If there was one thing I struggled with time and time again, it was confidence in myself. It was really hard for me to see my own worth as a person. I think my personality contributed to that because I am not an outgoing person. I am very introverted and shy, and because of that, I always had a conflict between wanting to be recognized by my peers and at the same time wanting to blend in and be unnoticed.
It really took me a long time considering I had really no major issues growing up. My home life was fine, I didn't have anything traumatizing happen to me as a kid. I just naturally had low self esteem. I hated my complexion, I hated my hair, I was confused about my mixed race, I hated my height, my body and my face shape. Of course there were days when I thought I looked ok, but there were never really any moments where I could seriously look in the mirror and think, "Wow I look good today."
I placed my confidence in the hands of others, which was a huge mistake. I went by the guidelines of society. I leaned towards Asian beauty standards, which took a toll on me since I am half white. I couldn't understand why I wasn't as beautiful as the Asian models. I used to think things like "I wish I were full Asian" and "Why wasn't I born Japanese or Korean?" I tried to straighten my hair stick straight like the Japanese models did. My hair quality suffered as a result. It was dry, over processed and frizzy. Yet I continued to straighten everyday. I wore ulzzang make up even though eyeliner does not suit my eyes, and circle lenses, which eventually lead to scratched corneas because I had worn a cheap pair for too long.
No matter how much I matured in other areas of my life and my personality, I could never bring my confidence up. I never felt enough, I never felt like I was worth something. I think that's why I had so many problems with men in my late teens. And ever after I was married at the young age of 20, I was still self conscious and insecure. I would assume my husband was going to cheat in me eventually. I would hound him everytime he even looked a a girl who I deemed prettier than me. I drove him insane with my insecurities. I based my confidence on how many compliments he gave me. As a result, I would often fish for compliments and it would annoy him.
"Why is it that you ask if you're pretty and I 'say yes you are,' and then you don't believe me?" He asked, annoyed.
I did not know.
I wish I could say I know the answer or the key to having confidence, but unfortunately I think it's a mix of things, some that can be controlled and some that cannot.
Clearing up my skin from cystic acne really helped. I have a temporary solution to the acne problem for now called Spirinolactone. But I think what also contributed to the part that can be controlled in gaining confidence are the following:
1.) Learning how to take care of my body properly.
2.) Being on my own and being able to support myself.
3.) Learning how to become more decisive and know what I want in my life.
4.) Finding my personal style.
I think those things you can control. They create a foundation. Because believe me, confidence does get teared down when things happen in your life. The key is having a solid confidence that can withstand those downfalls. The kind of confidence that does not waiver when someone insults you, when you fail at something or when everyone seems to be against you. Confidence is believing in yourself despite nobody else believing while your world is collapsing.
You will know when you have that kind of confidence. You will powerful when you walk through a room of people. You will be able to maintain eye contact with feeling awkward. You will feel completely comfortable sitting next to a stranger and choosing to either talk to them or stay silent instead of worrying about what to do or say. It takes a while. But when you get there, you will find that you are a lot stronger than you ever thought you could be.
It doesn't mean you won't be awkward or clumsy, especially if it's part of who you are; you'll just feel fine being awkward and clumsy. It used to bother me when I had awkward moments or when I would trip over nothing. But now I can laugh at it and not let it define me as a person.
All of the things I did to gain real confidence I did not knowing it would help. And really, the maturity part only came around the beginning of last summer. At some point you get tired of putting yourself down. You promise yourself that if you aren't happy with the way you look or something about your personality, you will work on it. And that's what I did. I ate healthy, exercised and focused on me instead of the girls I wished I was. And it really started to take off when I started my new job last July.
I went into the job not knowing anyone, but I had developed my personal style and wanted to take myself more seriously than my last job. And it worked! For the first time in my life, I felt completely confident. People noticed and I made friends easily. I can't say that I didn't have many other life problems during the last seven months since then, but confidence has not been one of them!
Yes, I still get jealous sometimes. Yes, I still get self conscious sometimes. But I don't put myself down anymore. I know that I am worth something. I can contribute. I can look good. And most of all, I really do love myself now.
I used to wonder how the hell I can just "gain confidence," mostly because I did not know what confidence meant. Now I know, and I also know that it's different for everyone. It's a combination of knowing who you are and learning to work with what you have and love yourself for who you are.
Labels: Beauty, Confidence, fashion, how to gain confidence, thoughts