All Articles Tagged "self confidence"
If there was ever a study about black women that I’m inclined to believe, it’s the one about us being more confident in our appearance than other groups of women. Last month, Kate Fridkis, wrote a piece called “Why can’t women think they’re pretty?” I read the title and thought oh, that’s tragic. Let me read. And while Fridkis brought up some salient points about how women often downplay and apologize for highlighting their flattering physical features; by the end of the article I thought to myself, thank God I don’t have this problem. You can call me vain or incorrect if you want, but I’ve always thought I was pretty. And even said it, out loud, in front of people a couple of times. Now, I don’t know if it’s because I’ve consistently heard this from others, because my parents promoted self confidence or because I’m just vain. I’m sure it’s a combination of all of these things; but whatever the reason(s), I’m grateful for this ability to be content, and dare I say very pleased, with what I see in the mirror.
I knew I was good- so I started thinking about other women in my circle. I had to start with the source. My mom. My mother, who I and others regard as beautiful, doesn’t meet European or mainstream beauty standards. She’s short, overweight, has dark skin and natural hair. But I’ve never heard her speak ill of her beauty. She might have talked about wanting to lose weight or wear her hair a different way; but when it came to her natural, physical beauty, there have been times when she’s been downright cocky. The same is true for my aunts, cousins and sister on both sides of the family. Hell, even the men talk about knowing they look good. I realize it may sound like we’re a bunch of self-obsessed jerks, but we’ll just have to be that. After all, in a world where people are constantly insulting folks based on their appearance I’d prefer we be overly confident in our looks, so we can shoulder that criticism than underestimate our beauty and let the naysayers break us down.
But I want to be careful not to dismiss anyone’s experience. I know I’ve had friends on both sides of the spectrum. I’ve had the “can’t tell me nothin’” friends and the friends who would say outright, to my shock and surprise, that they didn’t think they were pretty. I get how one could come to feel this way; but really I don’t understand it. (If that makes sense.) If beauty is subjective and increased exposure increases attractiveness how could you not at least be good with the face you’ve been living with all your life?
Maybe people have just had too many critics. Maybe they’ve internalized too many beauty standards that didn’t match their own. Maybe insecurity is stronger than we could ever imagine. I can’t call it. I’m just always surprised when I hear this type of talk from black women. Unfortunately, I’ve seen and heard far too many white women say they want Jennifer Anniston’s hair, Charlize Theron’s body and Pipa Middleton’s booty. All the while completely trashing their own, perfectly attractive beauty. If there was anything positive to come from a lack of minority representation in media, it’s that black women were less likely to compare ourselves to shapes and figures we could never achieve…naturally. Maybe white women, who’ve been watching their likeness on tv, seeing it plastered on billboards and magazine spreads have come to think that these are the only examples of hotness. While black women who didn’t see themselves represented at all but had the love, affection and attention of men, black and otherwise, knew that the media couldn’t be telling the whole story and decided to be good with themselves anyway.
Again, I can’t call it. What I do know is that every woman, every person really, regardless of what others may say about him or her, should strive to be able to look in the mirror and like what they see. None of us will ever be beautiful to everyone but the least we should try to do is be drop dead gorgeous to ourselves.
Do you think you’re pretty? Do you have problems claiming this either to yourself or others?
No matter if it’s damage from a past relationship or past failures, it’s not uncommon for someone’s self-confidence to take a hit after a negative experience. Most people recover, but there are some men and women who carry those setbacks with them and in term end up lacking just a bit in the self-esteem department. If you’re dating someone who is insecure, you know just how challenging the relationship can be, but, don’t give up just yet! Here are 14 dos and don’ts to keep in mind while dating this type of person.
You’re often told to do an exercise a certain amount of time, number of repetitions, or “until you feel satisfied.” But with every person’s body having different limits and different strengths these vague instructions can leave us unsatisfied. But forget measurements and forget numbers. There are certain ways to understand what a healthy body looks like that apply to every woman, and they’re easy to understand.
After a breakup it can be really hard to move on to someone new. With all of the emotions and memories that come with a relationship, it’s not easy letting them go. When a relationship ends, it’s likely that you’ll stay single for a while, but after some time, you’ll find yourself wanting to hit up the dating scene again. Before you make your move, here are 15 signs that you’re ready to start dating again.
You’re confident in yourself again
When a relationship ends, some of your self-confidence and self-esteem can go down with it. If you’re feeling like your old self again — that woman who can conquer and do anything — you’re definitely ready to take the dating world by storm. Lacking confidence can make dating a lot harder and nerve-wracking than it really needs to be. Don’t date until your self-confidence is back to normal.
Just the other day, I wore red lipstick, for the first time. Actually it was the first lipstick I’d ever worn in my entire life. It was clammy between the purses of my lips, but I didn’t mind it. This notion made me completely ecstatic. To you, this may seem a bit superficial. However, for me, it’d been a long time coming.
I was afraid I’d be noticed with anything additional or too bright. I did not want to be noticed, I wasn’t ready to adorn myself with anything that prompted catcalls and stares.
The truth is…
I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. In fact, for a few years, I’ve been wearing someone else’s. I get up every morning, pat on makeup, slip on my heels and borrow words for the day, words that I don’t recognize as my own. I even delve into habits that weren’t previously a portion of my idiosyncrasies: eyebrows, nails, and organization.
The truth is, I was a skater girl: A kick loving, curse slinging, and over analytical extrovert. I was a nerd (still am) with a zest for journaling, Harry Potter, romance, and drama.
High school and college stifled me. Girls in higher heels and upper echelon begged me for tact. They caressed the underlying notions that I’d never be good enough. Everyday, as I faced the mirror, I realized that I was an impostor.
I am a shell of my former self.
I’m 5’11, with size twelve feet, big hands, an awkward smile and a stomach that kind of spills. To the stores, I am TALL, LONG and find-it-online. To the bullies, I was Sasquatch goofy and nerd. To the men who failed to assess internal beauty parallel to external, I was “alright” or “okay.” To myself, I wasn’t deserving.
That’s where it starts, doesn’t it? With yourself?
I found it hard to take compliments. I often cringed at the utterance of beautiful or pretty directed towards me, suppressing the urge to look behind me and search for the woman they were truly talking about. Defense mechanisms were my forte:
1) In social settings, when the men are more adoring of your friends instead of you, twiddle with your phone. It shows you don’t care.
2) If anyone asks what’s wrong, nod and smile. Never let on too much. Insecurity is not attractive.
3) Stay clear of things you used to love to wear, before anyone pointed out their flaws. Bright colors, horizontal stripes and tighter things only emphasize your thickness.
4) Talk fast and quick. Perhaps if they know you are a celebrated poet, scholar and writer; your looks won’t matter too much.
Years ago, I had the opportunity to confront my insecurity. I stood on my first well-known stage surrounded by people who actually had requests. Fans of sorts. I could have dropped my bitter cloak there. I should’ve swallowed the attention whole and relished in the fact that I was a great writer, performer and someone who deserved everything.
Instead, I blacked out. I let a pretend confident spirit envelop me and tear the stage apart. A train car voice cascaded from my lips and took charge of her surroundings. No microphone needed, I’d placed my morale, in rhyme, on the ears of many. It was beautiful. However, the instant the clapping faded and I cascaded down the stage’s steps; I was hunch shouldered, smirk-never-smile and nervous-wreck, shell of me, all over again.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or so they say. I say that beauty is embodied by those who refuse to believe they are anything less–regardless of a beholder. The body positive movement (more so a philosophy than an active crusade) agrees with me, and it is the belief that the present standard of beauty is bogus, and dominated by unattainable and unhealthy goals set by self-loathing women and imperfect men. The world is obsessed with women and their bodies, but only in a dissecting way. Women are mourning their bodies, not celebrating them because the media would have us believe that there is something wrong with our bodies. After all, companies and organizations gain greatly when women waste millions on diet fads and untouched gym memberships, when those women could save hundreds by being comfortable in their own skin. The body positivity movement is about health, identity and self-respect. Women of any weight, age, race, measurement or proportion can be/are beautiful.
The appreciation of curves and physical diversity reduces fat-shaming, bulimia, anorexia, depression and bullying among women everywhere, based on the fact that it’s about acceptance. The body positive movement sets the challenge of getting women to accept themselves and other women on a fundamental level, in spite of “flaws” and “imperfections,” so that we may embrace and adore those oddities. A great way to talk about what body positivity is, is to talk about what it isn’t. It isn’t about eroticizing or sexualizing, nor is it about tolerance–it’s about softening the frown of superficiality, and revisiting points in history where women were praised for curvaceousness outside of a subgroup.
Body positive ideals borrow greatly from the “fat positive” movement (also known as fat feminism), which indicates that anyone can be happy and healthy at any size–weight not being a clear indicator of how well one eats or how often one exercises. The fat positive movement wants to weaken the effects of size discrimination, and to eliminate an innate desire to apologize for our fat. ‘Body positive’ expands on that idea by being accepting of all sizes under the doctrine that beauty is about confidence, presentation and self-awareness. It gives women the permission to love themselves and celebrate femininity in terms of shapeliness. This mission makes it possible for both women who are shaped like Zoe Saldana and Mo’Nique, or Keira Knightley and Christina Hendricks, to compete in the same mainstream arena without criticism on either side of the weight spectrum.
Steps toward being body positive in your own life can unhinge mainstream media’s body-shame ambitions. This can be done by not focusing on body image issues when having a conversation with co-workers and friends OR working on praising other women for their physical attributes, as opposed to tearing them down. Also, it’s fine to eat comfort foods, but also eat heart healthy foods, and walk an extra few blocks to burn calories if you think you’d benefit from it. And, be open to trying new foods in general. Wear clothes that are both flattering and comfortable, and always take an extra moment to give yourself a small bit of praise before you leave your home every morning.
Just as everyone is sitting down to assess their plan of action with their diets, their workout regiments, their careers, and their finances, the new year is the perfect time to sit down and assess your plan of action with your love life. If things didn’t go the way you’d hoped in 2012, for the most part that was no stroke of bad luck. It was an accumulation of wrong decisions, shortsightedness, and perhaps failure to respect yourself and your needs. Don’t just charge into 2013 saying, “My love life will be better this year!” Ask yourself how?What will you consciously do, or perhaps not do, to improve your love life? A great way to begin is to make a list of behavior and treatment you just won’t tolerate. This might help you get started with your list.
Brand New Kind Of Me: How I Overcame My Low Self-Esteem And Negativity To Be A Better Me (And You Can Do It Too…)
Self-esteem is defined as “a realistic respect for or favorable impression of oneself; self-respect.” While it seems that loving one’s self is a basic act that should go without saying, it is often an ability that is taken for granted by those who don’t struggle with it. Being confident and having self-esteem does not mean that you are perfect, but that you have made the conscious decision to love yourself regardless of your faults and shortcomings. If you find that you struggle with self-esteem, know that you do not have to live this way and that you can overcome this poor image you have of yourself if you really put your mind to it. I know because I’ve been there. Here are 10 things that assisted me in overcoming the negative and distorted image that I had of myself and hopefully they can help you, too.
1. Identify the problem
Recognizing the exact source of your insecurity is a crucial step in overcoming low self-esteem. It is impossible to fix an issue when you are unable to identify the root of it. Are you unhappy with some physical feature about yourself? Is there some personality flaw that you believe you have? According to Dr. John M. Grohol of Psych Central, in order to overcome this issue, you have to first locate your “irrational thoughts.” He suggests creating a a duel-sided list where you compile 10 of your strengths and 10 of your weaknesses.
2. Think about what you’re thinking about
This golden nugget was provided by Joyce Meyer’s best-selling book Battlefield of the Mind where she coaches and encourages readers to be triumphant in their battle against negative thinking. One of the tips offered is to become aware of the thoughts that you entertain. Many times negatives thoughts will enter our minds and we allow them to take residence in our thought process for the long haul. In becoming more conscious of your thoughts, you can effectively dismiss those that are self-condemning and hateful. It takes work and discipline, but it is very possible. As we know, our thoughts become our words and our words become our actions. It all starts in the mind.
3. Set a (realistic) goal
Achieving a goal that has significant meaning to you is a great way to give your confidence a boost. It doesn’t have to be something major, but something that you would view as a personal victory. Have you been meaning to drop that extra 5 lbs that you unknowingly picked up? Feeling the urge to go back to school? Go for it. Keep a written record on your victories, you’ll be able to reflect back on them later.
4. Pick up an exercise routine
You don’t have to go overboard and try to be the next Donna Richardson, but even light exercise will have you not only feeling better, but looking better as well. Physical activity has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health as well as self-image.
5. Pick up a hobby
What do you enjoy doing? If you like to sing, think about taking some voice lessons just for fun or joining your church or community choir. If you enjoy dancing try signing up for a dance class at your neighborhood recreational center. Focusing on something you’re good at is a sure way increase the manner in which you view yourself.
6. Resist the urge to compare
The temptation to compare yourself to other people is ever present and a threat to many. Comparing yourself to others will generally leave you feeling down on yourself and it’s a habit that should be broken immediately. Recognize that no two people are alike and that just because another person is strong in an area where you feel that you are weak does not make you any less than they are.
7. Don’t hate, congratulate
I know this is a really corny saying, but it’s true. The green-eyed monster loves to show up when someone else has made a major accomplishment, but before you allow him to overtake you, stop and think. Make an attempt at generally being happy for the person and congratulate them, because I’m sure you would want the same love from your friends and family. You’ll feel a lot better.
8. Add to or upgrade your wardrobe
It is important to realize that confidence comes from within, but there’s nothing wrong with feeling good about the way you look, and sometimes a new outfit or two can do the trick. Don’t put yourself in debt or max out your credit cards, but there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to something nice.
9. Compliment others
I’m not sure what it is about making someone else smile, but it makes you feel good too. The next time the girl in the cubicle next to yours comes in with some fly new shoes, tell her. If you’ve noticed that the usher at church has lost weight, let her know how great she looks. I promise that releasing positivity and positive energy into the atmosphere usually always make you feel good.
10. Meditate on how God sees you
Sometimes it is difficult to see the greatness inside of you, but constantly reminding yourself of how God views you is a great start. Memorizing scriptures such as Psalm 139: 13-16 or Ephesians 2:10 that reinforce the idea that you are a divinely created being who is deeply loved by the One who created you is a strategic way to put a smile on your face.
What are some other ways that you boost your self-esteem on days you’re running low?
All photos are courtesy of Shutterstock
You know those days when you’re on YouTube and you start out on one video and after about four or five videos you’re like: ”How did I get here?” Well, I had a situation like that last week. I started off watching a video of my sister Kayla singing and ended up at a makeup tutorial video entitled “From Fugly to Fabulous.” Two things occurred to me while watching this video: ”Man, maybe I should revamp my makeup routine from nothing to something, because this lady looks FIERCE!” and second: ”Why is she calling herself “fugly?” She’s beautiful!”
I would like to think that she was being humble and didn’t want to say something like: ”From Beautiful to Mega-ultra beautiful,” but seeing those words made me think of myself as a child.
When I was a little girl living in Alabama, I didn’t realize that I looked different from my siblings until we moved to East St. Louis and we started going to the same school. In this predominately black environment, whenever people saw me with my two older siblings we were always addressed with the same question: ”Why is she so dark? Is that y’all cousin?” ”No, she’s our sister.” ”What? Y’all got different daddies or something?” ”No, we all have the same parents, she’s just darker that’s all.” It continued to happen when we started going to our church as well. People would always recognize my sisters as siblings, but would always ask: ”Why is y’all cousin always with y’all?” Though I was lauded for having hair that draped to my butt, I still felt insignificant because I was too dark. It didn’t help once I got older and started getting crushes but I was denied because the boys that I liked fancied my sisters saying: ”It’s not that you’re ugly, it’s just that they’re so much prettier.” ”Umm… okay…”
I felt so bad about my dark complexion that with my first dollars of allowance that my father gave me, we went to Walmart and when he asked me what I wanted to buy with my money I told him, with my five year old voice, skin bleaching cream. My father who is also dark told me that I was beautiful, and from that day, even until now, his nickname for me is “Dark ‘N’ Lovely.”
My father’s encouragement definitely made me feel good about myself, but something that really touched me was an incident from when I was in high school. I babysat for a few families in my neighborhood, and one of the little girls who was my regular was this green eyed blonde two year old. She and I were coloring with markers and I noticed that she was observing me imitating me to the point that she would place her arms the way that I placed mine. I then saw her take a brown marker and began to color on her arm. ”Jessica*, why would you do that?” She smiled at me and said: ”Now I’m Kendra. I’m beautiful.” Thinking about it now still brings tears to my eyes, but it makes me realize that if a small two year old could see me as beautiful, why shouldn’t I?
It goes beyond a light skin – dark skin thing. It’s about getting to the point that whenever you look in the mirror that you like what you see, and you don’t attack yourself verbally about your perceived imperfections. I have had moments where I didn’t like myself, and even now after having my daughter and trying to lose this extra baby weight, it’s hard not to tear myself apart in the mirror. But I had to teach myself that no matter what, I am beautiful. I feel like I’m finally able to appreciate my looks for what they were. They might not be perfect, but I love me for me, and every woman that I come in contact with is beautiful. No longer feeling like I needed to compare myself to other women, I feel free and I love the freedom of not looking in the mirror and feeling like I’m ugly anymore. I’m me, and hey, I like me! Shoot, love me, actually.
I’m saying all of that to say this, no matter if you look the way that you would like to, and even if you don’t have the remembrance of an authority figure or a little girl’s voice to remind you that you are beautiful, know that you are.
Sometimes people can be so hard on themselves and feel like that because they don’t look a certain way, have a certain shape, or skin tone they don’t look as well. It goes for light skinned and dark skinned girls. (I recently found out that my two older light skinned sisters, who spent a week in Vegas a few years back, spent most of that time tanning, because they always felt that dark skin was beautiful, and they were too light.)
Instead of comparing yourself to someone that you’re not, love yourself for who you are. You are beautiful, and please remember that. So, please don’t be so hard on yourself, and get to loving you for you.
You’re beautiful. Why? Because Kendra Koger tweeted it @kkoger.
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That statement sounds backward as all get out and truthfully I’m not sure the justification provided in the Harvard Business Review will clear things up much better for you.
In a piece simply titled, “Less Confident People are More Successful,” Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, an international authority in personality profiling and psychometric testing, writes:
“After many years of researching and consulting on talent, I’ve come to the conclusion that self-confidence is only helpful when it’s low. Sure, extremely low confidence is not helpful: it inhibits performance by inducing fear, worry, and stress, which may drive people to give up sooner or later. But just-low-enough confidence can help you recalibrate your goals so they are (a) more realistic and (b) attainable.”
Dr. Chamorro-Premuzic then writes out three points to support his argument:
1. Lower self-confidence makes you pay attention to negative feedback and be self-critical: Most people get trapped in their optimistic biases, so they tend to listen to positive feedback and ignore negative feedback. Although this may help them come across as confident to others, in any area of competence (e.g., education, business, sports or performing arts) achievement is 10% performance and 90% preparation. Thus, the more aware you are of your soft spots and weaknesses, the better prepared you will be.
2. Lower self-confidence can motivate you to work harder and prepare more: If you are serious about your goals, you will have more incentive to work hard when you lack confidence in your abilities. In fact, low confidence is only demotivating when you are not serious about your goals.
3. Lower self-confidence reduces the chances of coming across as arrogant or being deluded. Although we live in a world that worships those who worship themselves — from Donald Trump to Lady Gaga to the latest reality TV “star” — the consequences of hubris are now beyond debate. According to Gallup, over 60% of employees either dislike or hate their jobs, and the most common reason is that they have narcissistic bosses. If managers were less arrogant, fewer employees would be spending their working hours on Facebook, productivity rates would go up, and turnover rates would go down.
Adding a little more meat in between each of the points, the professor’s overarching point is that the less confident you are in what you’re doing, the more likely you are to prepare and work hard at achieving something. That obviously makes sense but when it comes to actually performing the things prepared for in moments of low confidence, appearing more self-assured is definitely valuable. Perhaps this article would have been better written as a cautionary tale to being over-confident rather than advocating a low level of self-confidence but I guess we get the point.
What do you think about this argument? Is it valid?
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