How many times have you heard things like “confidence is the key to success?” Self-confidence, that interior quality which always manifests itself externally in one way or another, seems to be vital in many areas of life – career, relationships, creativity and all sorts of other things. Yet I think that this age is one that particularly lacks it.
Personally, I know more people who struggle with self-confidence and low self-esteem, social anxiety or any related issues than I do of those who are happy with and confident in themselves. Somehow nowadays we come into the world where more often than not we are told that we’re not good enough; that we have very little chance of being successful, especially when it comes to achieving our dreams; that our voice doesn’t matter; or that our individuality is not a good thing and we should strive to be more like someone else.
I have memories of well-meaning family members comparing me to my cousins and family friends of a similar age and finding me lacking in departments in which they excelled (even in areas in which I had no interest at the time like arts & crafts). Ironically, my aunties were doing the same to my cousins who’d been set as an example to me. As if complimenting your own grandchild was encouraging sloppiness and arrogance in them.
I have a number of friends who are beautiful, smart, talented and interesting, and yet have little or no confidence in themselves and their abilities. Even people who aren’t that confident can be quite successful at what they do, but they never seem to attribute this success to their own talent and hard work. On the other hand, the people who have the same amount of beauty, talent and interest (or in some cases even less), and on top of that are clearly confident in themselves, are often both successful and happy. They don’t make excuses saying that they just “got lucky”, but appreciate their good qualities and hard work.
It’s no secret that self-confidence (not to be confused with arrogance) helps build relationships. When you have the ability to open up to people and be vulnerable but at the same time proud of who you are, it’s easier for others to see, understand and accept you. Only those who are confident in themselves allow themselves to be silly and even make a fool of themselves in front of a crowd; and we laugh with them because they agree to share in their vulnerability and let us in on their imperfections. Insecurities, on the other hand, often cause tensions, awkwardness and embarrassment.
Those of you who have read my previous posts will probably know that I struggle with self-confidence so so much! I rarely believe compliments when I get them, I never attribute any of my successes to my own talent but always try to find some kind of excuse which would prove that I just “got lucky”. Got lucky getting into a drama school or getting a role I went for, got lucky to have some great friends, got lucky to be chosen or rewarded for this or that.
At the moment, I’m working hard at changing this thinking pattern. I want to be confident, I want to believe that I’m talented, interesting, beautiful inside and out, that I can bring something valuable to those around me and to the society in general, that I’m on this Earth for a reason, and that what I have to say counts! It’s probably the hardest thing I ever had to do, to change this self-destructive pattern of undermining every single good thing or success in my life. So please wish me luck! And share your tips or any stories/advice on self-confidence in the comments below 🙂