Confidence. It's a funny thing. It is not black or white, something I have or I don't. I want to proclaim I am confident as a rock! Sturdy to the core! Regardless of my circumstances! But in reality, my confidence is more fluid; a state of mind that fluctuates based on the circumstances of my life, situations I am in, and the people I am surrounded by. And for reasons unclear to me, my confidence tank sprung a leak this year. A big one. I distinctly remember, in ninth grade, making the conscious decision to be more confident. "Love yourself - you're all you've got" was my mantra. It felt great. As cliche and Seventeen-magazine as it sounds, I realized I had a choice: I could either love and accept myself...or not. And given such a choice, why on earth would I choose the latter? I was born with a certain set of physical and mental traits - and I knew at the time that if I didn't put my foot down and decide to love those qualities, particularly the ones that would never change, I was setting myself up for a life of misery. Plus, who was I to shrug off all the blessings I'd been given by moping about what I was missing? Despite the melodrama of high school, confidence seemed to come easier back then.
Fast-forward to today. I've got a lot going for me, and objectively - on paper - I know that. But as I hit my quarter-life crisis this year (man, I thought somehow I'd be an exception to that rule), my confidence seemed to sneak out of the house while I wasn't looking. Love yourself - you're all you've got? Pffft! Love yourself IF you are successful, productive, in-shape, and in a relationship. Somehow those became the new conditions. Confidence became something I rationed to myself - little baits and switches if I did something WORTHY of it. Lose ten pounds - feel great! Gain ten pounds? Banished from love; punishable by self-loathing. This wasn't just about looks - it was about my overall state of self-worth, which had somehow become contingent on external measures. So here I am now, re-committing to loving myself unconditionally again. Confidence hangs out on a sliding scale with its cohorts self-esteem, self-worth and self-efficacy (hover over the links for definitions), and this year while my self-efficacy remained high, my overall confidence hit a major low. Am I confident in my ability to be resourceful and achieve my goals? No question. But am I confident that I deserve love - unconditional, unqualified love, from myself and others? I've been typing and erasing different answers for the last ten minutes. The ONLY answer should be YES. Because I know that I am worth it. See? Progress already.