Confidence is everything.
It’s so much more than just feeling good about yourself. It’s the measure of what you project onto others, it’s the tool that enables you to actively work towards what you want, and it’s the voice you use to talk to yourself and others. And when it comes down to it, confidence is simply energy. That energy holds the power to either push you forward or hold you back and decides what energy you attract. So yes, confidence truly is everything.
I’ve found in recent years just how much confidence drives everything I do. Before I ever found my confidence, I never realized its influence over my life—or rather, how much the lack of it had over my life. I had spent most of my life feeling down on myself, inferior to others and insecure, and my self-esteem was just low. I don’t know if this was a product of my social environment or if it was just my nature, but one thing I do know is that I’ve always been sensitive. So, I may not know the origins of my insecurities, but I know that I am deeply affected by them.
From early on, I took my insecurities out on other people. I would always feel like the third wheel or the odd one out and feel insecure if anything happened without me. I drifted apart from people because if I didn’t like myself, how could they ever like me? I was even the toxic one—feeling jealous and possessive and putting others down if they didn’t give me the validation I was looking for because I couldn’t give it to myself. And this was just in elementary school.
It’s clear now that I’ve been able to reflect and process the true motivations behind why I acted the way I did when I was younger through my late teens and even to this day. I was just an insecure girl looking for validation somewhere beyond me because a subconscious part of me was able to recognize that I didn’t have it. This takes a lot for me to admit because, for a while, I could never admit being this person to myself. Knowing how I used to act filled me with so much guilt and pain and only reinforced my lack of self-worth because I didn’t believe I could deserve anything good if I was able to act like this towards others. Yet the thing is, for most of my life, I never realized what I was doing or that it was related to confidence in the slightest. I was a slave to my lack of self-worth and as it controlled me, toxic thoughts also turned into toxic actions.
I’ve had to forgive myself for all the actions I performed when I had so little within me, but we can return to that process at a later time. The most important thing is that the only way I learned where these actions stemmed from and the only way I learned how to control them was when I discovered what confidence was and that it’s not as rigid as I made it out to be. And this process wasn’t easy either. To give you an idea, I discovered my confidence after one of the hardest years of my life. At the risk of being disregarded for my youth and naivety, this process happened during my early college years. Unfortunately, I now know that my confidence came from external forces like other people and situational events. I say unfortunately because when it comes to getting my confidence back today in the same way, I can’t. I can’t repeat those circumstances and I can’t repeat the events in my life that triggered my confidence at that specific time. I realized that while confidence can change with environmental and lifestyle changes, it can really only come from within. If you always leave your confidence in the hands of external circumstances like people, places, or events, you are simply projecting a fleeting form of it rather than inheriting a permanent one.
But at the time, those external forces were exactly what I needed. It’s like everything that happened in my life that year, every person I met, every conversation I had, every situation that happened to me happened for a reason. It was when I learned that the way people treat you is a complete reflection of them and not you because, for the first time, people were accepting me and pursuing me, even at my lowest point. It was the first time I learned that holding grudges and staying silent isn’t the answer, because it fuels anger and confusion rather than healing and moving on. It was the first time that I learned how uncomfortable and empowering going outside of your comfort zone really is and how much that pushed me to break out of old cycles that were never good for me in the first place. And after everything, I learned that I could do it. That I had the strength within me to go outside my comfort zone and overcome these challenges. At the end of it all, I literally told myself, “I did that.”
So finding my confidence that first time took a lot of things. Looking back, I would say one of the biggest shocks that led to some of the biggest impacts was going outside my comfort zone and doing something that completely challenged me. It was being around completely new people in a new environment for the first time and learning more about myself than I ever have. When I came back from that year, along with a trip that changed my life, I truly felt like I could handle anything.
I’m giving you a glimpse into my story to also tell you that it was truly the most liberating feeling in the world. After a year of feeling trapped and suffocated and confused and alone, I came out of it feeling freer than I ever have. I was completely unbothered. Instead of constantly worrying about whether others were going to leave me or dislike me, I didn’t care and didn’t base my worth on other’s opinions. Instead of feeling this innate inferiority every time I talked to someone, I felt strong and capable. Instead of seeing what I and others lacked and feeling like my circumstances weren’t good enough, I was finally able to enjoy the presence of what I did have. My relationships felt so much stronger because I was accepting people for who they were after finally accepting who I was. My confidence led me to feel secure in whatever the future brought because whatever it was, I felt like I could handle it. Confidence became like a filter where I finally saw the good and attracted the good. It was truly life-changing.
Yet it’s been a few years since that first wave of confidence. My future felt bright after that first surge of confidence, and yet the following year ended up being worse than the first. My relationships suffered. I felt lost. And while my confidence carried me for a bit, it started to diminish. And that was when I learned that confidence is fleeting.
We’ll skip any further narration of my life story between that time to the present, but it’s safe to say that I’ve learned a lot more lessons since then. I’ve learned that a huge part of it isn’t simply overcoming challenges, but it’s also honoring yourself. It’s self-validation, one of the most authentic acts of self-love you could do. It’s listening to your thoughts, feelings, and emotions and honoring them because you deserve to. It’s also taking back control in your life, shifting the power that you thought others had over you to yourself, and evaluating what others add to your life. As I’ve heard somewhere before, when you’re meeting someone, they’re auditioning for your show, not the other way around. It’s knowing that confidence, like money or a relationship, can disappear the moment you stop working on it. It is a constant and active effort you make in yourself because maybe through my story, you can see the power that confidence has over every aspect. I’ve learned that no matter how good your life may seem on the outside, confidence truly comes from within. It comes from fulfillment, from self-validation, from control. The truth is, not everyone, including myself, can always have these extravagant forms of change like life-changing trips or experiences that lead to self-confidence. Everyone finds it and reflects it in a different way, and maybe one of the most important things I’ve learned is that no matter where you are or what you’re doing, confidence is a daily mindset. You have to find the source of what you feel you’re lacking and work on it every single day. And through those days you feel like you can’t do it anymore or feel weak or you’re losing your grip, you have to love yourself. Because when you start to love yourself through all the messes, you start to give yourself unconditional love for yourself as a whole rather than finding fault with the individual pieces you think you lack.
What I’m trying to say is, even after transforming my experiences into lessons and feeling like I know everything there is to know about confidence, I currently have never felt such a lack of it. I have once again left my confidence in the hands of external people and situations, and as a result, I feel that I’ve lost it again. And now, I can feel myself reverting back to toxic patterns, jealous tendencies, and insecure and negative thoughts. And this manifests in every area of my life.
I am trying to get my confidence back. I’m trying to recognize that even though I don’t have all the answers right now, I’m still worthy. I’m trying to see that even though I don’t physically feel my confidence, it’s still within me. I’m trying to love myself and nurture myself through this time and check myself before I let my lack of confidence lead me to act on destructive thought patterns. I’m trying to remember that I am always growing and my awareness will eventually lead me to where I need to be. I’m trying to recognize that maybe here and now is actually exactly where I need to be, even if it doesn’t feel like it
This was a little bit of my story. My confidence journey. I hope it inspires you to unlock your own confidence within you and enjoy the journey, whatever it might look like.