Thursday 20th February 2020
Today’s blog post is a difficult topic for me, since I have struggled with self-confidence and self-belief in the past. But, I believe going through this struggle that every teenager goes through at some point, or maybe even also struggles with it, and so it is a very apt topic to discuss nowadays.
Social media is rapidly taking over our lives, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. The only thing we can do is not let it ruin our lives and make us think we are not perfect. Too many people (and I am guilty of this too) spend hours scrolling through their Instagram or Pinterest feed, stopping at pictures of girls who have the ‘perfect body’ and comparing themselves to models and other women who have the ‘perfect life’ – who travel, eat good food, have a great group of friends. And it is very self-doubting thing to do. But we all do it. In my opinion, this is what damages us girls the most, whether we want to believe it or not, because it’s instinctive to compare ourselves to others.
“She’s stunning”, “I want to be her”, “Omg, look at her figure!” are some of the things all of us say as we double-tap the picture of whom we envy. I’m not saying stop doing that right now, but I’m saying take a step back and watch yourself do it. Catch yourself out when you start to compare yourself to others on social media – but also in person. If someone compliments you, don’t reply with the basic phrase “thanks, but I’m not” or “says you!” in the Instagram comments section and in real life. We are all guilty of saying these things and yet we still wonder why we lack self-confidence.
Why am I relating self-confidence to social media? Well, there is a strong link, as I’ve just tried to explain. In all honesty, this subject is quite hard to get your head around and to explain it down on paper, but I try my best. As we all should! The social media platform is where the community sees the most hatred, racism, homophobia – or just mean comments. Why would anyone write such a nasty comment online if they wouldn’t say it to their face? It makes no sense to me… I believe that in real life, the world is generally a nice place; friendly neighbours smiling at you each morning, others holding the door open for you, the person you sit next to in class letting you borrow a pen. There are more good than evil people in the world – that is something we all must remember. It is just easier to express hatred on social media, and that is what then is spread on the news or by your parents, all saying ‘social media is bad’ when actually it was or is a brilliant invention, allowing the whole world to connect with each other. It’s just a shame people don’t see that and instead talk shit about each other.
So where does this take me? You might not believe me when I say this, but if you logged out of Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest (all of them) for a week, you will see a massive improvement in your self-confidence and a reduction in self-doubt. With reading this blog post you will start to fall in love with your imperfections and realise that social media isn’t worth the grief and pain it can cause you, without you knowing it.
And what about my journey with building up my self-confidence?
It took me at least 2 years of doubting myself and comparing my personality and body to others, but I have finally got there. One day I looked at myself in the mirror with the biggest smile in the world after having not smiled in months. I can say that I am perfect.
For a long time I hated that word: ‘perfect’, but now I have come to love it. I used to think the word meant having the desired qualities that the world wants and what everyone else has. For example, being pretty, having boobs and a butt, being tall, clear-skinned, tanned, nice, loveable, friendly. I hated it because I never truly understood what it meant; “no one can be all of these things,” I used to say to myself, “it’s not fair! I want to be like that – I want to be perfect”, not realising that being yourself – being who you truly are – is the actual definition of the word. Letting others see your beauty by being yourself and not pretending to be somebody else, because that’s not you, no matter how hard you try and fit into that category. The meaning of the word ‘perfect’ is unique to everyone but follows this: it’s about learning to love yourself and building up your self-confidence to gain full self-worth. It’s about appreciating your flaws and building from your strengths. It’s what you see in the mirror, in your own eyes, nobody else’s. Being perfect is finally coming to terms with yourself and realising your self-beauty. That’s what perfect means, really.
Now that I have the self-confidence I have been dreaming of for so long, I can finally start to become the person I want to be, do the things I want to do, for myself. I can use this power to spread kindness and love to others, including my friends, and help them find their self-worth. Doing this will only build my own character up more too, because helping others makes you feel better about yourself by knowing they feel better about themselves. I love to help others because it gives me that buzz of adrenaline, knowing that I’ve made someone feel good about themselves or at least start the journey themselves that I have just finished.
I think starting sixth form, studying the subjects I actually want to, has lit up this spark inside me and made me realise that I can be and do what I want! I can be happy by my own accords because happiness is all about finding and loving yourself and you know what? I think I’m there.
I’ll leave you on this: never let anyone tell you you can’t do something. They don’t know how strong you are. Take advice from others, yes, but don’t let them tell you what you can and can’t do.That’s up to you. If a part of you is saying “you’re taking the wrong path, making the wrong decision”, listen to it, because there isn’t a voice you’ll listen to more than your own.