Growing up, I was a shy and introverted young girl, always self-conscious and comparing myself to others around me. In high school, I slowly began to accept myself for who I am and grow confidently in my own identity.
Photo: Els Fattah on Unsplash
The process of accepting who I am now has not always been an easy road; for, often, I would doubt myself of my abilities and criticize myself unhealthily. I do not know when it began to change, but in high school, I realized I had to overcome the urge to compare myself to others, in real life and in the media, if I were to ever be happy in my own skin.
My confidence hit a low point when I lost sight of what it means to be healthy, focusing solely on the images shown in the media. I constantly compared myself to photos of models and celebrities, as they showcased what I thought was the definition of “beautiful.” I remember I wanted to be just like my favorite celebrities.
In high school, I gained a lot of confidence I did not have when I was younger. The way to confidence? For me, I focused on finding my true passions by indulging in extracurricular activities and surrounding myself with friends who accept me as I am. Each after-school activity has taught me to understand my likes and dislikes and to figure out my favorite hobbies. My friends have encouraged me to embrace and stay true to myself, without comparing myself to others.
Most importantly, I have learned to ignore many of the images presented in the media; for, I began to understand the beauty of Photoshop and the world of advertising. The media, I feel, played a large role in the way I felt about my body and the way I saw myself. Rather, I think the media are to blame for my lack of confidence and self-consciousness. I came to understand the definition of beautiful, as I see it. With that, I have never felt more confident.
Still, I believe I have a long way to go in regard to my level of self-esteem and maintaining confidence. With the amount of doubt I have about where I am supposed to be in life and what I want to do in the future, I feel waves of confidence come and go. When a productive day occurs, I see a boost in my confidence. When I feel that I am not where I want to be at this moment in my life, I sense a drop in my confidence. But…that is not to say that I am not a confident person; rather, it means I am continuing to seek ways to grow emotionally, psychologically, and socially.
The next time you feel a low sense of self-esteem or lack the confidence in a decision, take some time to really think about who you are and where you want to be in your life. And remember, confidence is about accepting and learning who you are, and not what society wants you to be.
My name is Sara Kim, a recent graduate of the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College. I majored in journalism with a double minor in Health Policy & Management and Asian American Studies. In my free time, I enjoy working out, reading books, watching movies, and cooking. Fun fact: I am a foodie and love to try out new places and recipes.