Self confidence is one of those things I battled with up until I turned around 22. Even now I have my own doubts as the round to confidence is never an easy one. I was bullied a lot at school and I stayed at the same school until I was 18. I was constantly tease and harassed for how I looked as far as having rocks thrown at me because I had a 'rat face' I remember the taunts and the abuse so vividly. I remember how much I withdrew from people and how little self worth I had. I remember when one of my teachers made it even worse for me by sending a letter home to my parents saying I excluded myself and didn't make an effort to get to know people. I always thought it was my problem that I had done something wrong. And maybe I had as I tended to try and fit in with people and be what they expected, completely ignoring who I was.
I went straight into uni after I left school and the first year was hard on me as I had no confidence and thought no one would like me. I had little understanding as to who I was as a person. Thankfully I met many people who all helped shape me and figure out who I was. The kind of environment you are thrown into at uni makes you quickly adapt and figure things out. However as much as uni helped me, my best developments came well after I left uni early and decided to do what made me happy. I don't have a fool proof step by step plan to finding your confidence but I have a few tips and pointers/tips that might try and help you figure it out. Everyone's journey to confidence is different and we all take our own paths to get there but here are a few things that really helped me.
1. Surround yourself with good people.
These are the people that are not after anything from you, are not trying to make themselves feel better by being around you, these are people who are nice and want you to succeed as much as you do, people who make you laugh help you out and are there for you in times of need.
2. Forgive the wrong ones.
I have forgiven my old bullies who after school have said how they treated me was wrong, and you know what it felt good saying it was ok, yes they hurt me but holding on to that anger is worse in the long run. It festers away and seeps into all your thoughts, but if you forgive them and let it go you can find yourself accepting your past a lot easier, making it easy to move on. It may be harder the more serious someone has hurt you, but try to get there or at least come to terms with what has happened and start to move on.
3. Try new things.
Trying something new breaks all of your comfort zones and throws you into new environments. There's no time to be nervously watching on the edge when someone has invited you to play a sport you have never played before, or going to a party with people you don't know. At uni you are immersed in new groups and activities to try, I tried out so many sports (even getting an invite to train for triathlons however not being able to swim well put rest on that one) I joined drama groups and ending up sitting in a 6 foot plant puppet I made and controlled it on stage for a production of little shop of horrors, something I was forced into but really found enjoyable! I owe so many hobbies to my time at uni including a love of badminton, ultimate Frisbee, crafts and diy, even blogging which I found through distractions from assignments! Never be afraid to do the new things.
4. Write down what you like about yourself.
And make sure you remind yourself of it. Lately I have to keep reminding myself that I am a good person even if some of my decisions may not turn out in the best way it doesn't make me a bad person. I also try to include physical features as it helped a lot with my next point!
5. Self acceptance.
You are who you are. You look the way you are supposed to look, and yes I may have big ears that stick through my hair whenever I take a photo (I learn to tilt my head to lesser the effects there) and yes I have overly sensitive eyes that react to everything and swell up, yes I have a stomach, thighs that touch, massive tits I would like smaller, but all these things make me who I am. And while I may work to making my thighs smaller if I don't accept and like them now, and realize that smaller thighs will not make me any better then I will never accept any future versions of myself. I need to like who I am now, as well as the vision I have of myself for the future.
6. Weight, clothes, material good are not the be all and end all.
You need to look deep inside to find happiness and if you do not have it, materialistic goods or a slimmer body, or tanner skin ect is not going to give you that happiness. You need to build your own foundations ie, accepting your own company and enjoying things you like doing, you need to find a purpose to give yourself meaning and something to do, if you are unhappy with your job find one you like, if you don't like where you live, then move, you need to make your foundations good so you can build and make it better. If you have bad foundations all your nice shiny things will fall down one day and it wont be pretty.
7. Do what makes you happy.
Easier said then done sometimes but there is only one person in the world you need to look after (until you add children and life long partners into the mix) but whatever you do, make sure it benefits you, and makes you happy. I spent so long being a people pleaser and not listening to what my heart was telling would make me happy, I made myself miserable. I do this now at times still, I always want to make others happy, but sometimes it is about number one, and that's ok. It doesn't mean you are selfish.
Like I said self confidence is a very personal thing and we all get there in our own ways, these tips may just help you in a little way, I find them useful and I hope other people will to.
Lots of Love