that your failures are part of life. With a sense of self-respect and self-worth, you get through the tough stuff and usually end up feeling stronger on the other side.
6. You begin to love yourself a bit more.
When you cultivate more confidence in yourself, you’ll notice that cruising through life is more enjoyable and more fulfilling. Diane Von Furstenberg once said, “When a woman becomes her own best friend, life is easier.” Her words ring true for men and women alike. Coasting through life with respect, kindness, and encouragement for yourself changes the game. Confidence brings all of those things, and leaves many people with a newfound sense of security and certainty in themselves.
7. Life becomes easier.
Imagine going through your days constantly feeling offended, saddened, stressed, and depleted. Sounds like hell, right? Now imagine spending the rest of your years feeling strong, sure of yourself, and happy with your own choices. Life becomes easier. Sure, it’s hard to feel awesome 24/7 and there will probably be crappy days where feeling confident and poised seems like a lot of work. But take it from me- a life where you feel a little more solid in yourself and a little less scared is a life worth striving for.
In the words of Joe Namath, “When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have a lot of fun, you can do amazing things.”