I wasn’t always a confident person. I wore glasses AND braces for a number of years in middle school, where I was the only Black person in my grade and wasn’t allowed to go to birthday parties. I was in a toxic relationship for three years in college because I lacked self-confidence and self-worth. But in my early twenties, I built up my confidence and don’t struggle with confidence nearly as much as I did a decade ago. Here are a few of my confidence tips for how to be proudly be your true authentic self.
Know Who You Are
I think that being confident goes hand in hand with having a strong sense of self. You can’t be confident in who you are if you don’t know who you are. There are two ways that I defined my sense of self in my early twenties. One was spiritually — I did a deep dive into every possible Bible passage about being created in God’s image, being an heir to the kingdom, being called for a purpose, and being loved. I also leaned into the meaning of my name and adopted it as a guiding mantra (and tattooed it on my body so I would never forget!). You don’t have to be spiritual or religious to discover who you are — you can take personality tests (the Enneagram is my favorite), do self-reflective journaling, or even ask some friends and family to describe you in a few words.
Be Kind to Yourself
Being confident doesn’t mean that you’re perfect. But when you make mistakes or have things you would like to change, you speak and think positively about yourself rather than beating yourself up. If your skin breaks out right before a big event, you focus on the fact that you’re fully prepared to speak or network and remind yourself that your beauty is not defined by a few pimples. If you don’t get the promotion you’ve worked hard for, you still celebrate your hard work and evaluate what you can do differently, rather than get angry with yourself for “failing.” Every single thing that you go through is an opportunity to learn more about yourself, so whenever you make a “mistake” or something goes awry, try to find the lesson in the lemon.
Surround Yourself with Uplifting People
I of course still have days when I second guess myself and question everything. On those days, it’s really important for me to be uplifted by my support system — my husband, family, and close friends. The truth of the matter is that you won’t always be feeling 100% confident. And you need people in your circle who can recognize when your confidence cup is starting to drain and can give you an encouraging pep talk to fill it back up. If there is anyone in your life who drains you instead of fills you up, let them go! Ignore them! Mute, block, delete! I get a number of negative comments about me regularly on YouTube, and even on places like Lipstick Alley, but I don’t let people’s thoughts about me dampen my confidence because 1. I firmly know who I am and 2. I have a plethora of people in my life who regularly uplift and encourage me.
Those are three ways that I think I’ve been able to build up my confidence over the years. It definitely didn’t happen overnight, and again, I still struggle with confidence on some days, but I was very intentional about working on discovering who I was, being kind to myself, and surrounding myself with the right support system throughout my twenties. If you’re still looking for tips on building self-confidence, my darling friend Cece Olisa has an amazing TEDx talk that you should listen to. I’ve shared it below!