With the prevalence of social media, celebrities, and “Instagram models,” more and more people struggle with body image and confidence today. Growing up, I always struggled with my confidence and how I viewed myself. Once social media became a bigger part of my life, I felt it getting worse. I would see celebrities on Instagram, and wonder why couldn’t I look like that? I was changing myself to look more like these people on social media whether it be what I wore to how I styled my hair; but I noticed that even though I tried to look like these Instagram models, I still lacked confidence in myself, no matter what I put on. If I wanted to make a change I needed to accept myself for who I already was. My confidence was never going to get better if kept pretending to be someone I wasn’t.
Sophomore year of high school, I told myself I would stop comparing myself to others—but that’s easier said than done. I started focusing more on things that made me feel confident instead of avoiding things that hurt my self-esteem. I’m only human and it’s normal to compare myself to someone else. I invested time in myself whether it be getting my nails done, doing my hair, or something really simple like organizing my notes for school. These things made me feel better about myself and definitely boosted my confidence. Once I stopped focusing on what other people were doing, I started concentrating on myself and everything that made me feel good about myself.
To get where I am now took a lot of time and the biggest lesson I learned was this: confidence doesn’t build itself overnight but it is so worth working on. Once I started to feel good, I noticed my mannerisms change. I wouldn’t dread looking at myself in the mirror, when I took selfies I didn’t delete all of them, and when I got ready I was doing it because it made me feel good about myself and not for anyone else. It was little things like this that made me realize that it was the little changes that make big differences.
Now, as a junior in college, I can confidently say that I have changed for the better. I find it easier to make friends now because I’m not trying to be anyone but myself. It’s less stressful speaking and answering questions in class because I’m not afraid to embarrass myself in front of class—I’m there for my education not anyone else’s. I take more risks and go on more adventures because of my confidence because I am excited of what the future holds. I can’t lie and say that I never feel down about myself, but I have to tell myself that it’s normal to feel down sometimes and it’s alright and remind myself that it’s only temporary.
Finally, I want to leave you some tips for people who may be struggling with their confidence. I won’t tell you the clichés that you hear everywhere like, “smile more” and “dress well”. Confidence isn’t that easy—if it were, more people would have it. It’s all in your mind and you have to give yourself permission to feel confident with what you already have. Stop waiting to give yourself confidence when something happens—when you pass your exam, when you change your appearance, when you get a job—give yourself permission to have confidence now. Do it for you, and only you.
-Tiffany D., Girl Talk Intern