Confessions of a former, self-proclaimed, ‘confident woman’.

“After years of screaming, ‘I’m confident’, I realized I was lying to myself the whole time.”

A woman thinking with a sunrise behind her and clouds

I

am an extrovert, not to an extreme, but if someone asked me to get on a stage in front of a billion people and sing or dance or act or even just talk, I would do it in a heartbeat. It wouldn’t scare me, in fact, I would relish in it — in the moment — because I love performing.

Bring me to a party, or a dinner, or a gathering, and introduce me to new people, and I thrive. Albeit, this one is a bit harder for me, but making idle conversation with strangers isn’t a nightmare, it’s something I can do.

But get me one on one, especially if I think you’re beautiful (and disclaimer: I think everyone is beautiful) or if I sense that you also believe that you’re beautiful, and it’s game-over for me. I become a glorified mess of a human and want to crawl inside myself and hide.

A little blonde girl covering her eyes

In fact, I do crawl inside myself and think about how ugly I must look to you. How big my nose is, or small my lips, or bad my skin, etc. I zero in on this troll-like image of myself and don’t hear a word you are saying. I am too wrapped up in my own shit, my own narcissistic terror, to be able to connect with the HUMAN BEING in front of me.

Why?

Because, even though I am a performer and I can perform on a stage in front of the entire universe, or bullshit my way through a dinner party, I am not, in fact, confident.

S

o, what is confidence? I mean, there are definitely aspects of myself that I am confident in such as performing, or being a self-starter, or being creative, but even as I write these things, I am second guessing myself, why?

Confidence, isn’t a thing to own. It isn’t a noun, it’s a verb. It’s not necessarily something you have but something you just are. And guess what? People who are confident, don’t necessarily think ‘Hey, I’m confident’.

They don’t really think about themselves at all.

A blond woman reaches for the sky

They have taken a step outside themselves. They are taking in the world, and all the people, places and, things in it, from a place of wonder and curiosity. They aren’t worried about the troll-version of themselves, because they know that troll doesn’t exist. They truly do see the beauty in all the people, places and things around them without judgement. Without comparison or jealousy.

They just are, who they are. And accept the world around them, for what it is. Period.

That doesn’t mean they are complacent or don’t have passions or missions, it just means they have reached a place within themselves where they are truly content and comfortable with who they are in this world. Hey, some may even be proud of who they are!

I started talking with people who I saw this trait in, and almost all of them said the same thing:

A beautiful black woman being mindful in the woods

“I used to think I was confident, but then I realized that was coming from a place of insecurity. Now, I don’t even think about it anymore. I just live.”

T

rue confidence can be something some miraculous people are born with, but for most of us it’s a journey. It’s a pathway between insecurity and self-love. It’s not something you have to be in order to succeed, or to love yourself, or to live your life to its fullest. At the end of the day, it’s usually a product of those things.

Confidence is a product of committing to working on yourself, everyday (even when you fall off the wagon). It’s what happens when you take a good look at yourself and practice recognizing your worth. When you consciously stop comparing, judging, and setting ridiculous expectations for yourself. It’s when you start letting all that shit go and embracing your own unique beauty and potential that you discover, hey, you just might be a little bit confident.

Written by Ashleigh DePass, STUNN Collective co-founder

Originally published on Medium. Follow Ashleigh on Medium.