So how do we develop our self-confidence, I stand here today to say I am not the connoisseur of all things self-esteem or the arbiter of tips, but I would love to offer my two cents?
You see, I don’t think you can build confidence if you don’t determine whom you are, without that, you cannot ascertain what you like about you, and a huge part of having high self esteem is actually liking yourself.
Asides from purpose, gaining self awareness is the singular most important thing every young adult must aspire to achieve, for one it helps shape your world, because when you become acquainted with whom you are, you can establish what path in life is best for you, what spouse, what career, shoot where you would like to live.
Second, a big part of building self-confidence is being competent (I call it the art of being excellent at something).Ndidi Ndekwu
I don’t know anybody who doesn’t feel fantastic about themselves because they recognize they have that one skill etc that they do well, that makes them stand out. Confidence affects your body language,the way you talk, your approach to your surrounding etc, you notice how when you go to a party, but you don’t feel wonderful in your dress, you end up spending the whole night sitting a corner with your sad little cocktail (lol)
When you feel wonderful, you exude self possession, because you are happy with yourself. The truth is, you can only get excellent at a thing when you master it.Meaning you can only get great at being you,and therefore feeling wonderful about yourself by identifying and working on your strengths and weaknesses.
This requires honesty, self-exploration and experimentation.Ndidi Ndekwu
Be honest about your likes and dislikes, your temperament, your personality, your work ethic, your emotional and physical capabilities. This doesn’t happen in a day, maybe not even in years, you may have to even unlearn years of brainwashing by your environment, and you may not even like who you are after this exercise, but that is okay nobody is perfect and if we were it wouldn’t make us human.
Be unafraid to be yourself, people always throw around the word be yourself, but it is usually easier said than done.First there is social capital gained by conforming, if individuals find you too weird or not relatable, then it can lead to problems navigating social spaces. Second, we all dwell within a cultural and social framework where “rules” and “norms” exist going against the grain occasionally might be detrimental if it leads us to breaking the law, being ostracized, etc.
Being a “non-conformist” sounds cool in theory but in practice it might serve you better to blend in sometimes. Being yourself is not a license to be distasteful individual, meaning if you are naturally rude and lacking in manners, you will need to refine your behavior, you must stay true to yourself, but in a way that is kind and compassionate in your dealings with the surrounding people. Lastly, as a bible believing Christian, I am subject to God’s laws and order, I am not at liberty to do as I please because ‘’that is just how I am’’, I must consider all actions in line with God’s word.
So let’s really unpack this, why is self-awareness such an important pillar in building self-confidence, we’ve said that, it’s good to identify strengths and weaknesses, this gives us direction on how to orient our beings so we can make decisions that in the long run prove beneficial for our self-esteem.
Take Nana (see previous post) although she graduates summa cum laude, she doesn’t feel as competent as her peers because they are all IVY leaguers, well she really can’t change this can she, it’s not particularly a weakness that can she can work on, but she is very articulate and gives killer presentations, so yeah she may not speak up at meetings but if she takes the initiative to always do the speaking during presentations, the positive responses she gets will eventually lead her to feel confident enough to speak up during meetings.
If you can recall I mentioned she was having doubts concerning her relationship, truth is she feels her boyfriend settled for her, she doesn’t really know what he sees in her, it’s okay because she knows she can be needy and erratic (who will put up with it she says), but she is also a very compassionate girl, and is a fantastic company when she tries.
So what if she gets therapy for her issues, and be more sociable so that her personality can come through, months down the line, she feels more balanced and is happy with herself; she feels confident enough to get out of her relationship and meet new people.
Self-awareness helps you to live purposefully, once you can identify who you are, you do things that align with your being and what you want out of life. If the goal is to improve your expertise at something, you inculcate the steps to get there; you discipline yourself; you take full responsibility for what you can control, everything about you becomes intentional, as you work towards becoming a better you, you add and subtract ideas, beliefs, people ways of doing things as your competence grows you find it easier to assert yourself, this also comes with being more self-aware, then you like yourself, because now you know what you are great and not so great at and you are okay with that.
I think it is important to note that, when people think about self-confidence, they think it’s okay to build it so you can achieve material success only. Many people are perfectly okay being confident at work, but they can’t ask for what they want in their marriage, or vice versa. Truth is, when you are confident it should permeate in all areas in your life.
Now does that mean your life will be picture perfect, I really don’t think so, but I think you will live a fulfilled and satisfied life because you know you all the decisions you made to get to the place where you are today comes from a secure place, even you face a speed bump along the way, you know that you did your part, but you can’t control everything and you also have what it takes to face any challenges that come your way.
Okay, so personal story time, I will be honest with you, I’m not someone who came out of the womb brimming with confidence, ready to tackle anything that stands in my way. I’m actually now working on my self-esteem, well I have been for the past one to two years, some days I waiver, I have days, weeks, months were I feel great, occasionally that annoying little voice will tell me I’m not really that great and I compare myself to such-and-such, I am very much a work in progress.
When I talk about self-awareness, this is part of my journey, I do a lot introspections; I try to figure out who I am, and why I act in certain ways, I had to get honest about what I really want out of life and not what society says I should want, my faith helps, I also read a lot of books on psychology and self-help, never underestimate the power of absorbing positive messages and learning how to understand how the mind works and how you can change it for your benefit.
I hope, anyone reads the blog post gains something helpful out of it and develops the confidence to live the life they truly desire.