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  • Belle Tan

Finding Self-Confidence

Self-confidence has never been my strongest suit.

Ever since I was a child, I have been shy and not one to take center stage. I will admit, in my head it seems like a wonderful idea and something that I want to do, however, when it comes to weighing out the pros and cons, cons always seem to win. In short, I am not one to take the risk or fail at something. Failure scares me so much.

When I was in fifth grade, I auditioned with my sister and friends for a school talent competition. I would be their lead singer, since I can sing quite well. As I entered the audition room, I was scared of what was going to happen. I remember asking the teacher inside the room if it was only them who would be watching, she said yes. Then, I began to hear one of my friends strum the first few chords to the Glee version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.” I forgot the lyrics. We go a second time, as the teachers allow me to look at the lyrics, and I sing, softly. I could hear my heart pounding. I try to sing a bit louder and it isn’t enough. At one point other teachers entered the room. I became more nervous, my voice decrescendoing more than it did the last time.

Needless to say, we didn’t get a callback. My nerves got to me in the end. I went in worried that I wouldn’t do well, yet that is exactly what happened. My failure of not getting called back, feeling like it was my fault, is something that I carried with me for quite some time. It took me so much courage to audition the following year for the school’s grade school choir and perform on stage.

I would love to say that I am no longer afraid of auditioning, but that would be a lie. I am still scared of auditions, sometimes even performing itself. However, I have now found ways to calm down my nerves, to say that it always works is an overstatement.

After that, I didn’t have a eureka moment that made me have a change of attitude.

After a while, thanks to my family who brought this to my attention, I realized that this attitude wasn’t benefitting me at all. As someone who tends to be pessimistic about things, I’ve learned that this isn’t the right mentality and that this does more harm than good. Yet, if I do try and stay optimistic about certain situations, my lack of confidence works against me.

Over the years, slowly but surely, my self-confidence is starting to build up. I’m becoming a bit more confident in myself. There are times where I just trust the process and am okay if things don’t turn out the way I want them to. When I know that my best is enough.

Still, there are times when I slip back into my train of fears and allow it to consume me, believing that I should stick to what I am most comfortable with. I doubt my skills, actions, and thoughts. Unsure if my best is enough and knowing when it will be enough, catastrophizing about what may come. I become my own enemy.

It’s not easy to find my self-confidence and stick to it, especially since it is not in my nature to do so. It takes a lot of work, and trust me, I have had numerous missteps along the way—it’s normal. However, having some self-confidence, even if I haven’t reached my peak, helps me fight off the little devils hanging around my shoulders for a moment. Other times, by affirming myself, telling myself that I will be okay and everything will work out the way it should helps to ground me, as well as removes any shred of anxiety, worry, or fear. I guess, it is nice to know that everything has a time and place, and will occur the way they are meant to. That I don’t have control over every single thing in my life and ruminate about it too much.

In life, I can’t live and let fear consume me. I believe that confidence isn’t boastfulness; it can mean various things at certain points in our lives and is a way to brave the todays and tomorrows.

I have to be confident, I can’t always live with the lack of confidence; it will just hurt me. I have to build it until it becomes second nature to me. I have to find it within myself and use it as a tool to let the light shine and reflect who I am. I should allow it to strengthen my vulnerabilities and my gifts.

Help is always there when I need it. However, I can’t always depend on or expect affirmations and support from others. I have to be my own cheerleader too. We all do.

If I don’t believe in myself, who else will?


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