Confidence: it is something some people lack and something some people just ooze.
Over the past year I have reflected on confidence, and while I still may not be able to flaunt my confidence naturally, I have worked hard to develop my inner confidence and let it speak through my voice, choice of friends, and my ability to make a difference.
My freshman year of high school has been a transformative year for me. I am now taking risks, speaking out, accepting myself, and, most of all, becoming a leader. Being an introvert, I naturally withdrew from the outside world and, if left alone, would live within my own personal bubble. If you had asked me a year ago if I wanted to become a blogger for GLI, I would have laughed and thought, “There is no way I’d actually be accepted; why try?” But I’m here to tell you now, try.
Taking risks is scary; like everyone else, I fear failure. But getting outside of your comfort zone helps you to grow as a person, and you might find out that you are something you never thought you were. You might find that you enjoy doing something you never tried before.
If I hadn’t tried and taken that risk, I wouldn’t be where I am right now, writing a blog for the Girls Leadership Institute and speaking out about CONFIDENCE!
For me, speaking out has always been hard, and for a long time I felt that my opinion didn’t matter or what I had to say wasn’t “right.” High school, however, has developed my ability to raise my voice. The clique I was a part of in middle school ended up being a toxic one, and once I realized this, I decided to use entering a high school twice the size of my middle school as a clean slate. In addition, I am taking higher-level classes with critical thinking and active discussions. Finding myself in debates about current events has helped me come out of my shell. I no longer feel the need to hold back my opinions because they don’t agree with everyone else’s.
Exposure to such a variety of new people, cultures, and ideas caused me to reevaluate how I felt about things. I had to decide what qualities I wanted in the people I became friends with. By reevaluating, I noted opinions I’d previously held that I no longer agree with. I found real friends who helped me feel better about myself; they didn’t exclude me, negate me, or make me feel bad about who I was. I now have a support system.
Next year, I’m jumping straight into a leadership position in a club I am involved in, the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA)! I chose to be an officer of FCCLA because I will get to take one step further in my participation. I will have the opportunity to influence others and help them to grow, as well as further my own personal growth (and inner confidence!). Being a part of FCCLA has taught me that anyone can make a difference; all you need is the confidence to be yourself.
Writing this blog, entering high school, abandoning toxic friendships, and assuming a leadership position in a club has given me many opportunities to reflect. Realizing who I am and, conversely, who I am not, is something I never gave much thought until the end of middle school. Until that time, I had been floating along, trying to fit in and assuming I was just…me, all the while not thinking about what “me” was – who I really am. Since then, I’ve gotten to know myself more. I am a nerd, a geek, and a dork. I absorb literature like a sponge. There is no athleticism present in my family or me. I may never be completely comfortable in social situations and I’m fine with that. I’m still coming to terms with being different from many people in the small town I live in, but that’s okay.
I’m me, and when it comes to who I actually am versus who I thought I was, I feel confident.