“Beauty has so many forms, and I think the most beautiful thing is confidence and loving yourself.”– Kiesza
Far too often I fail to share my personal struggles, my regrets, and how I overcome problems. I believe that in sharing our personal thoughts, we enable others to do better, find hope, and overcome challenges. I only hope that I can shed some light for someone else that they can see their own “end of the tunnel” sooner.
My biggest regret in life is not learning to love myself sooner. Growing up I did not feel beautiful. I seemed so awkward and out of place in every setting. I felt so fleshy, large, and plump. My skin was not perfect. My hair was a mountain of frizz. I was not the smartest person I knew. My teeth were not strait. My voice was tarnished with a lisp. When I looked in the mirror I only saw my flaws. And, these were things that seemed to be pointed out to me the most. When I went somewhere, I could always see it and hear it. Point blank … it hurt. The stupid jokes. The comments about how I sounded or looked. Some days, I can still hear the negativity I was surrounded with.
By the time I made it to college, I felt beaten down and like I would never belong. However, this is were I found my people. It took my friends, professors, and colleges a long time to build up what was broken inside me. I will be the first to say that the healing was not easy.
Before I could see my outward beauty, I had to find all the small things I loved about myself. I had to be shown my best qualities before I believed in myself or found confidence in who I was. My professors showed me I was brilliant. They showed me how to analyze, break down, pick apart, and problem solve my way through any problem. Give me a minute. I will have you a solution. My professors helped me to break the walls down from how I thought. I graduated with honors, scholarship offers, as a leader of two groups, and with seven awards. My friends introduced me to hobbies. I learned to dance and became a ballerina. I taught dance classes and was president of the school’s German club. I joined honor societies focused on community service. I fell in love with what I could create and how I could be involved. Once I gained confidence in my abilities and my hobbies, I grew as a worker and a student. One day, it came to me. I was a special person. My flaws made me unique and were a part of me. I leaned to accept who I was. I fell in love with the face and body in the mirror. I treated my body and self well. I learned how to not have frizzy hair and grew to love my natural curls. I liked the color of my eyes and my small nose even seemed to fit. For the first time everything about me had a place. I fit, because I learned to give myself the respect I deserved as a person. I do not say this to brag. This was my journey to self love, discovery, courage, and confidence. This road was plagued with self doubt, anxiety, and failure.
By the time I left undergrad. I believed in myself and walked with confidence. I was not born how many people see me now. I was made and built through faith in God, family, friends, teachers, mentors, and positive people who poured into me. When I walk into a room, I know who I am and my worth.
If you have been torn down, made fun of, or told you are not good enough or pretty enough, shut your ears! Don’t listen to those who speak negative words into your life! I did, and it took me until my 20s to find who I was. You are so much more than what others say of you, but it is up to you who you choose to listen to. You have choices. There are going to be many voices in your head and many people spewing both lies and truth. However, it is up to you what you listen to and what you take in. What you believe about yourself will become your truth. True confidence must start with your beliefs. Find the small things that make you who you are, and grow them. Learn to love your talents, your goodness, your heart, your smile, and learn to find joy in who you are. Confidence and self love can be made and built. The successful people you see, the confident and beauty that surrounds you, was not born but built.