Recently I’ve found myself facing a crisis of self-confidence. My skin isn’t great. I’ve put on a bit of weight. And I’ve noticed the dreaded cellulite creeping across the tops of my thighs. In terms of blogging? Writers block. Where are my ideas?! How can I create new and unique content and post interesting pictures and make people like me and relate to me and want to engage with me and….the list goes on. Either way, I know I’m not alone. I’m willing to bet that each and everyone of us are engaged in some sort of crisis of self-confidence, whether that be based on how we look, our inadequacy in comparison to how ‘great’ others appear or, simply, in our ability to be the best that we can be. This could be in terms of our career, or even in doubting ourselves as good a friend. But how, just how, can we go about turning our negative thoughts towards ourselves into goodness and positivity?
Don’t get me wrong, this is by no means a new topic, but it’s one that’s at the forefront of my mind right now. Self-confidence is something we’re all dealing with in one way or another, something we’re all trying to navigate. Beautiful Gemma from That Belfast Girl discussed issues of self-confidence in her Instagram stories fairly recently- the idea that she appears outwardly brimming with assurance, but behind closed doors it’s something she often finds herself struggling with. The lovely Katy from Katy Belle wrote this fab little piece on comparing ourselves to others, and wonderful Emily from Style Me With Love put out a pretty powerful video about learning to see the good in herself. These are all girls who are beautiful inside, as well as out. So why are we still struggling here? Why can we not see the beauty and success that others can see in us so clearly? Why are we so bloody hard on ourselves? And why, oh why, do we spend so much time curating ideas about our own being based on our physical appearance or based on what others are doing. Here, I’m aiming to master the art of self-confidence and, ultimately, self-love.
Removing The Concept of Perfectionism
Perfectionism. What does that even meeeeean? I’ve touched on this a little before on this post, but I feel this is an apt time to reiterate ideas about Instagram and the perfect life. And I, like so many, attribute a lot of our feelings of ‘not being good enough,’ to horrible ole’ social media. Don’t get me wrong, I love Instagram. It’s a substantial part of my life. I love to use it for inspiration. To connect with others. And to curate my own gallery of pretty little squares. But it’s a social space that is not without its perils. How many times have we longed for toned tummies, peachy bums and cascades of glossy blonde hair? How many times have we pondered over dream careers and perfect families? How often have we wanted to actually be those in the accounts we follow? We’re so much smarter than all this, and yet, we can’t help but be drawn into the idea of perfection. We know the reality behind the scenes. There’s anxiety. There’s arguments. There’s temper tantrums. And there’s low self esteem. These ‘perfect’ people deal with all the same cr*p we do. Each and every day. Good for them, though. If they’re beautiful, then they’re beautiful and if they’re successful, then they’re successful. But ‘another persons success or beauty is not the absence of your own.’ You’re not her. But she isn’t you either. The crinkles around my eyes and the bulbous tip of my nose. Utterly ghastly to me? Yes. A cute quirk to someone else? Absolutely. The fact that I’m 23 and still desperately navigating the world of interning?! OMG. STRESSFUL. SOMEBODY HELP ME. But still, I’m trying my absolute best and giving it my all, so surely that counts. But sometimes I feel desperately, desperately inadequate. And I guess to a certain extent that’s just it. When you’re too busy wishing you were more like someone else there’s another out there wishing they were more like you. Ultimately, in order to bring out the best version of ourselves, we have to throw ‘perfection’ out the window. Use others as inspiration, certainly. But be certain in what you have to offer as an individual- whether that’s your kindness, your wonderful sense of humour or the sheer amount of effort you put in to everything you do.
Ignoring The Negative Nancy’s
The bane of everyone’s life. There will always be someone out there ready and waiting to put you down and send any self-confidence you’d previously built up a’flyin’. Cheers for that. Since beginning my blog I haven’t had too much bother with ‘trolling’ thank goodness, but I feel for the ‘big’ bloggers this can be a different story. I’ve seen some pretty hateful, personal comments written on other Instagram pages and I’m always blown away by the nastiness of it all. But the reality of Instagram is that the majority of the time the comments received act as such a boost. I don’t think any of us should ever underestimate the power of a kind, genuine compliment. I know when someone goes out of their way to leave me one on one of my photos, it can make my day and leave me glowing with happiness. But, anyway, back to the negativity (soz)- what about when ‘nastiness’ comes from someone a lot closer to you, never mind trolls. We all know that one ‘friend’ who’ll hit you with a belter of a back handed compliment. ‘Omg- I wish I could spend as much time on Instagram as you it must be really fun.’ Sometimes they’ll have a statement so deeply disguised in a sickly sweet sugar coating that you can’t even call them out on their bitchy comment. This can be even more damaging than someone hiding behind a keyboard. And that kinda friend just ain’t no friend. Sugar-coated insults are usually a sign of someone who is deeply unhappy themselves, so take that sugar with a pinch of salt. And hey, they’re probably just jealous of your great laugh, lovely smile or silky hair. So yeah, I take it all back. I guess it is a compliment really. *Inserts sassy hand lady emoji.* But all joking aside, here’s to focusing on the kindness and ignoring the negativity. And to being kind ourselves. Someone else might need it.
Making The Most of Yourself
Treat yourself. Seriously. I had a spray tan with Bellamianta last night and am now feeling much more attractive. It’s funny the difference the little things make, right? A part of me I quite like is my eyes, so I spend time trying to accentuate them. I enjoy experimenting with colours and shades to make them pop and stand out. Don’t get me wrong, we know we’re more than just our appearance. Heck, this is part of the main ‘message’ of this post. But by focusing on enhancement, a physical part of you that you love the most for example, then you can improve on self-confidence. Have beautiful hair? Get a blow dry to make it even more divine. Killer set of pins? Stick on a mini skirt. Beautiful hands? Embellish with rings. We all have something we can draw attention to. Find yours and watch your self esteem soar. Also, making the most of yourself and celebrating a part of you that’s physically beautiful doesn’t make you vain or self absorbed. When I began blogging I used to worry SO much that people thought I loved myself because I’d be posing on someones steps with a pout so fantastically exaggerated that I’d look like my eyes were about to pop out of my head. Ok, so my posing’s got better, and I’m working on what people think of me, but I don’t upload pictures merely because I’m self absorbed- see here for more chat on this. Firstly, I upload because I think its helpful for people to see an array of clothes on a normal person and secondly, I think its great to celebrate the best version of yourself. If that’s in the form of a quiet night playing with skin care and getting your glow on then so be it. But if it happens to take the shape of a glamorous selfie to show off the beauty you’ve enhanced then that’s great too. We are more than just physical beauty, yes. But it’s certainly no sin to make the most of what we’ve got.
You Are What You Eat
Health. During the past few months I’ve let my usual healthy lifestyle fall to the wayside. I know gaining a bit of weight isn’t the end of the world, but the way I’ve done it has been unbalanced and unhealthy. There’s been no, ‘Oh, I’ll let my hair down for a few days then start putting goodness into my body next week.’ It’s been more like ‘Oh, I’ll eat this twentieth bar of chocolate and then wonder why I’m feeling bloated and lethargic and then cry about how vile I feel.’ Improving self esteem and confidence doesn’t include allowing yourself to be a slob. Pushing yourself to make healthier choices will do wonders. You’ll feel healthier and more energised and this will radiate from you. How much you weigh is one thing. But health is another entirely. So focus on it. Go for a walk. Eat a salad. Neck a smoothie. The rest will follow.
There we go, that was a ramble and a half. Either way, we need to stop doubting ourselves as anything less than wonderful. If we indulge in self-care, mentally and physically, then we’re sure to master our self-confidence crisis. But can we really master it with so much pressure and negativity flying about social media and elsewhere? Maybe not entirely. Though we can get well on our way by appreciating the little things about ourselves, the little things that with the right nurturing will eventually become the big things. I’m still working on it. But aren’t we all. We’re all bumbling through this together. For sure.