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| by Salma Ihab

What I Learned About Confidence

Have you ever wondered what it means to be confident? Confidence can have many different meanings and can be used for a variety of purposes, such as having faith in yourself or the people around you, believing that the future is bright and that better days are ahead, or trusting the process.

We humans go through many changes and phases, and some of them shake our confidence. School, in my opinion, was one of the most important factors in shaping your confidence. We go through a lot in our school years, puberty, friends, and grades are all very stressful on us growing up and can cause us to lose or gain confidence in ourselves and the people around us.


I wouldn't say my confidence is sky-high, but I would say I worked on it over the years and continue to work on it to this day. I'd like to share a few things with you that helped me gain confidence in myself and the people around me.

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Accepting yourself

This played a significant role in boosting my confidence. Growing up, I was told that I was way too skinny, and to be honest, people still tell me that, but it doesn't bother me as much as it used to. I had been a ballet dancer my entire life, so I had the ideal body in the ballet world, but I could never satisfy them in the outside world.


How did I change this idea?

I began by accepting myself and refusing to listen to what others said because if I continued to care, I would be unhappy. I accepted my body by focusing on all of its positive aspects. My hair is another issue that has helped me accept myself. My hair was always curly, and my mother always cut it short, so I had a curly afro. I was always told that having straight hair is more beautiful and flattering on girls, but I've always loved how unique my hair was. I accepted my hair at a young age, which caused others to accept it, and now I even get compliments from people who used to dislike my hair when I was younger. More and more people are flaunting their natural curls these days. What I'm trying to say is that accepting myself caused others to accept me.


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Trust

Trusting yourself is a huge step toward confidence. What exactly do I mean by "trusting yourself"? having faith in yourself that you are capable of more than you believe. Have faith in yourself that you are more than capable of doing your job well, or that if you set a goal for yourself, you will be able to achieve it. Trust works both ways; if you need help and support, ask your friends or family, you must have faith that they will help you. Life is like a carousel that never stops turning until you get off. That is why it is best to trust the process.


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Surround yourself with people who will support you

This helped me personally by surrounding myself with people who will always support me. It doesn't matter if it's just one person; you could have a large group of friends, but when you need help, no one will be there for you. I believe that every now and then, we are given a wake-up call that causes us to reconsider our current situation. I'd say the pandemic taught me that having people around you can help you get through anything. I never had enough confidence in my art and rarely showed it to anyone.


But thanks to another artistic friend of mine, who has always supported me and complimented my work, I've become more confident in my art. Surround yourself with people who will always be there for you in the same way that you will be there for them. Having a good support system changes everything.


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Work on yourself

Self-help books can make a huge difference if you are willing to change. I read a book called "Chicken Soup for the Soul," which is made up of inspirational true stories about ordinary people's lives. Reading this book made me realize that it's okay to be stuck in life or to go through ups and downs. Reading different stories and relating to some of them made me realize that I'm not alone; it happens to everyone. 


If you don't like to read, you can always watch YouTube videos. There are multiple Ted Talks and other videos on gaining confidence in yourself and others that will definitely be useful to you. I'm in the car, heading somewhere new to me, and I'm nervous. Before I go, I'll watch a Ted Talk to boost my confidence and this method really made a difference with me.


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Accomplishments 

Always consider what you have accomplished rather than what you could have accomplished. Stop comparing yourself to others; we are all unique individuals with unique goals and dreams. I've noticed that in our society, we are constantly compared to a cousin or a friend, which makes it difficult to see what you have accomplished. 

Concentrate on your own accomplishments rather than those of others, even if they are minor. Watering your plant or saving up for that trip you've always wanted are both considered accomplishments. You can make a list of things you want to do, and once you cross something off the list, believe me, your confidence will grow gradually. 

Always keep in mind that confidence does not develop overnight. Don't be too hard on yourself; take baby steps and you'll get there when you're ready. To have the confidence you seek, you must be proud of what you've accomplished and the person you've become. We all have the potential to become better people, but you must be willing to change in order to do so.

Main Image Credits: Instagram @kerrywashington 


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Tags: Mental health  Self-love  Health  Lifestyle  Life lessons  Staying healthy