It will come as no surprise to most that I have never been one to oose confidence. As a child and in school, I was always very shy and nervous and awkward which often resulted in me missing out on many opportunities and things that I wish I hadn't. For instance, you probably could've made some shitty sitcom about how tragically awkward my teenage years were, but that's another story. Since then, I have hugely conquered my crippling shyness in one way or another, but the one thing that I still struggle with every single day is confidence, and I think that this is one of the main reasons why we often give ourselves such a hard time. I have always said that nobody is harder on me than me, and I feel that this is almost a natural human instinct for the majority of us. I can bet you that even Beyoncé gets these days and like, well, she's Beyoncé, so I know that I have to remember to stop putting myself down for it. I mean, you know that it's bad when you're giving yourself a hard time for giving yourself a hard time. And then giving yourself a hard time for giving yourself a hard time for giving yourself a hard time. And then giving yourself a hard time for giving yourself a hard time for... never mind. You see where I'm going.
When we should be practicing self-care and cheering ourselves on as much as possible, we're usually just picking out the negatives and finding every reason that we can to lie awake at night and cringe over everything stupid that we have said or done since, like, birth. I am one of those typically British people who apologises for absolutely everything and anything, genuinely blaming myself for things that aren't even my fault, and the thing is that I can't seem to stop myself and don't even realise that I'm doing it half the time; it's almost like I'm just wired that way. People around me are constantly telling me to take a moment to just calm down and stop stressing due to the fact that I am never not getting myself in a state over silly mistakes, especially at work. If I'm not succeeding at every given moment and being super human then I will kick myself about it, and I think that it mainly comes back to my first point: lack of confidence.
Certainly, it is completely normal and quite vital to be considerably self-critical and to accept that you are always going to make mistakes otherwise you would never grow or learn anything, but there's quite a difference between saying "I slipped up, but that's okay" and sobbing on your bedroom floor because you messed up your liquid eyeliner for the fourth time in a row. Not that I've ever done that myself, of course. As well as the absence of confidence, the problem many of us seem to have is with setting realistic goals. When I'm working, I expect myself to be able to know and do everything right away and get genuinely angry at myself when that's not always the case. Not to mention the fact that I graduated nearly an entire year ago and am still completely lost when it comes to my career, which has resulted in me absolutely loathing myself and questioning my abilities on a daily basis. We often seem to forget that we need to make time to pace ourselves and set minor goals to conquer one at a time, rather than expecting to just achieve everything all at once, despite how hard we are working. Life doesn't always work that way. *wags finger at self*
Taking a moment to just slow down, have a breather and be a little kinder to ourselves is much more important than we seem to realise. At the end of the day, we are only human. Like, hey, you managed to get out of bed today. That's an achievement in itself. It's often underestimated how difficult a simple task like that can be, especially when your mental health isn't at its best. People do like to point out our flaws when they can, and most of the time we're just a bit like "hey, I already know all of the crap things about myself, but thanks for the confirmation anyway," which does usually only make those self-doubts in our heads even louder. However, these people will always pop up here and there, and learning to rise above that and remind ourselves that we are so much more than our imperfections is something that evidently does take time, yet is the only way we will ever truly live a life where we aren't beating ourselves up at every given moment. Unless, you know, we actually do end up gaining superhuman abilities, but that seems unlikely. Then again, Donald Trump did become president of the United States, so I guess that anything is possible.
Let's remember that we are allowed to make mistakes, and we should always welcome those mistakes as a chance to better ourselves. Failure is an inescapable part of life, but without it we would never really succeed or become who we are meant to be. Whether that's a bestselling author or a world famous scientist or just someone who's really good at applying liquid eyeliner. Hell, why not all three? We are capable of much more than we give ourselves credit for, but it's a process, and that's ok.
Now, can someone tell me how to take my own advice?