Disclaimer: you should know, this one is going to be pretty long ^.~
I'm sure that, speaking as a teenager, I can relate to quite a few of you out there when it comes to the matter of confidence. Not only that, but I'm a teenaged girl. Ladies, I'm sure you can empathize here. We all have those days. You just feel like hiding your hair in a super-quick-and-simple updo, putting on a mask of makeup, and exchanging those skinnies for a pair of safe, baggy pajama pants. It just tends to happen; our hair is too frizzy, those break outs are too prevalent, and our legs just aren't shaped up enough for those cute new jeans we got. No, we all have those morning inspections, and some days we just can't make the cut, in our opinions.
Believe me, I know. And I'm sure guys have their insecurities as well...and since the poor dudes can't get away with makeup without turning in their "man cards", they apply a nice layer of ego to patch the job.
Regardless of what we do with it, our self-consciousness always gets the better of us. But let me tell you something profound: your zits are not the zenith of the universe.
...let's tone that down to something a bit more modern-style English. Pardon my folklore tongue ;). An average human is somewhere between five and six feet in height; the average pimple doesn't exceed a few centimeters in length. You do the math. What will another person notice first? The reader-friendly, large font of your face, or the easily-missed subtext of occasional break outs? On that note, a friendly heads up: makeup clogs your pores, and can cause even more defined skin problems. So...be you. I understand it's fun to get dressy; I to experiment with beauty products myself. But makeup is just something with the sole purpose of accentuating the beauty that's already there.
I've been taking vocal lessons for two and a half years now, and I can proudly say that my teacher is one of the most amazing, gifted, and blessed women in the world. She's from Africa, so she has a delightful accent that's a mix of British and something else; even when she speaks it sounds like she's singing. She's one of those bright and cheerful stars in my life that won't go out, no matter what, and I'm grateful beyond words for the measure of confidence in myself she's helped me find. One of her favorite phrases to say when referring to a performance I might be feeling nervous about is this: "Be fabulous, honey!"
There's something about the way she says that; I'm not sure what it is, but it fills me with strength and a desire to do my absolute best. Maybe part of it is due to the faith we share, and the philosophy that if God gives you a gift like music, you should always perform with His glory in mind. It guarantees a personal best effort, and a fantastic finish. When you're not singing for yourself, your voice goes further; it reaches not only the audience, but their hearts as well.
The point I'm trying to make is this: our lack of self-confidence stems from a focus on ourselves. Just stop and think. Imagine a perspective outside the box and beyond the mirror, because even a mirror isn't too reliable. It's just a reflection of how you see yourself. No, try to imagine how everyone else sees you. For example, one of my dear friends has the most beautiful hair I've ever seen. it's long, chocolatey brown, and full of volume and enviable curls. On top of that, she is beautiful from the inside out, so it's understandable that I would chuckle when she apologizes for a "bad hair day". Sure, her hair might not be as perfectly curled and spot-on as it could be, but to me, she's too beautiful for that kind of thing to make a difference. The reason for our conflicting points of view is she focuses on the hair in itself; I'm focusing on her as a person. How odd would it be for someone else to focus on one thing about you? Quite. So think about others, and how they see you. You'd be amazed at how small a deal a bad hair day becomes.
Now, for self-respect. It's clear and understandable that if there's on thing in high demand right now, it's respect. Everyone wants everyone else to respect them, and that's an admirable desire.
Respect who I am. Respect my decisions, because it's my life. If someone doesn't respect me, they can't expect me to give them my respect; who gives something for nothing?
Respect. It's in high demand, like money and job positions. What else do these things have in common? They're becoming increasingly rare in this day and age. Respect is in recession too, and don't say you haven't noticed. Lack of respect for one's parents, for one's social standing...even the environment isn't getting the respect it should have. It's all going down the drain of animosity and chaos. So what's the deal? Where is the source to this shortage of something that was once so common it defined us as Americans and respectable human beings?
I believe it can be traced back to a lack of self-respect. It's a misunderstood malady that has far-branching consequences people couldn't even begin to imagine.
That gossip diva who makes your school social life a living Hell when you get on her bad side? The junkie that comes to class wasted past the point of caring how much he disrupts everyone else? The internet troll whose very existence seems to revolve around pissing everyone off? The scum of society that degenerate into a life of crime and substance abuse until they either overdose or are thrown in jail? Those are just a few examples. Their blatant lack of self-respect drives the common masses away from them. Reputations are assigned, and any hope of earning this thing called "respect" is lost. They spit at the world like wounded animals, and the world shuns them as such.
It's a pitiful mire of disrespect and disdain, isn't it? They don't get respect from themselves, and according to the world, they don't "deserve" respect from anyone else. But let me ask you this, and I want you to consider carefully...is respect a right we have to earn? Or is it something we ought to owe every living thing?
Sometimes, circumstances beyond their control strip people of any self-respect they might have been born with. Where could they regain it, then? Children born into abusive households grow jaded and bitter before they grow up, rape victims are robbed of their self-respect in more ways than one, and a child bullied in primary school could easily join his antagonists in high school because they scarred him into believing he wasn't worth anyone's respect, and therefore ought to give none in return. No one offers them an unexpected gift of respect to replenish their sadly depleted supplies.
For me, this is as much a reminder and a self-reprimand as it is a blog. One of my flaws is my natural disdain for those who have no self-respect. They have a certain repugnance to me, and while I occasionally tolerate them, I always walk away knowing that tolerance isn't what they need. They need something more, and it's something I can give them if I put enough effort into it. I'm not proud of how I've treated people up to this point, and I offer you to join me in this challenge.
To wrap this up, confidence and self-respect go hand-in-hand, and they also go a long way. They make you more appealing to other people, and make it easier to get along with your fellow man. I feel that if we focused on improving these two elements...not only in ourselves, but in others as well...we as a generation, as a people, could improve many other things in this world as well. So, those are two major ingredients in the Recipe for Humanity: Self-respect and confidence. They're like flower and sugar, so sift them together as a base for your final product. That's all for now ^.^ God bless, everyone!