I have never been the most self-confident person. When I was younger, I was incredibly, painfully shy. I was also teased a lot in school. It was hard to make new friends, and I was (and truth be told I still am to an extent) socially awkward.
In college, I made friends with this girl who seemed incredibly self-confident, got a lot of attention from guys and girls, and had a lot of friends. I saw that and wished I was like that. So I did the only thing that made sense to me: I started emulating her. At first, I faked my self-confidence. I put myself into situations that were new and a little uncomfortable. Over time, it became natural to me. I spoke up more, became more outgoing, said hi to strangers and had long conversations with them. Then, I realized I was no longer faking the self-confidence. I truly had become confident in who I was. Even now I look back on who I was in high school, and who I was in college and the difference is like night and day.
However, my dislike of my appearance was one issue that had not changed for me. I never truly loved how I looked. I always found things that I felt were ugly and if someone complimented me saying I was pretty or sexy then they must have been doing it only to cheer me up. Yes, I was bad at receiving compliments. While I was pregnant with Rit, it only got worse. I got the stretch marks late in the pregnancy, I was worried I would never lose the baby weight, and some comments were made by ExH that made me feel unattractive. By the time we separated, I lost so much of my self-confidence that I wasn’t sure if I could build it back up again. Little by little I tried. Several months later, a friend made a comment that broke it down again. It scared me how easily it was done. I felt defeated. However, another friend changed all of that.
It was at the Castleteers party I wrote about earlier this year. We were talking about our insecurities and, in my alcohol induced honesty and oversharing, I told him about the comments that had been made to me in the months beforehand. He did not say much about it then as a friend joined us and we changed the topic of conversation. Later on as everyone went to bed, we took the opportunity to continue our earlier conversation. He said to me, “Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you are unattractive again. You are absolutely gorgeous.” And right then, things switched for me. I no longer detest what I see in the mirror. Sure, there are things I want to change, but I no longer see myself as ugly; I see beauty. I love my curves now and want to show them off. When I discussed this with my college friend (same one I mentioned earlier in this entry), she pointed out something I did not think of; he did not say I was pretty or sexy, he said I was gorgeous and being that he has a girlfriend, it had a different connotation to it than any of the other descriptions he could have used. I have used those words as the foundation to re-build my self-confidence. Now, I feel that it is stronger than it ever was.
Sometimes, you just need a helping hand, or phrase, to start the confidence building.