(FYI this has nothing to do with being skinny)
I'm 26 years young, and can FINALLY say with complete confidence that I am, well, confident. I look back on the last 10 years of my life and am saddened by the constant nagging in the back of my mind that I could've done so much more with that decade.
Beginning at 12 years old, I had many insecurities from being isolated and made fun of. I wanted to be accepted so desperately but the harder I tried, the less people liked me. By high school, I outgrew the braces and glasses and was considered "cool," yet I still felt insecure. I wouldn't leave the house without makeup, wore push-up bras like my life depended on it, and never voiced my own opinions for fear of being judged.
It's crazy to me now because I have a strong opinion on most things, am more independent than anyone I know, and can't remember the last time I wore makeup or a bra on a typical weekday.
I refuse to let my worth be defined by anything superficial.
There are plenty of days when I'm breaking out, feel bloated, or feel frumpy and would rather hide under a rock than go face the world, but life doesn't work that way. We don't get days off for "feeling ugly", and we shouldn't have to. Our confidence needs to come from within. So when I am feeling self-conscious for whatever reason, I have to let my inner light shine through and own it, because an amazing personality trumps a pretty face any day.
From my personal experience, being confident comes from:
(1) Accepting yourself right where you are.
Right now. Inside and out. Do it. You're awesome, I promise.
(2) Surrounding yourself with friends and family that are supportive and uplifting.
This one has made a HUGE difference in my personal life! You won't even realize how much certain people affect your self-esteem until they're out of your life and you're suddenly so much happier and more confident! Re-evaluating relationships and possibly cutting ties with anyone who makes you feel less than amazing. Because ain't nobody got time for that. *snaps fingers*
(3) Some form of physical activity every day
Dance, weightlifting, running, surfing, yoga, etc.... It's a crazy phenomenon, but being active somehow gives you confidence in so many other facets of your life.
(4) Wearing clothes you are comfortable and feel beautiful in.
Disregard the passé trends of today, and focus on choosing closet staples that you thrive in.
(5) Taking care of yourself.
Carve out alone time every day if possible where you can pamper yourself mentally and/or physically. Take an Epsom salt bath, meditate, paint your nails, do something creative, read a book.
(6) Not comparing yourself to all the "perfect" people on social media.
Remember, comparison is the thief of joy!
If necessary, delete all social media apps or unfollow certain accounts if you catch yourself making comparisons often. The Internet is an amazing tool, but can also be unrealistic and unhealthy.
(7) Making time to do something that you're talented at every week.
(8) Giving up the scale.
If you have a weight loss goal, that's great! I hope you keep that motivation and drive towards optimal health, but rather than having a "goal weight," try taking body measurements or progress photos rather than being fixated on a specific number. If you're working out more, you will most likely gain muscle weight and the scale can be extremely misleading.
(9) Living a life you're proud of.
Would 10-year-old you be happy with how you've turned out? Did you forget about all your lifelong dreams because you are so wrapped up in the daily grind?
As your quality of life goes up, so does your confidence (and vice versa).
If you simply start to go down the checklist and implement one of these tips at a time, I guarantee you, you'll start to love yourself so much more than ever before and live life to the absolute fullest.
Insiring a happy, active, healthy life.