On A Side Note

10940407_999820043364977_255331064851689964_nI’m the shit and I know it.

As a child I always said what I wanted to say regardless of the consequences it brought. No me importaba. For some this translated into having confidence; however, it wasn’t until freshmen year of high school that I realized that I had actually been using the facade that others had created for me to cover up the fact that my self-esteem had dropped to an all time low. Olvide quien era. I often found myself thinking that there had to be something wrong with me and that every time someone saw me they knew it too.

Now I realize that these notions were all in my head, but as a 14-year-old, my life was crumbling. I didn’t know how to stop what I was feeling. My friends seemed so confident. I felt that they wouldn’t know how I felt. My own parents would tell me to suck it up. I had no one to confide in and no where to look for help.

Now as a 22-year-old university student who’s about to graduate, I’ve learned many things. I’ve overcome obstacles that some can relate to and some that are new to you. I’ve come to a point in my life where I can understand that who I am today is because of the lows and highs that I’ve been though in the last few years. I’ve learned to become a master of my own confidence.

I never had anyone to talk to, but now I can pass what I’ve learned to the new generation. The following steps have allowed me to understand myself in ways that were foreign and almost impossible to 14-year-old me, but have now inspired me to be so much more. Ahora se quien soy.

1. Reflect on Strengths and Faults 
First, things first. Understand that you do not have to be perfect. No tienes que ser perfecta. Write down a list of five faults that you believe you have as well as five strengths (if you need help, ask friends what they think). Now throw the faults away! Knowing that you have them is important, but realizing that they don’t define you is what really matters.

2. Believe in Yourself
Be comfortable in your own skin, whether you’re short or tall or fat or thin. We all come in different shapes and sizes; our differences are what make us great. It’s not what we look like that makes us ugly, it’s how we act and carry ourselves so stand up and stand tall because you’re the best when you’re just being you.

3. Trust Your Mind and Heart
Too many times I’ve heard stories where we become torn between our hearts’ wants and our heads’ thoughts. Do I look good in this? Should I be with him? Should I get a new job? What should I do now? You know who you are. You know what you like and you know what you dislike. You know your strengths and you know your weaknesses. Don’t get overwhelmed with you choices; do what is best for you.

4. Live Your Life
Your life is just that, your life. I’ve seen many people capture by the lives of those around them whether it be by the actions of their friends or of celebrities or of complete strangers or even of novellas! Stop living your life vicariously through others. You weren’t made to be a wallflower. Go out. Have fun. Use everything you’ve learned and make some great memories. No tengas pelos en la lengua.

5. Grow
You have to remember true confidence is not something that appears overnight or after drinking huge amounts of liquid courage. Confidence is something you have to maintain and work on over time. If you ever fall into a slump, that’s okay because it’s not the fall that matters, but the knowledge you attain after and how you use it to rise again.

WARNING: There is a difference between being confident and being cocky. If you have to put someone down, use their weaknesses against them or lie about your strengths, I suggest you re-do the steps from #1.

TIP: Surround yourself with people who affect you in a positive way and make you want to do better.

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