Confidence is a challenge people face day to day. We struggle with feelings of imperfection, the frustration of not loving who we are, as well as the fear that everyone is judging us. In our society, it is so easy to feel worthless due to how often we compare ourselves to others.
Confidence is believing in yourself, loving who you are, and the belief that the qualities you have been given are beyond valuable. However, gaining your own self confidence can be a very difficult task. The way we glance at ourselves in the mirror and think about the one bad thing we did, it can be very easy to nitpick about our flaws. Everyone deals with insecurities, and sometimes they can control us. Instead, we have to embrace our imperfections.
According to wellness coach Elizabeth Scott, negative self talking can be very damaging, but it is important to first acknowledge it. According to Scott, negative thinking is any thought that diminishes you and your ability to make positive changes in your life or your confidence in your ability to do so.
“It’s stressful when I go to volleyball games and feel bad about myself since i’m not as tall as other players,” says sixteen year old Lilly. When talking to her about lack of confidence she says, “I lose confidence easily during my volleyball games and sometimes wish my coach would sub me off. There is only a net between my opponent and I, and for most of the game I get mad at how I wish I was taller. I even consider changing positions, just so I wont be in the front.” Lilly knows her so-called “weakness” and is getting mad at herself for it. To prevent this negativity, Elizabeth recommends learning to recognize self-criticism and refusing to go down that negative-thinking spiral. “Notice when you say things to yourself that you wouldn’t say to a good friend or a child.”
Comparing yourself to others can really take a toll on your mental health. Personally I had a time where I would look at someone beautiful and wish I had the same features as them. I would be disappointed in myself and frustrated that I wasn’t working hard enough for that “perfect” body. I would often question why I was born with acne-prone skin. I would crumble down in sorrow being upset and jealous, with my confidence shredded into pieces. Then I had a realization that many girls and boys may be feeling the same way I do. Feeling that we get trapped in a cycle of doubt and don’t know how to get out. Throughout this realization, I became aware that in our society we are constantly pointing out everyone’s flaws and trying to be someone else rather than accepting ourselves. We were all born beautiful in our own way. We are all characters in this crazy movie called life. If everyone looked and acted like the same character, it would make for a very boring movie.
Social media has a huge impact with our generation. When receiving a rude comment, we wonder if the statement is true. When we feel that something may harm the perception we have of ourselves, we start going delirious. According to Jordan Harbinger, we have a fundamental need to evaluate ourselves, and the only way to do that is in reference to something else. We all have a version of ourselves and when we see something or someone else that we feel has better value, our minds start to wander in areas of doubt.
But social media is addicting. The likes you get can trigger stimulation in your brain that makes you want more. “It’s a reward cycle, you get a squirt of dopamine every time you get a like or a positive response on social media,” explains psychologist Emma Kenny. So even if we know it’s toxic, it can be hard to quit.
Social media gives us a platform to show off our strengths, but should not be used for comparison. If you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to other Instagrammers, take a minute to think about how great you are. Don’t get trapped in the cycle of doubt. Acknowledge the thought, and understand that comparison is normal, but then let it go.
The words you say to yourself truly have effect. There is a famous, though perhaps not entirely scientific, experiment first done by a Japanese alternative health author, Masaru Emoto, which I first became aware of via Youtuber, Summer Mckeen. She put two equal amounts of rice in two exact containers. On one container, she wrote on a sticky note positive loving words such as “you are beautiful”, and “you are strong.” On the other rice container she wrote hateful and negative things such as “you are ugly”, and “you are bad and stupid”. She put them in the fridge at the exact same time. After each month she would take out both containers and talk to them. To the positive container she said kind things, and to the negative container she said rude things. Summer did this experiment for over a year. On the last day of her experiment, she took both containers out of the fridge. Summer saw that the negative container of rice was moldy and green, however the positive container was beautiful, white rice.
Whether or not our words can literally affect the growth of mold, the experiment vividly conveys a truth about our words. You should be thoughtful of the words you say, both to others and to yourself.
Image: pixabay/ PetrFromMoravia