Life Letter: Ashleigh is finding confidence
I aim to surround myself with people who uplift me and encourage me to be nothing other than myself, because they genuinely like that person.
To everyone who has ever doubted themselves,
You’re not alone. Who hasn’t doubted themselves at least once or twice? Finding and maintaining confidence is no easy task. I mean, we are programmed to believe that every single person we encounter, no matter how briefly, judges how we look, how we talk, how we think. So how do we look, talk, and think in a way that will please everyone? The truth is, we can’t. Really, though, why would you want to? At the end of the day, there’s only one person whose opinion should matter: yours.
As early as middle school, I wanted to fit in. I tried desperately to fit into group after group, hoping that one day I would find “my” group, and I would fit neatly into place beside them. Time after time again, I failed, growing increasingly frustrated. Finally, I realized that the problem wasn’t a problem at all. I spent so much time desperately trying to fit in a mold, suppressing thoughts and interests in hopes that I’d fit in. I tossed aside things I enjoyed, for what? To please people who couldn’t like me for ALL of me? Humans are complex, with many interests and opinions and goals, which makes it impossible to fit in with just ONE group. I became much happier with myself upon realizing that it was okay not to fit into a mold.
Once I realized that I didn’t have to fit into a mold, it opened so many doors. I realized that I could look and act differently from everyone else if I wanted. It’s OKAY to feel uncomfortable with looking or acting the same as other people of the same age as you, the same gender as you, or who have the same interests as you. I realized it was okay to just be ME. I definitely struggled at first, but once I began doing things because I enjoyed them, I began to feel more and more confident. I’ve stopped aiming to dress, talk, and act in a way that only pleases others, and I finally feel like myself.
I still consider what others think, but I avoid letting their thoughts define me. I still struggle with this from time to time, though; more than once, I’ve looked in the mirror while wearing something that I loved, but could only worry that others might find it too “out there.” I love wearing skirts and dresses, but I often wonder if people are judging me for being “too dressed up.” However, I’ve reached a point where I feel good about my appearance and how I dress, so I no longer let those worries impact me. It took several years struggling with who I was as a person and how I wanted to portray myself to reach this point, but now I can say I’m truly happy with myself. That has helped enormously with staying confident.
Perhaps the factor that has helped me the most is simply surrounding myself with positive people. These people aren’t always the same age or gender as me, and sometimes we don’t share similar interests. I aim to surround myself with people who uplift me and encourage me to be nothing other than myself, because they genuinely like that person. In recent years, I’ve met people who helped me grow into a person that I’m proud of and confident in, and it’s such an amazing feeling. They’ve inspired me to uplift and encourage all the people in my life, as I believe everyone deserves to feel confident and happy with themselves.
As of today, I’m still not 100% confident, 100% of the time. However, I’m constantly working on improving myself so that I can be. I have worked for years to reach this point, but it was worth it to be genuinely self-confident. I’m excited to have reached a point in my life where I feel confident in myself, and I’m extremely grateful to all the people who have helped me reach this point. I’m looking forward to a future in which I can continue to improve, and I hope to encourage others to improve as well.
Wishing you the best,
Can we just take a moment to Ashleigh her face:
Follow Ashleigh for constant wonderfulness: