It’s the straightness of your hair, or it’s the way your voice sounds when you speak. Maybe it’s your body shape or your height.
You could do without this, or you don’t quite like that, and let’s face it, people are judgemental and intimidating. You’re anxious, overwhelmed and —
Stop. You’re over-thinking.
Self-confidence is a struggle that everyone faces, some people more than others.
I remember my freshman year. It wasn’t so long ago that I walked into East and was immediately overwhelmed. I felt sick. There were people everywhere — in all shapes and sizes (and hair colors, too). I didn’t know where I was going, and it was so crowded that I didn’t exactly have the time to take a moment to and figure that out.
The teachers were all new to me. Setting foot into each classroom was like stepping into a whole new side of a map. I had no idea what to expect or which teachers were nice or strict. I was a little more than scared about grades and classes.
And while the new classes were overwhelming enough, girls were shrieking in every hallway and making me feel like I was at some Bieber concert as they squealed and circled up to talk about their summers. Some guys were over six feet tall, standing way over my head with baritone voices that could be heard at the other end of the hallway
I felt so small. And not just because of my height. After years of looking down on myself, hating my body and not feeling good enough for anyone and anything, I realized that high school wasn’t exactly the best place to have such negative opinions about myself. Classes were faster in pace. Some days I would feel too frustrated to get out of bed. But that was still not a good excuse for missing assignments and absences. I quickly learned that improving my self-image wasn’t as easy as I would have liked it, or thought it to be. It took much more work than I could have imagined.
I wish now that I’d had someone at the time to tell me what it is that I was supposed to be doing with myself. I wish there had been someone who could tell me that I don’t look that bad, that I’m good enough and that I’m pretty fantastic, too. I wish now that someone was there to wake me up and tell me that life is a lot better when I’m not worrying about looking in a mirror and disliking not only my appearance, but how incredibly insignificant I felt.
So with that being said, this is your wake up call. Rise and shine.
Find things that make you feel good. Find something that makes you feel like you’ve got a Costco container of your favorite candy. It could be clothes you want, a haircut or a group of friends. It’s different for everyone.
To find these things, try stepping out of your comfort zone. Or as I like to call it, the box of plushies. That may be scary at first, but once you find something that you enjoy, it gets much easier and a lot less terrifying. I promise.
Get to know interesting people, join a school club like photo or art, get involved and don’t be afraid of new things or changes. Different is good. Maybe you could find that style you’ve always wanted to try. Or maybe a hair color or hobby. Standing out isn’t a bad thing, and I’m sure you’ll find that in fact it can sometimes be pretty great.
Embrace yourself. I know firsthand that it’s not as simple as the words are to say, but it takes effort. While it’s easy to sit back and watch things happen, you’ll be happier when you work to change things that you dislike. Don’t focus on the negative things, focus on what you find that makes you feel good or what you find that you’re good at. Love what you enjoy and don’t let that be taken from you. You have talents, you have features about you that are outstanding and gorgeous. It’s yours, try to embrace it.
Reach out. If you’re good at something, use that to your advantage. Your contribution is so important to this world, despite any doubts you have. This life is your adventure, so make a change. Years from now you could be someone else, and that’s perfectly okay. You should be happy with yourself now. This is who you are. Right now. Don’t delay changing because you think you might regret it later in life, because change is a constant thing and you aren’t going to regret it now.
And years from now, you’re going to look back and think about how you’ve made it. I know growing up can feel impossible, but you’re doing fine. Everyone takes different and sometimes agonizing paths. The truth is, we all get there eventually no matter which path we take.
Wake up. Don’t be afraid, and never be ashamed.