Self-confidence was an end goal that always felt too far out of my reach. I could point to so many people around me who paraded through life with ease and freedom to be themselves. I noticed how much confidence often refers to external things that others can see about us: our bodies, our tangible success, how we present ourselves. But learning to appreciate all of the superficial stuff first didn’t make me feel familiar with myself.
Choosing to “fake it ‘til I make it” had me neglecting the inner knowings of my heart until I learned that self-acceptance was my path to self-confidence. Self-acceptance broke all the big, scary things I wanted to feel confident about into smaller, workable pieces that I could manage over time. With self-acceptance came unconditional love--and this love gave me the courage to feel confident.
‘Fake it ‘til You Make It’ Just Doesn’t Work
‘Fake it ‘til you make it’ was an obvious resolve for my self-confidence dilemma, but it didn’t work for me. Pretending to have confidence in things I had little to no confidence in presented many problems for me.
Acting secure about my body made me despise it even more. Pretending to be a competent adult only had me ashamed of how unprepared I felt for adulthood.
And even when I didn’t feel like my work was worthy enough, posing myself as a writer made me feel like an imposter.
“The discrepancies in our character don’t just disappear if we pretend to be something else--someone else.”
With ‘fake it ‘til you make it,’ I found many inconsistencies between my mind, heart, and spirit. My actions didn’t match my heart’s aching insecurities, and soon, juggling between the two became exhausting. There was ingenuity in my interactions with others that was easy to notice.
This gap between other people and me made me feel paper-thin, exposing a real version of myself that I wasn’t ready to show yet. Here’s the thing, faking it ‘til you make it only works if you can fake it well--like really well. And even then, you’re probably not dealing with all of the internal issues that live inside you.
The discrepancies in our character don’t just disappear if we pretend to be something else--someone else. Regardless of the outcome, faking confidence doesn’t work if you fail to accept all of the pieces that make you unique.
At its core, self-acceptance is about presenting the real me every step of the way. Accepting myself allowed contentment with who I was in the moment. With this, I had space not to feel confident some days. Self-acceptance offered the inner knowing that I didn’t always need to feel good about who I was, but who I was, was good.
“I can lean into uncertainty because I know I’ll love myself regardless of the outcome.”
Cultivating self-acceptance in my life was the saving grace that led me to live confidently. Getting there, however, was a process--and it’s something I must work at every day. Nevertheless, it’s created the space in my life to exist freely. And there are many things I do to honor and maintain this space. Here a few of my methods:
-Using positive affirmations allows me to envision where I’d like to go while honoring where I am now. “May I know that I am a confident person” allows me space to not feel confident.
-Having open and honest conversations about my insecurities with people I trust. The more I can openly discuss my insecurities, the more comfortable I feel living with them.
-Taking mindful moments/meditating helps me center myself and come closer to the truth of who I am to feel confident.
These are some of the ways I build self-acceptance every day. The methods I mentioned above help me feel free to live with every insecurity, every doubt, every unanswered question. I know that I can feel all of these things and decide to live confidently anyway. I can lean into uncertainty with self-acceptance because I know I’ll love myself regardless of the outcome.
One of the best things about self-acceptance is that I can practice becoming confident. When I finally reached self-confidence, I was able to rest easy, knowing that I’d done the challenging work on both the inside and outside.
With real confidence, I experienced the full alignment of my mind, heart, and spirit. I began to feel more familiar with myself and honored every part of my being.
Self-acceptance is the personal agreement to love me unconditionally. I know it cannot be judged or influenced. Accepting my insecurities first lets me feel confident in them.
I could accept my body’s flaws because I knew I could eat healthy, exercise, and work toward improving my health every day.
I could accept my hesitation in asserting myself as a writer while writing each day and learning the worth of my work over time.
I could accept how unprepared I felt for adulthood because I knew I was a young adult learning something new each day.
I’ve learned that self-confidence is not the end goal that I thought was too far out of my reach. When I realized that self-acceptance was where it all started, I was able to love myself unconditionally—this unconditional love created space to feel afraid, unprepared, and even confused. I am thankful for the freedom self-acceptance granted me--it’s made my path to self-confidence that much easier.