We’ve all dealt with the crippling effects of low self-esteem in life at some point. It’s a given when you’re growing up – what with all the hormones and anxieties flying about.
For someone whose dealt with panic attacks and self-image problems in the past, I think for me confidence was something I really needed in order to survive my adolescent years. Which is why I’m writing this open letter to my younger self, to assure her that yes, life is difficult but loving yourself isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
So, what does the word mean to me?
My own personal definition of the word is very simple: feeling comfortable in your own skin. Such a simple concept in theory but in reality, it’s one of the most difficult things to put into practice.
When I was sixteen, I was a mess. Literally. I couldn’t speak to boys, I felt undervalued and like a waste of space in my friendship groups and seriously couldn’t understand why anyone else would want to socialise with me.
I would look around and see all these other people with their heads held high, being themselves and be in awe of them. How did they do it? Weren’t they terrified that what made them who they were wasn’t good enough?
My anxiety got so bad that I remember walking down the road, unable to raise my head and my breathing becoming more and more erratic.
Once, I was catcalled from a car by a group of twenty something boys. It was summertime and I was wearing a skater skirt and thin tights. I was completely fine in what I was wearing, looking back on it. However, at the time I was so embarrassed that I remember running home and changing.
And all because I didn’t have an ounce of self-confidence.
I now look back on my younger self and wish I could go back and shake her by the shoulders. Sixteen-year-old me wasn’t anywhere near all the things she thought she was and could have done so much more with her time and avoided so many problems had she simply grounded herself and said, “I have so much going for myself and so much to come.”
I also wish she’d have treated herself to a bubble bath every once in a while. Because honestly, feeling good is about loving all of you- the inside and the out.
Another thing I would have done would have been to introduce her to one of my favourite quotes a lot earlier on. I can’t quite remember where I first saw it. Had it been on a class wall as a poster? Or maybe I read it in a book? Wherever it was, it helps me to face up to my problems in time of need.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Eleanor Roosevelt is the author of that saying, and rightly so. People can only make you feel low about yourself if you let them. Remember Mini-Me that the persona you put out in the world is the one that’s going to be received.
If you come across as submissive and full of self-loathing then sooner or later someone’s going to take advantage of that and walk all over you.
But- if you stand up tall, slick on some red lipstick and walk with an air of confidence. Well, then the whole worlds your oyster. I mean look at how far we’ve come in those four years!
So, chin up- it only goes up from here.
Picture Source: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/147000375317369862/