“Yes I’m a confident person” she says loud and proud as she flips her hair and struts with her head held high. She snaps another selfie of her glamourous life and posts the picture. Within minutes, the comments are flooded with “Yaaas!!” and “Slaayy” with some flame emojis sprinkled in and she goes to bed that night feeling quite pleased with herself.
More often than not this is the trap we fall into. We end up portraying certain images on social media, perfectly timing when we post the picture to get maximum likes and we get a boost when our friends and followers “gas us up”. This causes us to believe we are self-confident. But are we really?
It’s easy to call ourselves confident when we’re doing what everyone else is doing. It’s easy to call ourselves confident when our opinions are in line with what everyone is thinking. But what happens when we don’t agree with the popular opinion? What happens when we feel strongly about a controversial topic? What happens when we want to start something new, something people wouldn’t normally associate with us? Do we maintain this “confidence” we speak of or do we retreat and stay hidden and silenced?
Self-confidence is a feeling of trust in your own abilities, judgements and qualities. And where does this self-confidence come from? Like the word says, it comes from self. You. Confidence comes from true self love and self-awareness, not your friends gassing you up on social media. And while this body positivity movement is good, your confidence cannot and should not be based on the fact that you now fall into the category that is considered beautiful. Your confidence should not be based on what other people think.
If you are still shackled to others’ perception of you, then you’re not truly confident. On the flip side, if you go around boldly proclaiming-“I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of me, screw everyone’s opinion” are you confident or are you arrogant? Or perhaps you’re insecure and trying desperately to mask it with a façade?
I used to think I was pretty self-confident, but then I realised, maybe I’m not as confident as I like to think. Someone in fact asked me if I would describe myself as confident and I initially, and hesitantly (first red flag) said yes. Then, after a few prying questions-one of which was, “why do you think you’re confident?”- I realised that I’m not. It’s easy for me to be “confident” because I’m pretty (in my humble opinion), I’m smart and on a good day I think I’m pretty funny. But, when someone let it slip that she thought I was a “bitch” at first (I suffer from RBF) my feelings were hurt. Of course, I laughed it off in the moment because I didn’t want her to see my true emotions but it actually really hurt. When I got invited to a work event, that I honestly didn’t want to go to, I was afraid to say I wouldn’t be in attendance because of “how it would look”.
We also sometimes confuse confidence with a hard, unyielding exterior. Confident people aren’t vulnerable right? Wrong. If we are truly confident and comfortable with ourselves, we should have no problem letting our guard down because we own our feelings. I try my best to hide when I’m hurt because as a child I had a reputation of being a cry baby and I just cannot go back to that. My insecurities still prevent me from coming into my own, and being comfortable with who I am. You don’t have to be perfect to be confident, nor do you have to think you’re perfect to be confident. In fact, being truly confident allows you to clearly see your flaws, and think of a healthy way to improve yourself to please you and no one else.
Now, I don’t have a 12 step programme to gain true self-confidence. This is something I am struggling with as well. Gaining self-confidence takes time and a lot of reflection. Next time you take a picture to post, ask yourself this- are you posting it to get 50 likes and have your friends comment “OMG stop being so perfect!” or if you’re a guy “Teach me your ways” so that you can go to bed feeling good about yourself? Why do you do what you do? Why do you think what you think? These are the questions you need to take your time to answer and begin your journey to true self-confidence.