Learning Confidence

Leniya Morrow, features editor
A Black man sitting in a blue chair reading a book. A round side table is to the left.
Pexels free stock photo

Confidence doesn’t have to be loud. It’s not always the person who speaks up in class or the star of the show. It is the person who knows how to love themselves, even when they are not perfect. They know that they don’t have to live up to others’ expectations of beauty, success, and intelligence in order to determine their worth. It is the person who knows themselves.

There are a few skills that we can learn that will help us be more secure in ourselves. A lot of us will learn this as we progress through life, however, these are always skills that can be worked upon throughout one self-love journey.

Learning to trust yourself: One big part of confidence is being able to validate yourself. The first step in doing this is by trusting your intuition and gut feelings. When we trust ourselves, we become more sure of our capabilities, helping us to exude confidence in whatever we do. When we know how we feel, we are more likely to be sure of what we want and be able to set healthy boundaries. Instead of looking externally for the answers, take a look within. 

Learning to affirm yourself: It may sound corny, but give yourself compliments every day. Even if you don’t believe it at first. Don’t just give notice to your external qualities like appearance. Give yourself affirmations that have substance. Say things to yourself that make you feel good at your core. 

Stop negative self-talk. Seriously: Many of us have heard this one, but if we repeat something enough times, it starts to become our reality. Beating ourselves up over small mistakes, picking out our flaws and consistent self-deprecating jokes can have an adverse impact on our self-image. We must be mindful of the way that we speak to ourselves. When our thoughts become self-deprecating, slow down, breathe and try to combat it with a neutralizing thought. This can be an affirmation, a compliment, or even distracting yourself with another activity. It is easier said than done, these thought patterns can be deeply rooted and hard to break. However, by taking small steps we can alter negative thought patterns and create new ones in order to develop a better self-image. 

Learning to stop comparing yourself: Humans compare themselves to each other naturally, it’s how we survive. However, when it becomes excessive, we end up measuring our worth based on someone else’s standards. It can be difficult, especially with increasing expectations of perfection pushed by the media. Even ideas from our parents, childhood, and community can influence how we see ourselves.  At the end of the day, we have to define what success and beauty look like to us on an individual level. Unpacking this may bring up beliefs that we were taught about beauty and success that aren’t even our own. Unlearning some of the beliefs that make us feel less confident, can improve our overall self-image. 

Getting to know yourself: Don’t be afraid to be alone.  It’s great to surround yourself with the people you know and love, but it is also important to take time for yourself. Doing things like going out to eat alone, taking a walk or bike ride, or even just sitting in the house are all fine. This is not to isolate yourself, but it’s to learn how to sit and be comfortable in your own presence. Take time to be yourself, to process your thoughts and emotions without judging yourself as if someone else is watching you. 

Remember that confidence is a mindset. It’s less about what you look like, and more about the way that you view and carry yourself.