by Adaobi Okwy
Learning and increasing your knowledge is very important and there are so many things to learn in life. Learn something about something everyday.
For the longest time, my confidence took all sorts of beatings daily. If not for my lack of confidence, I believe that I wouldn’t have given two years of my life to depression and existing solely as a robot going through the motions. Today, I am a lot stronger and a lot more confident in myself, my abilities and limitations and much goal oriented and in three steps, I want to point out how you too can grow your confidence.
1) Do Something Outrageous: For the longest time, I didn’t know what to do with my hair. Wearing it long was beautiful when I had someone on hand to help me brush it and style it nicely, otherwise, it was horrible and throughout the day, I felt not so great. It was also hurtful when someone touched it. I knew I needed to make some changes. And I did- I had my hair shaved off. I never felt so liberated in all my life. Not only was my hair no longer painful, it became quite manageable for me. At first, people said I was crazy and though I was now comfortable with my hair, I still felt like I had to apologize when people commented on it. Then I embraced the new me, after all it was what I wanted. My new look wasn’t common and it always made me stand out. I was more recognizable and not easily forgettable. This gave me some confidence and I built on it.
Lesson: Try something outrageous especially outwardly. You don’t have to feel comfortable doing it. The irony is that, people naturally assume that you are more confident than you may feel, because you have done something they wouldn’t do or have been contemplating doing.
2) Begin to Take Positive Steps Towards Your Goals: Confidence is like money in the bank. The more money in the bank you have, the more financially secure you could feel. Setting goals and accomplishing them (little by little), helps boost confidence. I used to be aware that people looked up to me because they assume because of my actions- strong wills and ease in stating my opinions and pushing for them; that I am headed for greatness. In my heart, I believe this and for the longest time, I was working my ass off on so many projects and willing one or all of them to pick up so that people could see that actually I am what they think that I am. In other words, the expectations placed on me and the ones I placed on myself, were soul-crushing and crashed me. It was like looking dapper all the time- to others but knowing full well within me, that I had no dime in the bank. Naturally, my confidence took a beating each time I failed at something and gradually, I began to withdraw and soon fell into depression.
Lesson: Expectations are good but reasonable goals are better therefore, set reasonable goals for yourself and do not set an unrealistic time for its fruition. Go easy on yourself so that when you fail, you can take step (or two) back, see where you went wrong and come back stronger or even move in a different direction. To do this, take the time to study yourself to discover the things that you are good at. When you have done this, choose a niche you think you could work to fruition and get started. And failure along the way doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It means, you’re learning.
3) Knowledge is a Confidence booster: Learning and increasing your knowledge is very important and there are so many things to learn in life. Learn something about something everyday. This helps you be more open minded and change your (negative) perceptions about yourself, others and life. Even if you decide to study vocabularies or flowers or famous inventors or whatever, knowledge is important and in your quest for knowledge, you should also understand that not everything is worth your attention. Yes, there are insults you overlook. There are people you don’t take offence at and there are places you don’t get involved with. Knowledge is a guide towards these. You should see yourself as important and worthy of the best. You should no longer apologize for the air you breathe or for your family or for your passions or whatever. Knowing this is important.
Lesson: You are not some cheap disposable material. You are important and yes, set a worth on yourself and do not settle. Life is a fun game. Play with everything around you but always push to get the highest value on yourself because you are as valuable as you think you are.
Adaobi Okwy blogs at Adaobi Okwy.com
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.