Confidence Comes in Strides of Progress, Too.

Photo : Mercedes Bleth

I’ve never been a very confident person. Not as a child or a teenager. And now as a young adult I am still fighting off self-esteem issues and trying to be confident. My pants fit a bit too tight nowadays. My clothing sizes are the highest they’ve ever been. I don’t love my body. I don’t always love my mind, either. I feel lazy a lot of the time and do not think I’m doing enough for my future. I’ve been job searching for months and still have no full-time job. I feel like I don’t love myself fully because I allow myself to downplay everything I’ve accomplished. I tend to let anything I do that is worthwhile amount to “nothing” in my mind. Why am I so hard on myself?

As a woman, I think I’ve grown to fall into this unfortunate pattern. This pattern of not feeling good enough; for any situation. Making myself feel worse. Women are constantly body shamed, action shamed—made to feel not good enough if they aren’t following societal expectations. I have been feeling this weight lately when it comes to how I look, how I feel, and where my life is at in terms of career.

Job I want? Too bad. Someone else deserves it over you. You’re not good enough. I convince myself before the job interview that I do not deserve the opportunity. That I’m not good enough to even be walking in the door.

Wow that’s a pretty dress! Too bad you’re not a size 2 anymore. It’ll fit someone else and look better on them anyways.

Your friends are so successful, isn’t that great? Too bad you aren’t doing that, too. Don’t you wish you had a more stable head on your shoulders? Maybe then you’d be doing better.

As I’ve grown through my process in therapy, I’ve seen progress in the way I handle my self-esteem issues. I try to not care what other people think. I used to worry constantly about this and how others perceived me — if I was worthy of their desire or attention. I used to sit on the train and worry why people would stare for a moment. Was there something wrong with the way I looked that day? Am I ugly to them?

These thoughts were selfish. No one gives a shit. They really don’t. And, in a way, it’s freeing to know that. Everybody in life has so much going on all the time, especially in their 20s. No one is sitting around watching as I struggle to find a full time job and judging me (and if they are, well, I can’t control that). I constantly try to remind myself of this. But I’m human. And lately this feeling has been finding its way back to me in everything I do. It’s paralyzing. So paralyzing to make so much progress and have a set back as such. I want to love who I am, what I look like so badly, but I keep backsliding.

As a woman I’ve always been familiar with this feeling of not being enough. Not deserving. And so slowly those feelings strapped to my inner self have been dropped off in the past to stay there. Lately, it’s been harder to shake the presence of feeling not worthy of things. Like I’m not good enough.

Right now, I’m settling on continuing to love myself. Love my partner. Love my family. Love my friends. Being able to receive their love in return and not doubt it. That is strength.

No one ever talks about the transition you go through when you find yourself surrounded by supportive and loving people and working to love yourself after being used to complete shit from the people around you and even from yourself. It’s hard. Loving yourself isn’t easy. It shifts everyday. It is hard when you have no one in your corner, but is also hard when you have so many loved ones cheering you on. You don’t want to fail.

I want to wake up every morning and feel like the amazing woman my fiancé is constantly praising.  I want to feel as amazing as he tells me I am. I want to feel confident. I want to. Why can’t I?

I guess it’s okay I’ve gained 25 pounds. I guess it’s okay I’m still searching for a full time position in my field. I guess it’s okay I’m in therapy. I guess it’s okay I’m on antidepressants. I guess it’s okay I worry a lot, still. I guess it’s okay I wear makeup less and that I let my hair be messy here and there and don’t always like what I see in the mirror. I guess it’s okay I don’t feel like I’m doing enough.

It’s okay. This is all okay. I am loved. I am loved. I love myself. And confidence comes in strides, too.