184 thoughts on “Self-Confidence, Self-Reliance, Self-Esteem, Self-Expression

  1. I believe that hard work pays off. My parents always preach this quote to me by David Bly “Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted”. They have always installed this belief in me since day one. I follow this belief full heartedly that if you give one hundred percent into a given task that you will either eventually succeed or something else good will come of it. My family is the type of do it yourself people who always believe that working towards a goal will lead to success.
    The Leominster Devil Dawgs race team also brings out my strong work ethic. I build, design, and race electric race cars for Electrathon America. Our whole team collaboratively comes up with ideas and concepts for the new car. Both Devin Rogers and I design this in our CAD software AutoDesk Inventor. The next part is to do drawings of all the parts and subassemblies for the fabrication of the car. Dimensioning and tolerancing everything correctly makes for a tedious and hard process. Collectively engineering something takes a lot of effort since we try to incorporate the best of everyone’s ideas to make a great car. Once we get the planning stage done the next step is to start fabricating. The building process takes several months of after school work to ensure that our race car makes the guidelines of Electrathon America and that it performs properly. Our hard work and determination always pays off because once we are done then we can see how well it performs. This is not the end though we try to improve on the minors things that can be tweaked and tuned. Last year the car that we made earned third place in the Electrathon America race at Limerock Connecticut. We also beat the school record with our aluminum car, The Flying Monkey, for the most laps around the race track. None of this could have been done if it wasn’t for our team’s effort.

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    • Shawn, Nice use of quotation as evidence. I absolutely believe in hard work– I remember watching my grandfather in awe as he continued to work up until the month he passed away. Great post. And the car sounds awesome!

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    • I love how your family goes by this standard! Without hard work, nothing can be achieved. I also like how you used the quote to emphasize your passion for hard work paying off! Nice job!

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  2. I believe that the key to truly achieving peace is through being the most authentic version of yourself. Having to keep a part of your true self hidden, whether by choice or by force, can get in the way of you feeling all of your possible emotions and can lead to stagnation, stress, or worse. Every day I ask myself if what I’m doing will allow me to completely be myself.

    I grew up in a Catholic household. I was baptized, I received my First Communion, and I received my Confirmation. Though I don’t doubt for a second that plenty of people can find happiness and fulfillment through faith, it just wasn’t for me at all. Something always felt wrong. Once I left the church and took a closer look at myself, I realized that the teachings of the church had caused me to repress some of the most pivotal parts of myself: my bisexuality and my disconnect with stereotypical gender norms. These parts of me had kept themselves hidden for so long because some part of me, way in the back of my brain, knew that something might go wrong if I were to make them public. It lead to me falling down a path of bigotry and closed-mindedness as a fear response, making me believe that these parts of me were wrong and bad. I didn’t get out of this cycle until I started living my life as who I was really meant to be.

    Coming to terms with the parts of myself that I once considered less savory was far from easy. It took years of questioning, denial, and emotional turmoil. But now I have unearthed the things that I kept buried for so long, and I have never felt more free than I do right now. I might still be in the process of making these things known to others (I’m still very far into the closet at home), but simply accepting these parts of myself as my truth and my reality has done wonders for my well-being and my mental health. I might not always be happy, or confident, or strong, but I’m content.

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    • Beautifully written, Emily. I especially like your realization that “Coming to terms with the parts of myself that I once considered less savory was far from easy.” Nice job!

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    • I think accepting yourself as who you are is so important because everyone should be able to feel comfortable in their own skin so that’s really awesome to read how you finally were able to do that!

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    • We share a very similar story Emily. I too was raised Catholic and it took time for me to accept my sexual identity but hopefully the more people who share their story the more people will feel comfortable being who they are.

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    • Your writing inspires me, Emily! The path of self-discovery is riddled with obstacles, but I am really happy that you have found yourself. I hope you continue to live your truth!

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    • Emily, I completely agree that if you hide a piece of truly who you are (by choice or by force) you won’t achieve what is really yourself.

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  3. I believe that individual willpower alone is not enough to overcome complex obstacles. Self reliance is an important tool in modern society, however, sometimes it is insufficient for conquering certain challenges that have been set ahead of you. When I was a child, I had trouble with pronouncing words, whereas the other kids around me were speaking fluent English for their age group. No matter how hard I tried at school, I couldn’t quite seem to enunciate my words as efficiently as the other children around me. I went to a charter school that was quick paced and expected each student to constantly be on top of their game. The school was training children to become self reliant at a young age which had benefits such as learning more efficiently and being more responsible at a young age. Unfortunately, the pace at which they were going superseded the pace at which I could keep up with them. Luckily, my mother was able to find a speech pathologist who would ultimately help me reach the same level of verbal success my classmates around me had achieved. The speech pathologist and I would read books, paint pictures, and walk around, all while talking about the captivating details found within what we were doing. For example, when I drew a picture we would talk about what I drew and then branch off into talking about other topics, enhancing my vocabulary and improving my speaking skills simultaneously. I remember one day my speech pathologist made me recite the phrase, “Teamwork makes the dream work…”, by John Maxwell. This cliche phrase which I learned at a young age perfectly encapsulates my belief, as it can be seen that the bridge between my willpower to communicate and the guidance to my speech pathologist yielded tremendous success, more so than me trying to enunciate words all by myself. All in all, though self reliance is a good virtue to possess in the twenty first century when solving issues, it is always better to collaborate with others in a joint effort to find solutions.

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    • I agree wholeheartedly that collaboration is what makes us come together and work at least 2x better. I love your story and the honesty of it all!

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    • I like how you acknowledged how self-reliance is important, but sometimes working with others can be more helpful. I also like how you shared your own personal experience, because it shows that sometimes we need that extra push that we can’t always find ourselves.

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  4. I am a strong believer that all relationships you have in your life should be two sided. In the past I have allowed friends to walk all over me and take advantage of my kindness, while I was not getting the same love and support from them. I would jump through hoops to do nice things for them, for instance making sure they felt special on their birthday. However when my birthday came around, it was forgotten. I would spend many nights crying because of experiences like this, wondering what I was doing wrong to make my “friends” treat me like this. It took me learning to love myself and establishing my self worth to realize that I deserved more. A person who truly cares about you should be putting in the effort to be a part of your life. If you are the only one putting in the effort in a relationship, you will start to feel a little bit like you are riding a two person bike and pedaling for the both of you. It’s emotionally and physically exhausting. You become a shell of a person, almost forgetting who you are. Once you begin to surround yourself with people who are willing to love and support you in the same way you do for them, your happiness will go up exponentially. This is the backbone to having truly meaningful relationships, and forming long lasting connections. We as humans need these close bonds in order to feel secure and content.

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    • I understand where you are coming from, I myself have been in a few of those relationships and they are emotionally draining. You give your friend a 100% of your time and support and get little in return. I found to try and not get discouraged by this because you will find that one best friend who will be there for you, they are unicorns but they are out there. You should also take comfort in knowing you are the better friend in the end.

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    • I completely know how this feels and it took me a long time to realize how to recognize a good relationship vs a bad one. I hope you have found better friends who have put in the effort to support you.

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    • I connected with this blog very much! I had the same situation when I was little and it pushed me away from having friends. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I agree very much that its exhausting on both parts and you should be very proud of where you are today!

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    • You wrote this so perfectly and I felt like I can absolutely relate to this. A past relationship of mine was exactly like this and it took a long time to realize that I wasn’t being treated right and that I was worth so much more than that. I completely agree that relationships need to go two ways and that no one should ever feel like they are less than anything ever.

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    • I absolutely agree. I feel like in all of my friendships and relationships I always put everyone before myself. I made sure they were happy before making sure I was happy. When it came to birthdays I would always buy them a cake and some food but they never did anything like that for me. I’ve recently started to learn that I need to put myself first and I need to love myself before loving anyone else.

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    • Nicely written, Julia. I can agree that it feels good to finally discover self worth within relationships. There is empowerment in knowing how you deserve to be treated by others. Don’t let anyone treat you less than that.

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    • I fully agree with you. Relationships are two sided, and both sides need to put in an effort. Without the mutual understanding and respect for each other the relationship can’t grow from there. I understand when you say people took advantage of you because you were so kind. Sadly that happens a lot, but the lessons learned from those experiences is what helps you find your real friends.

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    • I agree with everything you said. For me it was important to find a balance between taking care of myself and establishing good relationships.

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  5. I believe that it is important to be able to depend on yourself. Responsibility derives from focusing on yourself individually and if you solely depend on others, that trait will be harder to learn. There are many moments in life where self-reliance is key. However, sometimes there are definitely times where you need to lean on someone for help which is completely normal.
    After my parents got divorced when I was in sixth grade, I began to develop my sense of dependence. All of my resources were being cut in half and things grew complicated so I needed to find a way to make sure I kept my future on track. I always made sure to keep track of my own schedules and my own obligations. I always witnessed my friends depending on their parents for everything they needed or wanted growing up which was hard because I knew I did not have that option. Money was tight and I felt bad asking my parents for money everytime I wanted to go out. As soon as I was old enough, I applied for a job so that I could begin supporting myself. To this day, I still rely on myself for most of my needs but I have learned that it is not a bad thing. For a long time I struggled thinking about how I have to do most things for myself but I have grown into a stronger individual because of that. Moving away to college soon means I will be by myself but I now know that I have prepared over the past few years for that. It is never a bad thing to depend on yourself because it will lead to a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

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    • I really connected with this because my parents are also divorced. I got a job because I didn’t want to ask my mom or dad either for little things that I wanted to have. College will definitely be the jump start your path!

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    • I agree that self-reliance is key in some aspects of life. You said that you used to feel bad for being independent but I like that you went off and tried to help support the family and overall how independent you said you were.

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  6. I believe success isn’t all that great that people make out to be. Success can be viewed as a disaster in my personal experience in middle school. I had to sacrifice a lot free time to get good grades in school. I had to study 3 hours every weekday and 5 hours every weekend to get good results. I had to sacrifice spending time with my family at Thanksgiving and Christmas because I had to study for
    exams as a result I couldn’t be close to my parents. Science and history has always
    been a challenge for me so I had to work extra hard for the grades. This was very hard
    for me to achieve but I stayed at it with the ultimate goals of good grades in mind.
    People might overlook what I had to do to get good grades because they did not know I
    had to sacrifice the important time with my family to get where I am.
    This is important to know because most people think successful people are
    carefree. In reality, successful people have to let go of a lot of things which are
    important to them to stay successful. This doesn’t apply to everyone, there are some
    people who understand the struggle of success. Success doesn’t always bring
    happiness into your life, it can be a disaster because it can force you to take out things
    that are important to who you are as an individual. When chasing your dreams, you should always keep in mind that success never comes without sacrifice and being successful doesn’t always lead to a carefree life.

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  7. I believe music is the purest form of self-expression. I have been surrounded by it all my life because my mother was a professional opera singer. She raised me on classical composers, and just at the age of five, my twin brother and I would have competitions guessing which composer wrote which piece. I also picked up the violin, continuing to play for 10 years.
    At the age of eight, I heard my first pop song, Katy Perry’s “I kissed a girl”. I was so drawn to the catchy tune and her style of singing that I became addicted to pop music. Every single day I would listen to music on my radio for hours, and would even fall asleep to it. Three years later, I picked up songwriting. All I wanted was to have my own song that I could sing to. I would write as much as I could, even though my songs had no structure to them. It was my way of expressing my emotions, and it gave me joy like nothing else could. I fell in love and found every opportunity to learn more and sing as much as I could, with the help of getting singing lessons from my mother.
    As the years went by, my passion just grew stronger. Anything that happened in my life, I was able to turn it into music. It is my way of therapy and enjoying all of the little things. I continue to learn and grow from the people around me, and I am very thankful for all the opportunities songwriting has given me. My love for music will never die, and I hope to progress with my passion for a very long time.

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    • I totally understand where you are coming from. Beautifully written, Leah! I come from a family where music is a huge part of our lives- my dad used to be in a band and my mom would write a song for them. My dad always used to make me listen to the cords while my mother would make me listen to the lyrics. Music is truly the true form of self expression! I love how you talked about your past with listening to classical music, I find it fascinating that you could pick up which composer did which song at such a young age.

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  8. Dear Independence,

    Because of you, I faced fear multiple times in my life. I believe that being independence has shaped me as a person that I am today, as well because of my experience as an immigrant. As an immigrant, we face fear by encountering a new environment, different culture, as well as learning a new language. That’s the reason why I became independent, because If I didn’t challenge myself nobody else would do it for me. My parents would like to help me more, but the language is a barrier for them, However, they gave me the necessary to keep moving on.

    I moved from Puerto Rico four years ago. The language barrier challenge me to obtain hope and patience. My mother couldn’t help me more than providing me with a safe place, feeding me and supporting me even though she still doesn’t speak English, because of this challenge, my independence became part of me. I was in charge of taking the advantages of education in a new country, going above and beyond for myself to keep going. I finished my assignments by my own with the knowledge I gain in class.

    Independence, I hold you tight in my small hands because having you will make me successful in my future accomplishing my dream to have a professional career. I want to pursue my dream by becoming an Accountant. To help people manage their business salaries and etc.

    Sincerely with love,

    Glendimar De La Cruz
    Accounting Major
    gdelacruz@umassd.edu

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    • I found your story about overcoming a major change in your life very inspiring. It tells me that we, as humans, have the ability to adapt to even the biggest of changes, and overcome even the largest of obstacles, in order to reach our goals. Reading this gave me a boost in self-confidence, and confidence in people.

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  9. Dear Growth,

    The past four years have shaped who I am today.
    When I migrated to the United States I didn’t know the environment, the culture or even the language. The language barrier has been my biggest challenge in this country. I had been the quiet one in front of people. I always tell my twin’s sister to speak for me, to ask for my concerns or what I don’t understand. Even if I knew the answers, I will still tell somebody to say it for me. It was a fear for me to talk in front of a lot of people that I don’t recognize. But one day I realize that if I don’t talk for myself, nobody would do it for me.

    Because of this, I growth in different ways. One of them is since I learn english I became more outgoing, able to speak for myself and help those around me that had come to this country. Another one is being open to new opportunities and challenges. I became a leader because of the growth of learning a new language and be able to adjust in a different country, helping in dance club, in the classroom and Upward Bound as well in church. Lastly but not least, I grow as an independent woman, being responsible with the house chores is one of them. Also, managing my time wisely to be able to have fun with my family and friends.

    Sincerely,

    Glendalis De La Cruz
    gdelacruz1@umassd.edu

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    • Glendalis, I applaud you for your growth that you describe within your statement. This was an eye-opening piece, as it gave me the interesting perspective of an immigrant who worked hard to not only acclimate to the culture of the United States of America, but grow and benefit from being here as well. I really respect your story of growth, as it gives me hope that the American dream of having a better life still holds true. Keep up the good work!

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  10. I believe that you are your own power and no one’s opinions truly matter in the long run.

    Ever since I was a little girl, I never had much confidence in myself as a person. I didn’t see myself as someone important or as someone worth noticing. This is how I became the outsider in my school.

    I wouldn’t spoke unless spoken to, I hated when a teacher would call on me to answer a question because even if my answer was right, I would doubt my intelligence and freak out because I didn’t want to say the wrong answer.

    Overtime, any friends I was able to make were super important to me. I would cling to them with all my might- do anything to please them so they wouldn’t leave me alone. I didn’t care if they said something rude or didn’t talk to me, I just wanted to feel included and all my friendships were like this for most of my life. From elementary school, to middle school, and in the beginning of high school. I was the quiet mouse. The girl you’d go to for homework answers, for a sketch, or even a quick read through of an essay. It made me feel useful, even though I was clearly being used. It wasn’t until I joined the Drama Club did I finally see the error of my ways. When I joined, my life had changed for the better. Singing, dancing, and acting amongst true friends made me feel more confident in myself. I felt like if I did my best, it was enough. Everyone had my back, and I had theirs’.

    My true sign of me growing more confident and self-reliant was when I finally cut ties with a horrible friend I had been chained to since middle school. I had been freed from their judgmental eyes and their ideals. I could talk to whoever I wanted to talk to, be friends with whoever I wanted to be friends with- I was free to be whoever I wanted to be.

    Thinking back on my childhood I was very weak. “Self-confidence? What’s that?”, “I can’t do it alone, I’ll mess up”… It’s hard to think back on those days of wallowing in my own self-pity and crying in the corner of the playgrounds. I wish I could go back and tell myself to be brave, be bold, and be myself. Be whoever I wanted to be, because it was good enough to myself and that’s all that mattered. So what if someone didn’t like me, that’s their problem, not mine. They don’t matter, only myself. The true friends will come around and won’t try to change you or use you. They will embrace you for who you are and help you grow.

    I am more outgoing nowadays. I am self-confident and self-reliant. But why?
    I used to think you could only be confident if everyone was on your side- if everyone thought you were right. But I was wrong. Be bold and be confident even when everyone else is against you. Don’t think that if you make everyone happy that you’re happy. Make yourself happy, because you matter more than anything else. Self confidence is powered by your belief in yourself, not others.

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    • Makayla, I love this. Your first couple paragraphs really resonated with me because I came from a very similar place– I too was an outsider, and despite all my efforts to trying to fit in, it never worked, so I sort of just accepted my place in the world, and it turned into a cycle of despair and self-loathing. The belief that you don’t need anyone else to validate you really helped me during my growth of self confidence as well! I think this is a super important message to anyone who’s struggled with self esteem issues.

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    • Makayla, I really appreciate you bringing to light that sometimes self-love means cutting out toxic people we never knew we needed to let go. Similarly growing up, I was quiet and followed around a bunch of girls that would always talk smack about other people, and we were just in elementary school. After a certain girl made fun of my mom for having breast cancer, I knew I needed to let go of those toxic people. After getting rid of the people that put down others, I began to learn acceptance and that it’s okay to be your own person. I am now a strong believer in self-love, and not being afraid to be yourself. If someone does not like you and judges you, then they are jealous of you. Never be afraid to be yourself, because the only opinion that should matter, is your own

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    • Firstly, I love your writing style! Your beginning really resonated with me, as I was in a similar friend situation years ago. When I finally was able to free myself of that “friendship,” as you described, happiness came. I know it is very hard to do, so I commend you for your strength in that situation! It is so amazing how much you are been able to grow with the support of genuine people.

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  11. I believe in self-love.

    “Jeez,” I say to myself as I look at the nightmare that is poking out of my forehead, in my bathroom mirror. I yawn and stretch taking a look at my bony arms and fingers, rolling my eyes with annoyance. I walk back into my room, sit on my bed and continue looking through Instagram. Across my feed I see women showing off their summer bathing suits, and I observe closely. All I wanted was a little more weight and I can feel content with myself…

    Over and over throughout high school, I would continuously compare myself to everyone else. While everyone was thick and beautiful I was scrawny and yearning for that hourglass body. However, beauty is a social construct believe it or not, and society paints the most attractive and the fittest woman as beautiful. As someone who’s apart of the generation that abuses social media, that’s all we ever know. The only way to feel beautiful is to replicate the features of women who are already considered beautiful on the internet. Many women go with plastic surgery or they try to cut back on eating to make themselves feel like they belong. But that’s not the way to go.

    I believe in self-love. I believe that the real beauty that every young woman seeks is within themselves. For me, my beauty was accepting every flaw and every little thing that set me apart from others. As long as I did that, I was already more beautiful than I thought I would ever be. Understanding this allowed me to be more comfortable in my skin. Now that I’m departing from high school and going into the adult world, I’m able to be myself, wear what I want to wear. I’m able to hold on to this confidence that I have gained from just loving myself 10x more
    .
    Now as I scroll through my Instagram I am no longer sad that, my body type is not considered “beautiful” to the eyes of social media, I’m joyful that I’m not like everyone else. I don’t need confirmation from the eyes of social media that i’m beautiful, I don’t need 100 likes to feel better about myself. All I need is confidence within myself and that is all I will ever need.

    I’m unique and beautiful in my very own way and so are you.

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    • I agree with this wholeheartedly Genice, for I also compared myself to others for so long until I realized it was silly to do so. I love how you said self-love was accepting every little flaw you had- embracing each and every one. I also learned this life lesson, very late into my high school career. Everyone is unique and that in itself is beautiful. If everyone looked the same, we wouldn’t have the individuality that this society needs. Keep being beautiful, and thank you for your words.

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  12. What I truly believe in to succeed in a happy life is self confidence and a high self esteem. With me personally this was always hard for me to have growing up and even until now. I’ve questioned my worth and have been in denial from past experiences and I feel that is simply just how I was built. Over time I believe this is something you have to build upon yourself and grow as a person through experiences obstacles you overcome. Being comfortable in your own skin can bring you further in life. This can depend on whether you will shoot for a goal or make an important decision or not. How can you build your self- esteem you may ask? Striving to come to a point in your life and actually achieving it is the best feeling you can have which helped me with my self confidence. Definitely surrounding yourself with positive people that support you, lift you up when you’re low and help you grow as a person play a big part in being confident as a whole as well. People who are negative and always put you down and make you feel terrible do this to make themselves higher and more powerful. These are the people that you would want to stay away from. At the end of the day, doing what makes you feel buoyant, ecstatic, or the purest form of yourself is most important because that is what makes you, you. You will find inner peace and I guarantee you it will feel euphoric to be your own unique kind of person because no one can take that away from you.

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    • I totally agree with you, even though it is easier said than done it is really important to do thing for you and not worry about others judgement.

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    • I also agree that you need to be confident in yourself to be truly happy. It’s not the easiest thing to do and takes lots of practice and dedication to get to the point of self-confidence and self-reliance. I like your strategy in surrounding yourself with people who lift you up, I think that that is very important.

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  13. One of the great things about being human is that we all have our own mindsets. People can like different music, like different foods, and like different styles. Society says that we should all follow the status quo, but I believe that it’s okay to have confidence in doing something different. You should follow the beat of your own drum and be your own person. Everyone has their own story, so we should all live up to that. Self-expression is what makes us unique. Without it, there would be no creativity, no purpose, no individuality. That is why everyone shouldn’t be afraid to express themselves. The world deserves to know each and every one of us for who WE are and not what society wants us to be. Growing up over the years, I’ve learned that it’s more important to show your true self to others and not pretend to be someone they want you to be. One way that I express myself is through dance. When I am in the dance room and the music starts playing, nothing else in that room matters. My body just automatically knows how to move with the rhythm. For me, dance is my happy place and it helps me express myself. I believe everyone should find something that helps them express their selves whether it be painting, singing, dancing, sports, or anything that makes them an individual. This is why I believe self-expression should be embraced because everyone is beautiful in their own ways.

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    • I totally agree with you, if everyone was the same life would be boring. Its good to be different, and do different things. It allows us to bring unique ideas to the table, create unique things, and allows us to have conversations that go above and beyond typical questions and answers. I love interacting with people who are creative and who have interesting ideas. It motivates me to get out of my comfort zone and do something i’m not used to doing. I think part of the reason people shy away from the things they love doing even if makes them different from everyone else is this role that social media plays. People tend to just try to jump on and do whatever’s popular at the moment, follow something that someone else got views from instead of releasing or doing something for themselves. That’s why I embrace what makes me different and make sure this difference is visible every time I encounter someone new, because I like being unique and i’m not like everyone else.

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      • A fact, everyone being different is the beauty in the world. We see how everyone expresses themselves and the uniqueness is the beauty in it

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  14. I feel lost and alone in a sea teeming with different ideas, what should I believe? Should I believe what the people around me believe or tell me to believe? Should I listen to what people halfway across the world want me to do? How am I supposed to go through life if no other person has the same ideas as me?

    I have definitely struggled with all these questions. I spent years fighting to find a place in my mind for all the ideas people were trying to force into me. It has been a constant back and forth struggle of people trying to take control of my mind until I realized that they have no business taking control of what I choose to think.

    I have adopted a new personal philosophy when it comes to the plethora of ideas in this world: everyone’s ideas are valuable and important as long as they don’t entail hurting anyone. I want a world where we are all free to believe what we want and have honest and productive conversations about it.

    I am an artist and, at some point, I asked myself why do I make art? Is because I want to make something pretty to look at, or that I enjoy the process of making things? It is partly those things, but my main goal with my art is to present a different perspective on something. I hope to get people to think about something in a different way, and not to try and get them to change their views. I think that we could all stand to be a little more open-minded and I hope that one day we will truly be able to accept that everyone has different ideas and that is good for all of us.

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    • I completely believe in your philosophy. If everyone had the same opinions and ideas, we would still be living as hunter-gatherers today. Art wouldn’t exist. I wouldn’t be responding to you right now, and this entire assignment wouldn’t make any sense. It’s the flow of ideas around the world that shapes what the world is like, but also, if everyone capitulated their ideas, society would quickly collapse. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be open minded enough to adopt new beliefs or change our own, it just means that we should have respect for our own thought and the thoughts of others.

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    • I really enjoyed this post. Especially the part about how art is used to express the individual’s perspective. I think what you said about using art to try and get people to see something a different way truly gets to the heart of what art is about. No one has the right to try and dictate another person’s thoughts and beliefs, but it’s important for people to be open to everything. Thanks for sharing your ideas, I really appreciated it.

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  15. Vapid Validation:
    Scrolling through the social but there is not much socializing. Checking the comments. Are you pretty enough? Well no one seems to comment on your appearance, so you must not be. Counting the likes. Are you popular enough? Less than 1,000 likes gee that is pathetic. Confirming follow requests. Do you know them? No? What does it matter? Do you not want a bunch of followers that care about your life? Compare your feed. Wow she looks so perfect why can’t that be me? Correct your flaws. Facetune, filters, and photoshop. I mean what photo would not be complete with editing? Capture every moment. If you did not take a photo did it really even happen? Post only the best content after all you want everyone to see how content you are. Conform to the algorithm. Of course you want to post when most people are on their phones! Change your look. Do you not want to be trendy? Do you not want to fit in? After all you do not look like them. Censor your personality. Posts do not need to show who you are rather the best version of you. Consume the propaganda. Are you skinny enough are you pretty enough? Are you sure you do not need slim tea? What about Botox? Conceal blemishes. Why would you not wear makeup? Do not want to be seen as beautiful? Conclude that you are not enough. Cease this cycle. Your worth is not measured by likes, comments, shares, favorites, and reposts. You do not need the approval of others to simply be. Let go.

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    • Zoe, I love this post. I completely agree with your belief statement. With today’s technology and with the rise of social media, it can be difficult to be one’s true self and live in the moment. Commoditizing social status based on likes, comments, and shares is detrimental to mental health. While I am as addicted to this toxic trend as anyone else, I can certainly hope for a change in the near future.

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    • I loved reading this! While social media can be fun and entertaining the side you showed can often be over looked and I definitely think its important to highlight the negative parts of it.

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  16. A home does not have to necessarily be four walls and a roof; nor does it have to be a person. Home can be a community, a group, a company. As an immigrant, I have been through different circumstances in which I have been exposed in different “homes”- a different group of friends, an entirely new environment. I was 11 years old when I had to leave my life behind in the Philippines. My parents were given an opportunity to chase their “American Dream” and was able to bring me and my brother along with them. Assimilating to a new country was definitely not an easy feat. There was the struggle of communicating with others as well as feeling insecure of being different from others with my physical appearance and nationality. Not long after, I was able to find a group of classmates in school whom I felt comfortable to be around with. Moving to another town, however, was another challenge to face. I was back to square one when I started high school in a town full of people that I did not recognize. Finally, there were several occasions in which I felt home in an activity full of strangers. I was myself. There was no use in putting up a facade because people accepted me for who I am. All my faults and mistakes were used to encourage me to become better and not to disgrace me. In today’s society, there are some cases in which people have to put up a different character or person in order to please others; some may be hiding a part of themselves because they have been involved in incidents regarding gender, culture, traumatizing events etc. I may have not experienced those myself but one thing is for sure for those who have. One day you will find a place, a community, a person, an activity, a home. Someday you will find it and it will be a whole new world of just being the happy you living in the happy world that you deserve.

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  17. I Believe in Self-Confidence

    Self-confidence is not an easy thing to have. Over a person’s life, they can lose or gain their self-confidence. It is a constant journey.

    Being yourself seems like an easy thing to do, you just slap on some false confidence and a smile that hides it all.

    That was me up until maybe the end of junior year or the start of senior year in high school, almost pretending to be something I was not or hiding myself away at the very least. My self-confidence was very low walking into high school. I got bullied in middle school and I didn’t feel welcomed at dance from other students and because of that, I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin.

    During high school, I wanted to get a fresh start and work on my confidence. I hated the fact that I couldn’t list one positive thing about myself I was always looking down on myself.

    I started getting back into the hobbies that I stopped like painting and reading because I lost interest in them from me just not being happy with myself. I tried to make at least one friend in my dance classes that way I felt more comfortable there.

    And by senior year I was feeling confident in myself more. I did make some friends at dance and I made friends in high school which also definitely helped. I was starting to feel happy with myself. I started to not care as much what people thought about me. Sure, there are good days and bad days. But the good days finally started to outweigh the bad days.

    And I now believe that self-confidence is something that everyone deserves. Because when we are confident in ourselves, we truly do anything we set our mind to.

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    • I can definitely relate to your story about having self-confidence and how it can be off and on. Freshman year felt like a movie to me and then something happened in my life that changed everything. I was the type of person to slap the fake self-confidence on and pretend I was happy. It wasn’t until senior year that I was surrounded by positive people that I finally achieved self-confidence. I love how you talk about self-confidence being a journey, because it it. You can wake up one day, feel amazing and then the very next day you are back to feeling blah. I agree that everyone deserves self-confidence because it really did change my life and I am a much happier person now because of it.

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    • I understand this really well. When I was in high school I struggled to make friends and fit in. My self confidence was low as well. I did not fit into the high school I attended for the first three years of my high school career. I moved away for my senior year and decided I was going to try to grow my social circle and make friends who really cared about me. I wanted to try to grow and become a new person. I ended up doing a lot better in the new school and found some happiness I had not felt in some time. I am a much better person today opposed to then. I am not as afraid to meet new people and my confidence has increased a lot. I am much happier with myself and can look in the mirror and say there are people who love you and care for you for who you are.

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    • I understand where you’re coming from. High school can be rough, and sometimes trying to move on isn’t easy. When you’re a little fish in a big pond it can be overwhelming. The saying “fake it till you make” holds true for a lot of people. Sometimes it does take a few years to adjust to high school and find your friend group and that’s okay. No matter how many friends you have or what hobbies you do you should always feel confident.

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  18. I have experienced gender and gender norms in a variety of ways, whether it was through my own gender identity or that of my friends. I believe that gender influences both everything and nothing. In my personal experience, I have seen gender bias and how it has affected the lives of those around me. The idea of gender and gender norms can be damaging to someone who doesn’t fit into the most commonly perceived spectrum. I have found there is so much more of an opportunity to profit off of the experience and knowledge gained from socialization and communication with people who have a deeper understanding of their own gender. With this redefinition of gender and self identity over the past few years, I believe that everyone should be given the opportunity to see their gender identity on all applications, especially on their license. Licenses have stuck to very specific paths of what gender identity is and what it looks like. I personally believe that there should be the ability to choose a gender neutral or gender non-conforming option, as I know this would help many people while they are figuring themselves out or if they know exactly where they lie on the gender spectrum. This is especially important to the greater community because there are so many instances in which you use your license and the ability to be able to accurately express your gender on legal documents such as that should be an opportunity that everyone should have.

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  19. I’ve heard the comments my entire life. When I was young, my aunt described my nose as a “chocolate chip cookie” and told me she wanted to eat it. My cousins said that they were adorable and told me I got them from Papa. I was proud of my freckles and carried myself with confidence, I had never heard anything negative about my papa, and I’ve always looked up to him, so being compared to him was a big deal.
    All throughout pre-school and elementary school, my teachers complimented my freckles and called me a cutie, again boosting my confidence and making me feel special. However, that all stopped in middle school. Suddenly, the comments changed. “Why do you have freckles? Aren’t you black?” One classmate even claimed, “You’re the only black person I’ve ever seen with freckles, and the least black person I’ve ever met.” My freckles, which I had only ever gotten praise for were now the subject of ridicule every day for at least two years. I was devastated.
    I’d leave school and sit in my room, not speaking for hours. One day my Gumba, my mom’s mom, came into my room and asked me why I was so upset. I confided in her, confessing, “The kids at school make fun of my freckles.” She looked at me, puzzled, “Why do you let them?” She asked. I was more confused than ever, and she explained that my freckles were nothing to be ashamed of. They came from our Native American ancestors who were members of the Cherokee tribe. She explained that the Cherokee were a proud people and that I should feel honored to have freckles. My-twelve-year old heart was ecstatic, and I had a new spark of dignity in my eyes. After our conversation, I completely disregarded all the negative comments, and eventually the bullies left me alone.
    My freckles taught me that it doesn’t matter what other people say. You should always stay true to yourself no matter what because at the end of the day, God made each and every person beautiful in their own way. To this day, I continue to think about my Gumba’s wise words. I’m grateful for my freckles, and I look at them as a gift. In history there have been many symbolic explanations for freckles. Most commonly they are referred to as “Angel kisses.” If that theory is true, my freckles make perfect sense. My mother’s side of my family is very religious, so it would make sense that I was kissed by angels as a child.
    Throughout my life I’ve had many experiences because of my freckles, but never again will I wish I didn’t have them. I think that everything in life happens for a reason, and the experiences that I have gone through have shaped me into the person I am today. I am happy with the person I am and I would not change anything about myself even if I had the opportunity. My freckles are a part of who I am and I will wear them proudly as long as I live.

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  20. I believe everyone deserves to have the same amazing experiences as people who might be considered more normal than them. I did a theater called Open Door Theater, where kids and adults of all abilities and disabilities could come together and create the magic of live theater. Watching kids who have never been treated normally get to do such a simple part of my life made me so happy. They were all having so much fun and I learned just how important it is to be treated the same as everyone else around you. I have struggled a lot with not fitting in and it is very hard to feel like you do not belong where you want to be. I wrestle with my mind every day to convince myself that it is ok to be me, and that no one is judging me just for walking down the hall. It is a long journey and one I still travel every single day, but it is worth it because being treated equally to everyone around you is a right, and no one should ever take that away from you. I hope to be able to show everyone that they can be who they are without worrying about what others think of you. You are you and really that is all that should ever matter. I hope that using my degree in Psychology I will be able to help people find this path for themselves.

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  21. I believe that being self-reliant is the most important and helpful thing you can do for yourself because as we all grow and move on in life we take on more responsibilities and the people that may have been there in the past to help you will not always be by your side. My whole life I’ve moved and lived around the world. From Virginia to France, back to Virginia then to Massachusetts. Both my parent’s jobs took up large portions of their schedule so I was often home alone with my siblings. As the oldest of three, I was in charge when my parents were gone. I was supposed to get my little brother and sister up for school and drive them wherever they needed to be, make food for lunch and sometimes dinner. Also, I had to make sure the house stayed clean. At first, I was a little nervous because I thought I would have difficulty managing my time for school work and other things. But after a few months, I got the hang of it and I became more confident in myself. Being self-reliant or having others rely on you comes with many qualities. It can make you more confident about yourself which is a major factor in being successful. Confident people are more likely to do well in life because they know they have been successful in completing tasks in the past, and if they previously have been successful why wouldn’t they be in the future? Being self-reliant makes people better at managing their time and more confident in themselves. If my parents had hired someone else to do all of those tasks I truly believe I would be a completely different person.

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    • Even though we may face tough tasks in life they all happen to shape us into who we are today. The fact that you were able to get a routine going and balance all these activities is incredible. I believe strongly that the events that happen throughout your childhood definitely shape you into who you are as well as shape you into becoming self reliant.

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  22. I believe that working is one of the most important aspects of life. A job can be many things. It may be a waiter, a construction worker, or a doctor. All forms of work give back to society what it gives to us. Work provides us with the tools we need to live long successful lives. Work provides us stability, new relationships, and furthers our life experiences. I have learned this through watching my parents work to put food on the table and keep the heat on. I have also learned through my own work experiences. Whether it was working as a sales associate at a Wegmans Supermarket, or as a crew member at my local McDonald’s, I have learned how to provide myself with new opportunities, such as attending Umass Dartmouth.

    We all need some form of currency for stability. Some jobs provide us the ability to buy homes or cars, or even the gas to drive our cars. The gas I put in my car will get me to Umass Dartmouth on a daily basis. The money to get that gas comes from my job as a McDonald’s crew member. I have worked for two years. I have allowed myself to buy my own merchandise. Maybe tomorrow I will purchase a video game. It is more rewarding to buy it with my own money, than borrowing from my parents.

    Through working I have learned how the world works. It is a place in which you have to do, not they do for you. These experiences are important for building character. The mindset one creates from working at a younger age develops the mindset needed to begin a career. I have not always worked for pay either. There was a time I participated in the local food pantry on Saturday mornings. One morning, I had to grab an oxygen tank for an old woman in her car while she waited for her turn to shop. I felt rewarded even though I had gained no physical reward.

    Through all my experiences I have developed new companionship’s. I have met new people and gained new friends. In fact, my first girlfriend has worked with me at McDonald’s since I arrived there. One never knows if meeting a new person will turn into anything special. Work will bring us new opportunities and one can ever know unless they try. I would never have met her had I had not gotten out of my bed and applied to work in the first place. Since that time I have also met new friends to spend my free time with. We share memories on and off our shifts, and live our lives together.

    Work is important. It is not just about money, but the perks that come with the responsibility. Money can allow us to do many things. Visit the world and visit our family. Exactly how I am right now, as I type this essay in the Curacao Airport. Work teaches us right and wrong and how to do and how not to do. It teaches us social skills, how to provide for ourselves, and basic responsibilities. I have learned a lot through working. It does not always matter the job. Just do it!

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  23. Self-confidence is something that, up until recently, hasn’t been part of my vocabulary. Peers may look at me and think “Wow, she’s got the whole world at her fingertips.” While growing up in an affluent neighborhood, getting impeccable grades, and having a broad support system has positively impacted my life, being self-confident has always been a rocky road for me especially when it comes to loving who I am on the outside. My freshman year of high school I was diagnosed with a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). This hormonal condition causes infertility, ovarian cysts, facial hair, and most prominent weight gain in women. This was one of the biggest setbacks in life I’ve had to face. I remember being 15 years old crying to my mother asking her why I keep gaining so much weight. For a teenage girl just starting high school I felt like my world was crashing down. Watching the number on the scale go up and knowing that there was very little I could do about it made me crumble. I had lost the very little self-confidence I had. Fast-forward to senior year, I had now gained 50 pounds since the start of high school, but something in me has changed. As I grew and matured I realized that self-worth has nothing to do with weight or the size of your clothes. Working a full-time job and going to school made me realize that I don’t have time to sit and criticize myself, nor do I want to. As a nursing major who dreams of becoming a successful nurse and maybe even something more, I have to be confident in what I’m doing. If I’m not confident in my own skin first, how can I be confident while taking care of another human being? I always relate my struggles with PCOS back to my future career as a nurse because I had to learn how to take care of myself first in order to be mentally and physically capable of saving someone else. Being able to look back at how much self-confidence I’ve built with the help of friends, family, and mentors is something I am most proud of.

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    • I really enjoyed reading your belief! The way you explained and told your experience in life was intriguing. I love how you are not letting your condition stop you from achieving your goals. I wish you luck in your journey to achieve your future career!

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  24. From the moment I was born I was told I’d be an artist. My great aunt Rhoda had said in my mother’s hospital room “He has such long fingers; he’s going to be a pianist.” The beginning episode of my toddler self, holding some form of writing instrument to now, I scribbled. I scribbled violently and relentlessly, and just never stopped. As I grew up, I picked up seven instruments (including the piano) and grew my expertise in color theory and anatomy through the trial and error of teaching myself. Creating is my entire being; I live to create and create to live. Creating is a gift that everyone possesses, and I know we should use it to connect and branch out from what we’re all too used to.

    Art and music have always been in my life. I trap and contain my more impulsive and heavy emotions into paintings and mixed media pieces and scream my fears and anxieties into songs. No matter where you look, creativity surrounds me consistently, and I’d rather keep it this way than lose what sense of self I have. Creating, in my sense, takes an internalized concept and brings it to life, to which in this digital age everyone can see and be impacted by the creation. Giving people new perspectives on what they thought they already knew through my art, and guiding others into understanding is the purpose I found for myself.

    The summer of 2018 gave me the saying “Sahlo Folina” when Twenty One Pilots released the first few singles off Trench, meaning to “enable creative expressions.” The entire meaning behind the album was based around creativity and what you can make of or destroy from it. One of my biggest core beliefs is to enable these creative expressions through art and music or whatever one finds as an outlet of their choice, and to become free of conformity and routines that stay the same. Routines are safe, but they need to be broken to create purpose in life.

    I’ve always liked the digital aspect of concerts; the media displayed behind the musicians and the strobe lights that accentuate the vibe. The Bandito Tour of Twenty One Pilots was on an entirely different level of light shows. The burst of colors at the right time and the reverberations of bass revitalized my creative drive and pushed me to work hard on what I believe in. I’d be lying if I said the digital electronics that went into the concert experience meant nothing to me, but rather it fueled the creativity I invested in my shop in high school.

    From the moment I was born to now, I was told I would be an artist. When I could vocalize and display the ideas and extraordinary visions in my head I was creating as an artist would do. For me, creating is my life; it gives me purpose. The world needs more creators. There are more than enough destroyers in the world today.

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  25. I believe that the key to success is having confidence in yourself. It took me a while to realize this and for that I suffered for many years. I did not lack confidence in school or in my personal life, but in athletics. I played hockey for 6 years and I never believed I was good enough, so I would spend hours practicing on and off the ice to get better. My parents would always tell me that I was just as good as everyone else and that I just had to believe in myself. I shrugged them off and continued to kill myself trying to perfect the perfect slap shot. As you can probably imagine no matter how hard I practiced or how much effort I put in I would still choke and mess up in games on things that I nailed perfectly in practice.
    My failures on the ice did not stem from me being a bad player or not practicing enough, but from going into the game thinking I was not good enough and that I was going to mess up.

    Unfortunately, it was not until my senior year that I was able to understand what my parents were talking about all these years and have confidence in myself. I finally had the season I had been working for. I was catching every pass and was finally able to perfect my shot. I wish I had listened to my parents and had known what I know today, that in order to be successful you have to have confidence in yourself.

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  26. I believe that self-confidence is one of the most important qualities necessary to succeed in life. Without it, a person would never be able to achieve anything. Having a lack of confidence in one’s own abilities can keep one back from doing incredible things. I’ve always loved drawing, ever since I was little, but I didn’t truly begin to take my art seriously until around ninth grade. I never thought I was good enough, or that it could ever amount to anything. Everything I drew, I simply put aside as being just for fun, and never really showed anyone. Eventually, I began exploring other mediums, and worked further into my passion. I began to share my art with my friends, who were incredibly supportive. One friend in particular never gave up on pushing me to pursue my artistic interests. At first, I was reluctant, but as time went on, she helped me to see how much I could do if I just had confidence in my own abilities. I continued to practice and work hard, which led me to my dream of working with animation.

    My art wasn’t the only part of my life that I lacked confidence in. I was always nervous when it came to speaking in public, or raising my hand in class for fear I had the wrong answer. But as I became more and more confident in my art, I began to gain confidence in myself as well. Being surrounded by people who never give up on me and show me constant support has helped me to see just how much I can actually do if I just believe in myself.

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  27. I came to America when I was fourteen years old. It was during the summer break that was why I spent my whole summer watching Nickelodeon. I remember I had to turn the television volume up to fifty because I could not hear anything. I found out later that the problem was not my ears; it was because the television was “speaking” in English. My ears were not trained to listen to English, therefore I did not understand what Spongebob and Patrick were saying. I know people in America speak English, but it had never occurred to me that I have to speak English. I did not know what fourteen years old me was thinking. It was the first day of high school that I truly understood that I am in America and I have to speak English. During the first year and second year of high school, I did not speak a word to anyone. I was not able to communicate with other students and teachers. It was tough but it was fun to go to school. I met a friend in my ELD class, unlike me she spoke English fluently. I didn’t know how it worked but we became best friends. I recalled whenever I try to say something, I would use my hands and body to express what I want to say to her. She must have had some magic because she was able to perfectly guessed what I mean. It always amazes me how she did it. After some times, a thought popped up in my head, I don’t want to be like this forever, I want to speak up, I want to be able to communicate and make friends. It wasn’t the language barrier that stopped me but the lack in confidence stopped me from saying what I want. I was afraid that people were going to make fun of my grammar errors and my funny accent. The fear consumed me. I was thinking that I will talk to everyone when my English is better when I have the perfect accent. But I soon realized that nothing is perfect. If I don’t start to speak English now then when? I questioned myself. That was that moment everything became clearer. I started to ignore my fear, ignored the thought of what people might think of me. It wasn’t easy. Whenever I say something wrong I try to be positive and laugh at my mistakes. I learned that nothing can stop me from what I want to do, as long as I believe I can. It is the mindset that determines one’s success.

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    • I totally understand the hardship you’ve faced coming to America. It’s quite hard for people to socialize if they don’t know the language — there is always a constant fear that makes us give up but I am very glad that you have found the strength to continue on.

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    • Khanh, this belief statement is great. You are so strong for facing the hardships of moving to a completely different country. Just the fact that you have learned an entire new language in the past few years proves you’re a very intelligent, goal driven individual. Your positivity and strive for success inspires me!

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  28. I remember a little girl who didn’t have a care in the world. She was bold and free. She never cared about her appearances, the way she talks, the way she acts, the way she thinks, and the way she speaks. She and her family moved to massachusetts to see her dad. Before she knew it, she was about to start enrolling in school. It wasn’t always easy making new friends, but yet she never cared. Getting use to the country and its culture was difficult, but soon she was able to speak english fluently. However, lately she wasn’t feeling like herself. Every time she turns on TV or look at magazines she wonders, “why aren’t there girls that look like me?”, “why can’t I look like that?”. Even in the field that she was interested in, STEM, there weren’t many girls that look like her. Slowly those feelings started to eat her up, to the point she didn’t want to look at herself in the mirror. It wasn’t until junior year when she thought to herself, “why do I care so much about how I look? Or how others perceive me? I never did before, why did I start?” She looked in the mirror, and tried to find some traits she has that some of those girls don’t. With her hair, she can put it in any cool style she wants. She has thickness on her hips and thighs that some of those girls don’t have, and she has full lips. She learned to love those traits of hers, and shows it off all the time, in a confident way. And little by little, she was loving herself and everything that comes with it.

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  29. I believe that you are in control of your life, and the path you follow. Everybody’s life is different, no two people share identical experiences. We all start in various places and evolve into something unique. Sure, some people may have an easier path than others, some people may have more privileges than others, but every journey can be adjusted and those adjustments are made by you as an individual. The mindset you carry on yourself will determine how your future turns out. I believe that no destination can be achieved without keeping a positive and optimistic head on your shoulders. No matter what challenges come your way, it is important to make every negative situation into a learning experience, and then decide how you can turn it around to be beneficial to you. Sometimes it may be easier to sit back and sulk. Often when disappointment comes around, it tends to make us unmotivated and look towards giving up, because at that moment that’s what seems easiest. It may seem easier to sit around and wait for a solution to come to you, or for someone else to pick up the pieces. Although living a life like this will never be beneficial. We can’t rely on others to fix our path, as it’s our journey, not theirs. No amount of success will ever come relying on other people. If there are problems or obstacles in our lives, it is our job to try our hardest to find a solution. Nothing will just come to you and as tempting as it is to give up, that will never be beneficial to your future. I believe that to change your life around, it starts by sitting back and noticing what YOU can change within yourself, whether this is taking complete action or even just slightly attempting to adjust your mindset. Everyone is capable of living the life they desire to live, and it all starts within yourself. 

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  30. As a youngster I always took each opportunity given, participated in as many activities as possible, and never stopped getting involved. I was raised to be an independent, socially conscious, and hard-working young woman. I was always on the go running back and forth from practices, rehearsals, clubs, and other activities. My childhood days were filled with endless adventures that built my self-esteem and confidence, I was unstoppable. Families teach us values at such a young age in preparation to face the outside world. These values range from our experiences with culture, religion, and background, but are all universal from parent to child. From my parents I learned the core values to life including how to work hard, how to instill confidence, and how to be a “just” human being. As children, the world was anything we made of it and we were unstoppable. Through our youth we never truly recognize how impactful these lessons will become down the road but, the confidence instilled within us will forever be a gift.
    As a young adult stepping out of my parents shadow, my eyes now see a different perspective on life. Society has taken that eager little girl and pushed her around. The world is suddenly more complicated. Society doesn’t seem to care if you are confident or successful. This world has societal expectations that try and morph us into somebody we don’t even know. Now, instead of confidentlly chasing dreams we stress about the latest trends, best styles, and how we can become the “perfect image”. This new reality is truly heartbreaking and unhealthy. The little girl who used to do it all is now faced with threatening obstacles, public opinions, and destructive realities. We once were taught to never stop trying, to never give up, and to always keep our heads held high, but now everything has drastically fallen. Our individuality is being stripped away and we are told to no longer be unique. Our generation is drowning in immense amounts of self-esteem, mental health, and self-confidence issues.

    I belive that self-confidence should be instilled in our lives once again. We are able to overcome any and every obstacle that life throws our way. Remember when you were unstoppable? You still are so go cease the day, work hard and also play hard. You got this!

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  31. Since the start of my freshman year I always dreaded the thought of senior year and it’s senior project. Growing up, I’ve always been a shy person and always hated being the center of attention. Throughout high school, we would always have little presentations here and there as practice this way we would feel more comfortable presenting. However, all of these little test presentations couldn’t compare to the big presentation that is, “senior project.” At my High School we are required to have our presentation be at least eight minutes long but no longer than fifteen minutes. Throughout the school year we would watch examples of students who presented from previous to get some ideas on what and what not to do while we presented. While watching some of the examples of presentations, I received some valuable information that helped me succeed while presenting. However, as the school year came closer and closer to an end the more anxious I would get just thinking about having to present. It got to a point where I would stay up late at night perfecting every little detail on my PowerPoint. Once I was finally done with my PowerPoint, it was time for me to finally start practicing my speech. Each night for the whole month of May I would come home from work and practice in front of my parents at least two to three times. Each day I practiced I felt more confident in myself. The night before my senior project presentation I practiced an extra few times, to make sure I was ready. The next day I woke up excited and ready to conquer my presentation. It was finally my turn to present. All the times of practicing were finally paying off. I got to the classroom and started to present. Throughout the duration of my presentation, I became more relaxed and presenting started to feel easier for me. By the end of my presentation I was completely calm, proud and extremely glad it was over. Thanks to senior project I overcame the fear of presenting and became more confident with public speaking.

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  32. The summer of eighth grade going into my freshman year I decided to tryout for the freshman volleyball team. At first the idea seemed impossible because I had never played volleyball in my life, however I was also excited to try something new. I attended all of the captains practices and camps that the varsity coach ran over the summer and was becoming a well-rounded player. When tryouts came I was very nervous, but so was everyone else. As tryouts became harder I had begun to realize that I didn’t have the skills most of the other freshman had. The thought crossed my mind, I was going to be cut. During the last day of tryouts, as they were wrapping up, the coaches began to call each girl individually to tell them if they had made it or not. First it was the seniors, then juniors, then sophomores, and then finally the freshman. When it was my turn, I walked through the locker rooms to find all of the coaches sitting in a row holding an empty chair for me. I sat down and listened to all of their feedback after which they said, “You made the freshman team”. I was ecstatic and couldn’t stop myself from smiling. The coaches then gave me the papers I needed and I ran to my mom’s car. She was so happy for me. That was when I started to gain some confidence. Then as the years went on I got pulled up to junior varsity freshman year. Then at the end of my sophomore year, I got pulled up to varsity. Then my senior year I was voted captain alongside one of my closest friends, got mvp of the team, and Hockomock All Star. Volleyball gave me a better outlook on myself and how I want to be portrayed. I believe everyone should find something that brings out their confidence and self-esteem.

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  33. “The heart is like a garden. It can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love. Which seeds will you plant there?”
    – Buddha

    Buddha’s words are something that I’ve grown to truly believe over the past year or so. There is just something inherent about facing adverse situations that forces people to choose. I believe that you get to choose from one of two things when you reach a point like this. You can choose to respond to hateful intentions and negative behavior with even more negativity, only furthering the reach of the thing that hurt you. Or, you can choose to use the energy that you receive from this universe to grow and become something better because of it. Now, if what Buddha says really is true, it must be just as simple as making a choice. One or the other.

    I’ve had to make this choice, and the memories of my contemplation are still fresh. This past year I’ve learned what it’s like to have every single person who I used to call a friend turn their backs to me, because of the hateful behaviors of the one person who I trusted would never break the bond I tried my hardest to reinforce. Most people would consider their childhood and life-long (or what they think to be life-long) best friend their crutch and their support to lean on during the difficult times. But what do you do when that person shows you the deepest embodiment of betrayal at the worst possible juncture? A point like this is one where you must reach inside of yourself and make the choice. Either one or the other.

    I chose to use the negative energy directed towards me to grow and begin to understand myself more, rather than to retaliate and cause more people to feel the lowness that I did. Because of this choice I feel more love for myself, a much stronger connection with the people who never left my side, and overall, I have gained a different view of the way that the universe deals people their cards.

    I believe with everything that I have that you should always lean into love and positivity and avoid fueling the hatred in this world at all costs, even when you have been done wrong and shown the worst of what’s to offer. We have no more room for hate and maleficence in our current situation. Although you may feel like your actions affect only yourself and the people they are directed towards, drop after drop in the ocean of negativity inevitably leads to a flood. Not only does each person have the chance to choose for themselves which seeds they plant in their hearts, they have the responsibility to think about what their one drop in the ocean will mean for everyone else. This, I believe.

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    • Paige, I love the way that you explained this. In today’s world, many people take a negative situation and make it even more negative. I am guilty of doing so. This was a great reminder of positivity and how your actions can affect an outcome. I agree that this world already contains enough hatred and negativity that we can no longer handle and we all need to make a change. Negativity has become so normalized and we need to fight that by contributing our positivity.

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  34. I personally believe in almost everything. I believe in chance, opportunities, moments, setbacks, challenges, lessons, and even champions. I believe that reaching your dreams are inevitable, and everything that isn’t possible– is in fact possible. Everyone has their very walks of life that they come from that can possibly shape half of the person they are, people also have experiences that have come to impact their beliefs and stance on such things. Everyone has a chance to learn from those small moments, to make even better situations for themselves. I believe in success, not only my own, but in every single individual that envisions success within them. Along with success, i find solidarity in the mistakes that comes with success, that teaches us better things in the long run. I believe that honesty and the goodness of every relationship can make or break just about anyone. A Clear heart and mind can enable anybody to be determined enough to put together everything they envision forth. I believe that hard work truly pays off for those that work for it. life is what you make of it, embrace it and all of its many obstacles, its whats makes our success stories even more beautiful.

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  35. A personal accomplishment I feel I have completed and learned to embrace since my first experience in a different school environment has been to learn to express yourself no matter the situation, this has always been told to kids since they were little, but can be difficult to do especially when you are influenced by people who may not be similar to you or your beliefs. Being surrounded by people with different values and beliefs can be an eye opening experience to someone who has not had much of the world exposed to them, you can find people who are very similar to you, or even find people who are the polar opposite of you but you still find that they are someone who you get along with. To a seventh grader this new experience of not knowing much about the world and then being dumped into it was a bit shocking as you can imagine, but sometimes a bit of shock is what someone needs to be able to find out who they are. Without being pushed into unknown waters, that I had never previously wished to explore, I wouldn’t have met the people I did or been able to express who I really am or wished to be. Sometimes a push is all someone needs to figure out what kind of person they actually are or that they want to be, without that push your whole world would be different.

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  36. Growing up in my family was hard for me over the course of my lifetime living with them. They always made me feel worthless unintentionally and so I grew up with low expectations of myself because I was always told that I was too fat and that I wasn’t pretty. I grew self conscious of myself and I had always brought myself down, thinking that I wouldn’t amount to anything. I had tried talking to my family about them making me feel so down, but they would say, “you need to learn to take criticism.” My self-esteem kept getting smaller since then.
    Over the years up until my sophomore year of high school, I met a boy named Shu and we became best friends. He changed my views of myself and how I see myself. He made me realize that I shouldn’t care what other people think of me and that I should only care about what I think of myself. Only I have the power to make myself feel strong, not others who want to dictate how I look and should act.
    Since meeting my best friend Shu, I realized that everything he had taught me was true. I should stand up and show people that I won’t let them control me by hurting my self esteem or saying things that make me upset. No one deserves to be treated like they’re nothing and feel like they’re nothing. Only I can dictate that, the same goes for everyone else.

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  37. I believe that self-confidence and self-love is very important for men and women. Everyone in their own way has things that they aren’t confident about. Many people think that women are the only ones that have confidence issues, but little do people know men can also feel insecure. Through life experiences I have noticed that men can be so insecure about themselves that they can bring women to their ultime low just to make themselves feel better. I recently just got out of a year and a half relationship and had noticed that I lost myself and who I was. Everything was going good in the beginning and seemed wonderful. We were that happy couple who had all the confidence in the world, but something began to change. He wanted me to become this other person and I was the young and dumb one that did. I wanted to make him happy by doing what he wanted even if I wasn’t happy. I pushed all my friends away and I lost myself in the process. When everything had ended, I didn’t even know who I was anymore. I had low self-esteem and no confidence at all. I didn’t know what to do with my life and I knew something had to change. I began hanging around with my friends that I pushed away. They cared and wanted to help me find myself again. They showed me that I was better than just someone that could be used. I started going out and doing everything I was restricted from doing in the past. I was able to go out and have fun and find the person I lost. I learned to love myself again and surround myself with people that made me feel good about myself. I learned my worth.
    Throughout my whole experience I learned that you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else. I also learned to never change for anyone. If they don’t love you for who you are then there the one at wrong. No guy is worth ruining your mental and physical health over. Everyone is perfect how that are, but us women always compare ourselves to others. We put our confidence down, but the girl we compare ourself to is doing the same thing.

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  38. No one knows about me. Throughout middle school, I was shy, quiet, and reserved. In high school, I became more outgoing but still no one knew that much about me. Yes, they knew my name, and my favorite color (as a result of my teal colored backpack), but they never saw what was hiding below the surface. The reasoning for this I realized had nothing to do with my classmates and friends, but rather my reserved tendencies. This revelation came as a result of this “This We Believe” assignment. I kept pushing off this essay, not because I did not want to do it, or believed my essay was not “good enough” but rather I was afraid of revealing a vulnerable aspect of myself to people I do not know. Although, in high school I became more sociable I was still reserved. I would know the details of my friends’ lives, and yet they would not know the details of my life. I would never instigate personal conversations, but rather wait for others to do so for me. I hope to change this throughout my college career. “This We Believe” assignment is the first stepping stone, in my journey in becoming more open to others in college as well as in the future.
    In college, I will strive to be more open about myself to others. I will reveal some of my vulnerabilities so I can develop stronger relationships. I will instigate conversations, and not just follow the conversation. I will see the value in revealing vulnerabilities, and how they can foster stronger relationships.

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  39. It’s not easy to be your authentic self around people all the time, and especially not easy to be confident about it. Often people will shift who they are, how they act, and what they believe in order to be liked or not to stand out. This is something I often catch myself doing. I have always found it hard to be confident in who I am. I have always been afraid of not being liked or letting people down by simply just being me. However, over my 18 years of life and learning, I found it important to be confident in myself in order for others to be confident in me. I have always found the qualities of being reliable, giving, and considerate of others appealing, and I want people to use those characteristics when describing me. I want to be the person someone comes to and leans on in their time of need, and I want to be able to help them, but I have be confident in my abilities to do that. If I always try to go along with what others say and do, then I will never be able to learn from experiences and grow as a person. I need to find myself and be the best me possible before I can help anyone else. A quote by Sheri L. Dew sums this up perfectly by saying “Noble and great. Courageous and determined. Faithful and fearless. That is who you are and who you have always been. And understanding it can change your life, because this knowledge carries a confidence that cannot be duplicated any other way”.

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  40. “Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable.” School has always been my number one priority, by the time I was eight, school became my safe haven. I always loved to learn, but sometimes I got discouraged. I was an IEP student, and I thought it was nothing to be ashamed about, however at the time I wore it like a badge of embarrassment. I thought that I was the “odd ball” because I learn differently and occasionally needed extra help.
    In the fifth grade, the entire class was placed into reading groups. To me, reading groups were a mini book club, but to the kids in my class, it was a measure of intelligence. One day, there were a group of kids talking in the back of the classroom about reading groups and I went to go join them. One student spoke and said, “I’m in one of the smart reading groups” shortly followed with some “me too’s”. Other students in the group stopped to ask what a “smart reading group” was, a question I secretly had as well. Then the student listed three teachers who lead the reading group, one of them just happened to be mine. I got my hopes up quickly because I was thought I was going to labeled in the “smart kids” reading group. Actually it was quite the opposite, as I was in the “slow kids” reading group. I left the group in the back of the classroom. I wondered why I was labeled as a slow kid. I believed that I was just as smart as anyone else. Most would only say its the just the fifth grade but that was the start to my long journey of self doubt. I had additional supports since kindergarten and up until that point I didn’t see much of a difference between kids that were on an IEP and those that weren’t. It was the impact of how I was made to feel, similar to how I was pulled out of class to work on my reading skills in the fourth grade, or the times in the seventh grade where I wasn’t required to take a language because I needed additional support instead, and in the ninth grade when I was allowed a reference sheet or extra time on a test. In instances like those, I was flooded with responses from my peers like, “why’d you leave for so long”, or “that’s so unfair you had a reference sheet, that’s why you passed.” I was made to feel insecure, even though I was trying to succeed just like them. Deep down, I knew I was intelligent. I was smart enough to win a town wide essay competition in the 5th grade, I was smart enough to get out of additional support sophomore year, I was smart enough to get an A on my research paper Junior year. I knew I was a smart person, but it was the lack of confidence that held me back.
    My junior year was my first year off of my IEP. I was completely dependent on myself and it wasn’t easy. I didn’t have an additional support teacher to push me and force me to stay on top of my school work. That was difficult for me at first but, now I can say that it was beneficial for me. I was forced to be a self advocate, so if I needed help there was no going to additional support. It was on me. I am thankful for all the opportunities that has allowed me to grow. Being on an IEP didn’t determine my intelligence or self worth. I am a smart young women and I am more than enough.

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    • My sister’s also on an IEP and I can say she’s had similar struggles. Her ADHD doesn’t make her slow, though. Quite the opposite, actually. It’s wonderful seeing someone who believes that some assistance doesn’t affect your self-worth. It was a struggle at the beginning with my sister viewing herself as dumber than everyone else, but then she realized that the rest of our family was also pretty terrible at math, so she had both an “excuse” for herself and a way to bond with others. It’s good to know that confidence like yours can help push through any obstacle.

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  41. Throughout the first 10 years of my life, I developed into a shy, and an extremely self-aware person. I constantly thought about how my actions would negatively affect the public profile of myself; as a result, I became a child who could barely be able to make conversation with strangers. Rich, a staff manager of a summer camp, tried to help me with this when I was 11 years old.
    It was my first day at Tanglewood. After being dropped off by my parents, I looked shyly down at the ground waiting to be told what to do; the camp counselor, who signed me in the booklet, invited me to go sit with my cabinmates in the dining hall, where everyone was eating breakfast. After being asked this question, big, intimidating concerns spun around in my head: What if they don’t like me? What if I do something really embarrassing? So, instead of facing my fears, I shook my head and sat down on the front porch; that’s when Rich found me. After getting a large plate of fruits, yogurt, and eggs, he sat down next to me and made conversation with me. He did this for a few days every week, and, as you can imagine, he was the one who mostly talked while I briefly answered his questions and continued looking at the yard in front of us. however, those small, social interactions helped me realize that being myself isn’t such a scary thing after all.
    Throughout the years after that, I became more and more open with my thoughts and opinions about most things; furthermore, I am more than willing to ask clarifying questions to my teachers. I am content with who I am, and I believe that self-confidence is one of the many pieces to living a happy life.

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  42. I believe in a better tomorrow. One with no violence and real equality for all regardless of race, gender, and sexual orientation. I believe in a world of change. A world in which everyone is uplifted instead of brought down. Growing up in today’s world, there is so much violence and tension. People cannot be who they really want to be without getting judged for who they are. It’s sad how far from positivity and goodness the world has come. However, there hasn’t really been a time in which everything was great. Since the dawn of time, this world has systematically been set up in favor of white people aka causcasians. Being Black or African American in this world makes everything harder. Everything you do is being watched by someone else. There is always someone looking for you to mess up. There is no room for mistakes or improvement.
    It is unfair that a white man can do the same crime as a Black man and get less time.
    It is unfair that Black men and women are always being targeted.
    It is unfair that when a Black person messes up, it is looked at as normal.
    It is unfair that when a Black person is killed by a police officer, the Black person is somehow at fault despite being dead. They are automatically labeled as guilty without being proven guilty. They are labeled gang bangers and drug dealers while a white person could kill several innocent people and excuses are made for them like “He was from a broken home.”. Growing up seeing how unfair the world is to people like me made me not want to be apart of the injustice. The world made me act a certain way so I wasn’t portrayed a certain way. In the process, I lost who I really was in fear that the world wouldn’t accept me for me. I had to overcome fears to regain the confidence I once had that was lost when I changed myself for the world. I learned to stop living for what the world justifies as okay and normal. I decided to do me and be who I was born to be. Unapologetically me.

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  43. I have never had a problem with self-confidence, although this may seem conceited to some, its the truth. I know who I am and what I want out of this life and I whole-heartedly believe that self-expression is the #1 way to achieve said goals. Unfortunately, self-expression in some cases can also be the demise of civilized society as we know it, well, the lack of self-expression.
    When children are conditioned from a young age to embrace a certain belief or school of thought, they grow fearful of new ideas and thoughts and they turn to violence as a means to defend their beliefs. If you for instance, are taught from a young age to hate a certain culture or people, you will only know how to deal with those problems through violence, because as children, yelling and screaming was the only way we knew how to get what we want, and this sticks with you. This is not to say children shouldnt be taught how to act in society, but rather, we should give everyone the independence to think for themselves, pass every thought and belief through their own filter of reasoning, then draw a conclusion. Then and only then, will we be able to achieve harmony and coexistence in today’s modern society.

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  44. I believe that your struggles shape you into who you are. Throughout our lives we go through struggles, whether it be heartbreak, abandonment, depression, or even just having too much on our plate at one time. In the past year I’ve gone through some of my own. Every struggle I went through I figured it was easiest to blame myself. I tried analyzing everything that went wrong with the people I lost or situations that didn’t go as planned to see what I could’ve changed. Unfortunately I never found an answer. That was because it wasn’t me. These struggles happened for a reason and made me who I am today.
    My father stopped talking to me and it left the biggest mark on my life. I couldn’t understand how a father couldn’t love his daughter enough to stay. This was a struggle that impacted me every single day. It made it harder to trust, harder to love myself, and harder to accept love from others. During this process I realized who was there for me and who wasn’t. I got closer to people who helped me grow from this situation and got rid of people who made me dwell on it. But most importantly I became a stronger version of myself, physically and mentally. When my dad left I started going to the gym every single day to keep myself busy. It became a habit and now I’ve never felt healthier and motivated the way I do now. Mentally I grew up. Little problems in life didn’t seem like problems anymore, they became easier to handle, and I learned to love myself. From a very young age I always wanted to change myself, but I realized if I didn’t love myself then id never be able to accept love from other.
    Although this was the hardest year of my life, everything I went through shaped me to be strong, independent, and most importantly to finally see the good in me.

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  45. Senior year, I began in a terrible place- mentally, physically, and emotionally. I was wasting my time on people who didn’t care, who only brought me down further. I had drifted from reality.
    January came so quickly and before I could act, my dad passed away with cancer. “I knew he was sick, I knew he was dying, I knew he was scared, and why was I so stupid?!”, was guilt no one should ever put on themselves. Fortunately, I realized how easy it was for life to change its course without saying, and I began to find myself.
    With the support I received, I was able to start living. I opened my eyes, I picked up my head. “It’s time, I must act. Because I know he’s watching, I know he believes in me, and I have so many people to make proud”.
    In such a short time, I have grown in so many ways. I believe we all have the power to “be the change we wish to see in the world”. I believe there is no other way. I know I can’t change the past, but I can change my future. In a battle with one’s own perspective and willingness to make change, I believe we are all capable of making a difference in how we want our futures to be lived.
    I see a beautiful world in front of me; it simply takes a want to see change and be that movement.

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  46. I believe that without the unknown we would not challenge ourselves and find who we truly are as an individual. Through the impediments that are created through our sense of not knowing what will happen next. In my life for the past 12 years my parents have been in control of the pencil drawing and mapping out my future with the knowledge that they have gained through the course of their lives. but as I begin the transition from high school to college, the pencil has been passed onto me and I will continue to draw my life and continue the map they started. In the next four years of my life I will truly discover what I want to shape the remainder of my life to be. Through these crucial years I will make many decisions that I will not know the outcome too. Some of these decisions will push me into the right direction, while others will push me in the wrong direction and force me to work harder to recover. The Next chapter will not only shape as an individual but, shape my future in friendships, mentally, and success wise. And this is why without the unknown we would not know who we truly are as individuals.

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  47. I believe in taking advantage of every opportunity, I believe that using every opportunity given to you can not only help you but potentially open up doors for other people. In my life I have taken many opportunities. One of the biggest opportunities I’ve taken was a job showed to me by a friend. I was just at home and a friend called me and told me I should apply to this job a week before I turned 16. It was a Swim school for kids and I barely knew how to swim and I also am allergic to the cold (that’s a real thing). Anyways, I decided to go there and I got the job on that same day and started working a week after. This job taught me a lot of things even tho I hated being in the cold water. It taught me responsibility and helped me make so many connections with kids and parents have a huge impact on their lives. To this day, at my new job at Starbucks which is like 2 minutes from that swim school, I have some customers come in and remember me and say their children still talk about me and it’s been a year. I say all this to say ,again, that taking opportunities is important. Haven’t I not taken that job, I would have never learned what I know today and maybe I wouldn’t have been able to handle my job right now. Dealing with kids can be stressful because no matter what you have to stay happy and calm regardless of their behavior, from that experience it has become so easy to stay calm at Starbucks, the small problems I deal with at Starbucks would be huge if I hadn’t had experience from that Swim School. There’s also been opportunities I’ve missed like sophomore year of high school I did absolutely nothing. I was asked to join Hip Hop Club…. but I didn’t do it, I was told to do a sport and held it off until it was too late, I also did not go to any football or sports games. All that time I wasted I could’ve had so much fun and gained something from the experience. The year after I did all those things and it was one of the best periods of time I’ve ever had. Hip Hop club got me back into dancing and now I love it and run a dance page. Track has taught me so much about team effort and brought me a daily exercise routine. Without Track I would not have made new friends and definitely would be more lazy. Later on I went and support my school in the sports event and really enjoyed it all. It only shows how important it is to take every opportunity or simply just try things out of your comfort zone because you never know what your capable of or missing out on if you don’t at least try.

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    • You’re so right, Jeremiah. More so recently, when I’ve been given a chance to do something I think to myself, “it’s better to do it and be able to have an opinion on it, than to not and stay curious”. Expanding your own horizons is fun and we can learn so much from it! Keep it up!

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  48. I believe in the power of music. I’ve grown up with it all my life, first watching Baby Einsteins when I was a toddler and then picking up the guitar in elementary school when my younger sister quit. Ten years later, here I am having spent six years on guitar before transitioning to the bass during my freshman year of high school. I have sung in the chorus ever since fifth grade, going on to audition for and be accepted into the Northeastern District chorus ever since sixth grade (never QUITE making it into All-States, unfortunately), and have gained a vast appreciation for and technical vocabulary of music.

    I’m also an English major. Funny how things work out that way.

    Music is one of the great equalizers in the world. No matter your situation, your location, or your preferences, there is music that appeals to you and people who have similar tastes. I joined the jazz band in my freshman year, which increased my musicality by leaps and bounds. I went to jazz camps to play alongside professionals for a week and learned about music theory that was FAR above my usual level. The man who taught the class said “I play multiple chords on top of each other to make people feel uncomfortable.” It certainly was, especially when learning about chords like C7-flat 9-#13, something that just looks terrifying.

    Music has also managed to pull me out of dark places, the blasting brass of Streetlight Manifesto’s *Somewhere in the Between* aiding me when I dealt with the grief of losing my dog. Music has done the same for many of my friends, and it has the power to affect emotions in ways that other media simply can’t. Think of a song or some lyrics that send shivers down your spine. Do you have it? First, imagine the feeling and then listen to what you chose. There isn’t a feeling like it in the whole world.

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  49. I used to dance in the darkness with my strobe lights and multicolored scarves. I would dress up in the wildest clothes I owned, and I would live out an entire life in my head. The record would end and repeat sometimes three or four times before I would notice. The silence of night was always disturbed by the flashing lights shone through the high windows and the neighborhood-wide vibrations from my stereo.
    My favorite album for moments like these was Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits. Other times it was all four sides of “Tommy” by The Who. But no matter the song, whether Joni Mitchell or The Doors, I remember fantasies of love and inner peace. From coffee shops in Greenwich Village to Studio 54, I was the life of the party—the “it girl”. I would always steal everyone’s stare and make them wish they were me.
    During the day, my life was nothing of the like. I was around fourteen, with my greasy bangs covering my eyes and never wearing any other color than black. I was so uncomfortable no matter where I went or what I did. I believe, and I know firsthand, that the true self is the most illusive creature in the world. We spend our lives chasing glimpses of ourselves in attempt to find our truest form. But no one else will ever see us exactly the way we want to be seen anyway.

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  50. In my Catholic elementary school, I was taught the Golden Rule- to treat others as you would like to be treated. Although I don’t consider myself Catholic anymore, I still think it’s important to be respectful of others unless they’re intentionally hurting someone. It was easy to learn not to be overly critical of people. So much of life is unpredictable, out of our control, and beyond our own little bubble of knowledge, so of course the world is filled with all sorts of people, making their way through life in all sorts of ways.

    The harder lesson I realized I still had to learn was that I should have been applying this logic to myself.

    For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with procrastination: not just with school work, but on everything from birthday gifts to basic self care. It’s been my main source of self doubt and self hatred, despite signs of success in my academic life showing me that I still make things work somehow. However, going to a charter school that split classes based on math skills and then put the top third of students in harder classes of every subject did not help me at all in the mental health side of things.

    We were a bunch of volatile middle schoolers being told that we were the best and had to continue being the best or our futures would be over. I was in a seemingly endless cycle of “Okay, I’m going to get my act together now!” and “I’m so stupid and lazy for not starting this earlier.” It took multiple shared breakdowns between my friends and I to realize that we needed to move schools.

    At my new public school, I was free to choose my classes myself and be classmates with anyone, regardless of some arbitrary math test. My workload softened, and I had more time to take care of and reflect on myself. I read comics and posts on the internet about the more obscure symptoms of ADHD and anxiety that I realized I related to: things like time blindness, forgetfulness, and tense shoulders. I don’t have an official diagnosis, but becoming aware of how much I related to people who I would never judge for their mental illness made me realize that I needed to be kinder to myself. In a way, I learned–and I’m still learning–the Golden Rule all over again, but in reverse. I need to treat myself as kindly as I already know to treat others, because, like everyone else on this planet, I’m getting through life in my own way, and I shouldn’t expect myself to bend over backwards just to prove my place here.

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    • Paolina, thank you for sharing that. I really resonate with what you said because I think there is an ever present standard, for me anyway, that I put on myself, and yet never seem to live up to. I am always cursing myself for being late on things. Of course there is a line between pushing yourself to do better in a good way verses a bad way. However, I believe you are correct in saying that we shouldn’t expect ourselves to bend backwards just to prove our place in the world.

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  51. An eccentric person is someone who behaves in odd or unusual ways. This has been one of the biggest and impactful compliments I have received. It has pushed me to recognize who I am as person. There have been very limited times where I have considered myself to be a follower.
    There is one specific instance where I am very grateful that I made my own decision on. There was an opportunity for me to branch out and go to a vocational highschool and possibly pursue a trade instead of sticking with the town’s high school. None of my friends would have gone with me and as a fourteen year old kid that was a really tough decision to make. I knew that in the long run, finding a possible career path at such a young age could be a huge advantage for me, so I made the difficult decision to leave all my friends. Ultimately, that was one of the best decisions I could have made. I did end up finding the career path I wanted to pursue as well as made many new friends.
    That decision has helped me to not care about what anyone thinks and I believe this is a very powerful ability, it has helped me to make good decisions in pretty much every aspect of my life. Of course there is the occasional slip up, but no one is perfect.
    I believe that it is very important for everyone to have their own opinion and thoughts. And even though it is often very difficult to speak your mind, work towards finding the strength to do so and you will find yourself to be truly happy.

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  52. Self Confidence is something that does not come naturally to a teenage girl in any society. Whether the topic of insecurity is weight, scars, skin, height, or shape; it is all legitimate. We often look for reassurance from others because our own confirmations are not enough. Young girls and even women need to learn that their own affirmations are enough. This lesson is something that I had to constantly learn in high school. I would let my insecurities get ahead of me and to get out of the slump that I was in, I would need my friends to constantly reassure me that my insecurities are not legitimate. It was not until I went to camp for one week that I had to handle my insecurities on my own. Every time i got a little anxious or insecure, I just took a deep breath and took time to realize that not only am I not perfect, nobody around me is either. I learned to acknowledge my insecurities and to also embrace it as something beautiful and a part of me. This self confidence that slowly but surely matured in me throughout my years in high school is something I treasure. I not only learned self confidence, but also self reliance, a skill that I will need for the rest of my adult life. Too often women are pushed to people that will not have a positive impact, all because she craves reassurance from others.

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  53. I believe in self-confidence and self-love. Everyone may be going through a personal battle within themselves when it comes to insecurities in their life. Most people never see the struggle but you should know that it could be there and you should be mindful of other people’s feelings. Judging a book by its cover goes far beyond classic stereotypes, and as a person who used to do so myself, I have learned how it feels to receive the same treatment in return, especially recently, and it does nothing but create an open wound. Since November of last year I have been diagnosed with an odd allergy, an allergy to all fragrances and perfume. One day I can wake up with beautiful clear skin, while the next I can wake up with red-swollen eyes, hives and eczema. Any contact with perfume due to someone near me or it being in the air around me can cause me to instantly break out. During these episodes I tend to get weird looks in public, and at my current job, my patients would even hesitate to give me their credit card for co-pays because they think I’m contagious. Never have I ever gone through something as difficult as this because it’s something that is everywhere and even people closest to me don’t care or take it into consideration. This ongoing experience has pushed me to love myself and be comfortable in my own skin because if I keep letting others opinions get to me I will never be happy. All I’m asking is for you to support the self-confidence and self-love of others. If you come across someone who is different than you or someone you don’t think you’d like for any given reason just from judgement, take a second and think about what they may be going through. It’s horrible to say that because of my own experience it has caused me to change my values when they should have been this way all along, but it has for the better. Stay confident, stay happy and be beautiful in your own way.

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  54. There is such vivid beauty in simplicity that is often overlooked. Many of us have become accustomed to trudging through our lives in search of something grander at the end of our journeys to make our tribulations worth our while. The frequentness of self deprecation that has coursed through my mind after feeling as though my rewards seemed miniscule when compared to the valiance of my efforts is more than I’d care to admit. I spent an endless amount of time throughout my high school experience overanalyzing my every fault, wondering why I seemed to be in a constant battle within myself. My mind spun negative thoughts into a venomous web, allowing me to strive for something that was unattainable by any human.

    I have since found the solution to my problem. Rather than searching for something that I cannot even put my finger on, I chose to take a closer look around me. I now gain satisfaction from the simple things in life that have been amiss to me all this time. I learned not to criticize myself for what I am not, but love and accept what I am. I now long for the smiles I see on other people’s faces as I try to bring them joy and laughter, rather than discouraging myself for the cheesiness of the joke. The glass half empty mentality is one that has brought me great distress, and switching my perspective has been the key to unlocking my true self confidence

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  55. What I have learned in life so far is that no one is given every opportunity in life, we all have to earn our keep. For the longest time I thought of myself as an outlier, the one kid who was so smart, so gifted, so that I didn’t even have to try. For the longest time in elementary and middle school this was true. But slowly the truth set in, at first it was just not being the first to finish tests and soon enough I was missing some due dates for homework. I didn’t worry for a couple more years since I was still going on strong. By the time I reached Highschool however things changed, now there were clear consequences for simply not doing the work. Before I could simply memorize what the teacher taught and ignore homework, now my grades tanked, which now mattered so much more. Still I was stubborn in my belief that I would be handed everything in life eventually even if I had to wait. My first major wake up call came early in my Senior year when I was told flat out by a college I was wanting to attend “Your gpa is too low to even be looked at”. This crushed me as it was the first time I really had to face facts, I was losing great opportunities because I was being lazy. I couldn’t just breeze through classes not even awake half the time and expect to come out a 4.0 student. I changed in that week for the better, I realized that I had to work hard for what I wanted and at the same time know what I wanted in life. So I began to believe in myself again, I began to believe in a better world tomorrow, and I began to believe that if I truly wanted to better myself I had to become a self-reliant adult who could make my dreams reality.

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    • Your post was very interesting to me because of how relatable it was. It is so easy in high school to think that it is like earlier years, where no real effort was needed. Usually it is not until a wake up call, like you had, that people our age realize that in life, nothing comes easy. It is impossible to just go by life giving it 50% and expect great outcomes. Self reliance is so important because not only does it teach you to be able depend on yourself, but it also teaches people to scale expectations to how much work they put into something.

      You did a really good job in your post explaining something that so much of us could understand and relate too!

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  56. I believe in the quote by Michelle Parsons that says, “Hitting rock bottom does not mean you have to stay there.” I’ve hit rock bottom a couple of times in my life but I never gave up. I kept fighting and growing and trying my best to succeed. Around 12 years old when my parents separated, I watched my mom hit rock bottom. It was like she had disappeared and became someone I didn’t recognize anymore.
    When she didn’t lock herself away in her room, she was yelling at my brothers and I to get her a beer. It’s like the love and support she had for us was no longer there. She was with us physically, but not mentally. There were several occasions where she would drink too much and try to kill herself and I had to stop her from going through with it every time.
    Living with my mom for the past seven years, I have learned to value the precious moments in life. Addiction is a disease and sadly, my mom has that disease and there was no way I could help her, no matter how hard I tried. I had to learn quickly how to be mature at such a young age so that my brothers could have a good role model to look up to. Most days I wanted to give up, but I didn’t have that choice; I had to be strong and continue fighting.
    My mom didn’t want to help herself and I couldn’t let her drag my brothers and I down with her. Even though she is still at rock bottom, my brothers and I fought through, picked ourselves up and didn’t stay at rock bottom with her.

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  57. I believe in my own ability to be me. For years I came to hate things about myself that I now freely express. I would dress and act the way people were comfortable with, the way that I felt people would enjoy more than who I really was. I almost entirely dissociated with the true me, and lived the life of a fictional character that existed everywhere except my own home. It took a long time to realize that I was doing this, and began to accept that I was not just lying to the rest of the world, but to myself. Over time I simply learned to stop caring. Not in a helpless sense though, rather, in the sense that I would no longer care about any negative opinions people formed of me. I was going to be myself in the most honest form possible. I would try to culminate positive relationships with people as myself, my true self. I would dress the way I wanted, I would look the way I wanted, and I would express my own emotions and opinions, not those of the public opinion. I started to realize who I really was, what I really enjoyed. I began to express myself in ways that only I could, I would start to understand what makes me me, the things that only I could do as myself, things I feared doing in the past. The thing that really mattered the entire time was focusing on my own strengths, not catering to the majority.

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  58. What makes us individuals? Whether it is how we look or how we act, we all have that feeling inside ourselves telling us to be different, and I believe that, that gut feeling is so unbelievably important, individuality has shaped our world and everything around it. Just imagine all of us being the same person, personality and all, this world would be so flat and boring.

    I discovered my individuality at a young age, middle school was a time where I was trying to find my sense of self and who I was. In sixth grade I dyed my entire head fire truck engine red with the help of my Mom. She was always supportive of my decisions about changing my appearance how I wanted. I went to a very conservative middle school, I was made fun of for how I chose to present myself to others, simply because I enjoyed it. By the time I got to high school I had found new friends who are similar to me in the sense that they also are trying to find out who they are. Individuality does not only have to do with appearance, it could be something as little as thinking a little different than the rest or learning at a different pace, small things matter.

    Now, being a recent graduate and soon to be a freshman in college, I have fully realized that individuality is what makes us unique, it’s what all of those corny Disney movies have taught us since birth. Individuality is what makes you, you.

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  59. I believe that gaining self-confidence can be one of the hardest things a person can face. For me, facing judgement is something that I have a hard time with. Throughout high school, I never wanted to be picked on or called out, so I kept to myself and my small group of friends. Once I started senior year, I realized that in less than a year, I would be in a new world with new people, which meant that I had to get used to the idea of starting over. This has been a hard transition for me, because I have been asked to do tasks that I am uncomfortable with, such as writing about my personal experiences and thoughts for new people.
    However, in the past year, by doing these things, I realize that after you accomplish something that was so challenging or even scary, it feels good to be on the other side of that obstacle. Without having the confidence to face challenges that come at you, it will be hard to reach success. Without challenges, life would be too easy, which would ultimately make it boring. Being able to accomplish your goals is what will make you successful and proud, even if you face a road with bumps along the way. As I prepare to start over in a whole new world these next couple weeks, I am learning that it is okay to be myself and to share my opinion with the people around me. I believe that everyone has their own journey and story to tell, and by stepping out of our comfort zones, whether it be in our actions or opinions, we will grow into better versions of ourselves, and become better role models for those around us.

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  60. I believe that self-confidence is a crucial part of our everyday lives. It gives us better judgement and allows us to make decisions that will impact us positively. When I was first entering highschool I wasn’t very confident in myself which led me to be very reliant on others. I was overwhelmingly shy, so the friends I had would be my voice. They made many decisions for me and I went along with them even if they weren’t in my best interest. I was constantly with these people, leading me to forget what it was like to be alone. Despite my abundance of friends, I wasn’t happy. After settling for the friendships I had for so long, I had a breaking point that caused me to end them. I was alone for the first time in years and had to rely on myself and learn to be independent. During this time of recluse, I found joy in being away from conflict. I regained my love for art, developed an independant taste in music, and found satisfaction in spending time away from the judgement of others.
    Since this period began, I’ve been able to initiate friendships and form relationships with my peers. I developed a sense of self-confidence and self-worth, I made decisions regarding my interactions with others and was able to make a positive impact on my life. I’ve been able to establish genuine bonds with people and have learned to determine what is best for me, something I would not be able to do if I was still as insecure as I once was.

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  61. I believe that having self-confidence, and being able to express yourself is important. It’s a skill that I’m still developing as life is a learning process and it took awhile for me to be proud of things I produced with my own hands. I’m a creative person, and I find that the saying “a jack of trades, but master of none” really rings true to myself. I’ve written a few short stories, when I was younger, but compared them to a friend and stopped. Then I picked up drawing, but seeing how people, who had been drawing for longer than me, shockingly, had better work than me, a beginner, I dropped it. This pattern continued with a few other hobbies of mine–painting, ceramics, and so on. The problem with constantly comparing my skills to another and then losing motivation to continue? I wasn’t giving myself the chance to improve, and therefore halting the process of me ever getting better.

    Thankfully, was able to pick up a pencil, and get back into drawing. Because I found that I enjoyed taking a pencil to paper and sketching out an idea, and that in itself is enough for me to keep on doing it. I’m by no means an expert, but that doesn’t mean that I take a look at things I create and despise it. It also took confidence to look at something I wasn’t satisfied with, and tell myself that it was alright, and it was no reason for me to just give up on it.

    I’ve also slowly inched myself back into writing–instead of comparing myself to my friends, I see it as inspiration, and friendly competition. Now I see my willingness to try different art forms as a way to have fun, and to find things that challenge and comfort me.

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  62. I used to think I was an unlucky person, when I was just a selfish kid who thought he was completely alone in the world. I had just moved away from all my friends in Massachusetts to live in DC, where my dad would be working for two years before moving again. This was nothing new, my dad was in the Coast Guard and was restationed once or twice before, bringing the family along. What was new was the fact that we would be moving back to Massachusetts after those two years. The way I saw it, I was simply putting my life on pause until I returned. I had no interest in making new friends or doing well in school or staying healthy; nothing mattered to me anymore, so of course I was completely miserable. I blamed it on bad luck and forced myself through two years of that misery.

    I believe you need to make your own luck. It’s not up to the universe or other people to give you happiness, you need to find it yourself. I hate who I used to be, wallowing in my own sadness hoping someone pitied me enough to help. Sometimes I feel myself slipping into that cycle again whenever something bad happens, but I snap myself out of it by remembering those two years I spent making myself and everyone around me miserable. I remember how much happier I was when I realized that it wasn’t the kids at school or bad teachers at fault for my loneliness. I just wish I had realized it sooner.

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  63. Hello, my name is Samuel Chace; and I have Asperger’s Syndrome, which is currently considered a subtype of Autism Spectrum Disorder. I was diagnosed at age 11 but even before the initial diagnosis I had required both Speech Therapy and Motor Skills Therapy. I was later enrolled in Group Therapy (a kind of social therapy involving both adult counselors and other children with the same diagnosis), which turned out to be a resounding success for me.
    Some may want to ask “What was your feeling when you were diagnosed?”, well, nothing. It was simply a label put on who I am from my perspective then, and it still is now. Although Asperger’s is a pretty big part of me, it is not what defines me. I am what defines me. As someone who has had to learn social things that most people know naturally, it has been a journey. But despite the many things I’ve had to learn and implement over the years, I’m still me. I’m still capable of going off on multi-hour tangents on my subjects of interest, and have the same basic sense of self as I always have. I am Me.
    I believe that the foundation of finding out “Who you really are”, is to look at yourself in a mirror and say “I am Me” and accept it. You are fundamentally yourself and you will know what is your own and what comes from other people. For just as I am Me, You are You.

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  64. I believe in being your own person. I think everyone has a right to be whoever they want to be, do whatever they want to do, and think however they want to think. Everyone should be able to be themselves without being judged or harassed about it. I grew up in a house of six kids, four girls and two boys. We all tried our best to be better than our older siblings, however the bar was pretty high. My sisters thought everything was a competition and always fought and argued at every opportunity they had. I never really got into the whole competitive side of my family and tried more just to be myself and have fun. That is one of the main reasons everyone in my family likes me, even though my family is constantly fighting. They all know that I prefer to be myself than to try and outdo another person. Everyone is different and possesses different skills. Nobody is the same as another person and everyone is great at something. My fifth grade baseball coach taught me that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, trying to find them is the hard part. For me my greatest strength is probably how funny I am and my greatest weakness is how lazy I can get. If one is not allowed to be their own person, then they can not thrive in their environment and may suffer from personality issues. I believe everyone should be able to live how they want without issues.

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  65. The definition of hard work is a great deal of effort or endurance. I think if you put a great deal of effort into anything it can be accomplished which is why I believe in hard work. Throughout my life nothing has ever come to me easily without putting in some sort of hard work. As most kids do I played sports when was younger I was always much smaller and much less athletic than most of the other kids. I would always make sure I tried as hard as I could and put work in when others would not. School was another place where I had to work harder than most in. Learning new things never came easy to me and I had to find new and different ways to help me understand information. Whether that would be studying for long sessions or just focusing on the right stuff hard work has pushed me through it. With hard work comes work ethic which most people struggle to obtain in most instances but hard work has driven me to take it work ethic and ingrain it into my way of working and getting things done in everyday life.

    I like to think of hard work as something I have always used to guide me through whatever challenge I have in front of me. Whether the challenge be something that my boss has asked me to accomplish, the challenge be an overwhelming assignment from school, or even a challenge that I’m unfamiliar with and have yet to had to face hard work will be what I am believing in to accomplish it.

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  66. I believe that your future relies on your self-confidence. You must be confident in your ability to be whoever you choose to be and to accomplish everything you set your mind to. You are your biggest fan. If you believe in yourself, you will find that nothing can stand in your path to success.

    When I started high school, I had little to no confidence in myself. My focus was to just try and blend in and never be the center of attention, because I will just embarrass myself. I later realized that this is no way to live. I was failing at achieving my full potential. It was a gradual improvement, but by senior year, I was an entirely different person. I no longer cared what everyone around me thought of me, because I believed in my actions. I became a tremendously more social person, which led to my involvement in my school and community. Furthermore, I balanced a job, an internship, and an education – something I never would have been able to achieve without maximizing my self-confidence and realizing my true worth in this world.

    It all starts with you. You have to view yourself as the best person in the world at what you do. Do not let your mind overthink your abilities and trick you into thinking that you are not capable enough of attaining something that you desire. This is what will give you the power to live the happiest, most successful life that you could ever imagine.

    Be the best possible version of you – whoever you want to be.

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  67. I believe music is a powerful tool for self-expression. It drives me to be who I am and allows me to express myself freely. No matter what hardships I have, music is always there for me. It’s as if a voice calls out to me, like the music understands how I feel or what I’m going through because of the connection the artist makes with their audience. There are many people in this world and it’s easy to feel small and insignificant, especially for someone like me who has lived in relatively small towns all my life. I get anxious in large crowds, I’m afraid of public speaking, and my self-confidence isn’t very high. But music has helped me overcome this by pushing me out of my comfort zone. To me, music is a supportive friend that inspires me to be my true self. Behind every voice and instrument, there is a person with a story to tell. In moments of loneliness or sadness, I can listen to a song or an album and feel connected with the artist. They have fought many obstacles to stand where they are, and their art inspires me to be my best self. I want to have the confidence to be myself when approaching new people or voicing my own opinions. In time I hope to become one of those voices people can connect with.

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  68. Zachary Cardelli
    Self-confidence is an important part of our everyday lives. Some people seem to have self-confidence, and others need lots of work. People that succeed have self-confidence whether it’s overcoming your fears or believing in yourself, people that lack self-confidence will struggle to become successful, or in this case not setting the bar high. I had a problem with reading and comprehension which has affected me for a long time. I was behind all my classmates which made me feel insecure and stupid. I was young and said that college was no. I was put on an IEP (individualized education plan). This made me not care about school, the only thing I enjoyed was going to school and spending time with my friends and making everybody laugh. My mom knew that I was struggling and enrolled me into a tutoring program. I despised my mom for signing me up with a tutor because at the time I was saying to myself that I was never going to be good at reading an article and answering questions that go along with it. As time went on, I started getting better and better, and was seeing an improvement in my reading and comprehension skills. It wasn’t just the tutoring that was helping me succeed, it was having confidence in myself. Having confidence in myself changed my attitude in school and made me set the bar high and strive for greatness. I was making my mom and everybody else proud of the improvement that I was making throughout the years. Entering middle school, I was taken off my IEP. With everything that has happened, you can say that self confidence is a huge tool in life, you can succeed in many ways with self-confidence. As I am typing this, I am feeling insecure about the negative feedback I will be receiving from my peers. The only way to find out is to post this on the blog, have confidence, and not feel worried about receiving negative comments, just positive vibes.

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  69. I am an avid believer in the exhausted saying, “everything happens for a reason.” Sometimes, when my mind wanders to dark places, this saying is the only thing that can bring me peace.

    In the past, I would often catch myself imagining what I would go back and do differently. As a perfectionist (which isn’t all it’s cracked up to be), I wanted to change nearly everything that hadn’t gone as planned. I constantly created fake scenarios in my head and became absorbed in the life that I had dreamt up for myself. However, this could never be my reality, so why spend all my time dwelling on it?

    All of the things that hadn’t gone as planned happened for a reason. All the hurt I felt wasn’t just hurt, it was much more: it was strength. All the obstacles I faced weren’t just obstacles, they were perseverance. All the betrayal I encountered wasn’t just betrayal, it was wisdom. Everything I was dying to erase from my life were the things that made me who I am today.

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  70. In the past few years my confidence has improved drastically. I don’t even realize it half the time, but every once in a while I see a picture from a year or two ago and remember how tense I had felt. When I look back it feels as if overnight the consistent worrying, disappointment in my appearance, and concern in how others viewed me had just vanished. When in actuality it started with simply not beating myself up for not having a perfect nose. Every time I would see an unflattering picture or catch a glimpse in the mirror from the wrong angle instead of worrying about “How will I ever go on in life with this crooked, monstrous nose?!?” I thought to myself “Whats the point in worrying about it?” and this mindset changed everything. I applied it to all my insecurities and overtime (a lot of time) I started to become more comfortable with my weight, stretch marks, fashion sense, music taste, the way I laughed, and all the other ridiculous insecurities I had. It began to be easier to start conversations with strangers and unfamiliar settings were more enjoyable than nerve-racking. My friendships had become more intimate, I had started going out most nights, and found myself to be happier than I’d ever been. Obviously I still get self conscious at times and criticize myself more often than I probably should the growth from where I was mentally a year ago is incredible and I encourage others to start making more of an effort in self love.

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  71. I believe self-confidence is one of the many attributes needed for any person to truly exceed. The only way give 100% into any task, one must first have complete confidence that they will achieve their goal. Confidence goes a long way into any activity as it’s not only about making others believe in you, but making you believe in yourself as well. In order to expand any horizons or take on new challenges, a person must first have confidence in themselves to either open a new door or know they will be survive and be even stronger if not.

    Working in sales it is well-known in order to make any sale or pitch any product, the seller must have complete confidence in their idea and in the product they are selling. Not only does confidence apply here but always in life it can be used to sell ideas and gain rapport with others. If one of your friends approached you with a plan but wasn’t confident in the idea then you might be less prone to join them

    Trust and belief is usually rewarded after a long time of knowing someone. But in other instances when two people may not be as close but are forced to work together, confidence can play a key role in developing this trust and belief with your partner as people can’t be confident in you until one is confident in themselves first.

    Many times people are forced to take on new challenges in order to achieve their goals. In order to take on upcoming adversity, confidence helps greatly when someone can belief in themselves to over come the struggle for the better. No great person in life has been too scared to take on challenge as they must be confident in their plan to accomplish their dreams.

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  72. There comes a point in everyone’s life where you have to learn to take responsibility for your actions no matter what the repercussions may be. We as people are not born with the idea of responsibility and self reliance engraved into our heads, it is something we learn to cultivate within ourselves as we grow and learn. Being responsible is being able to make decisions that are beneficial to you and others involved. When learning to be responsible is it important you recognize your limitations. There is only so much accountability a person can handle within themselves and it is important to know that you can’t always take responsibility for something that is out of your control. I believe that being held accountable for your choices and showing that you are self reliant is one of the most valuable things you can integrate into your everyday way of life; that is one thing I choose to live by. The ability to act and think independently gives oneself the chance to attain and discover true independence. The one thing I learned as a kid was that it is important to ask for help when you need it but to realize that there won’t always be someone there to hold your hand through that time of need. Personal responsibility is something I choose to put into action. It is a decision that is personal to me and how I choose to go about being successful. To me in order to be successful not just in my everyday life but in this new chapter of heading off to college, I believe that I have to make good use of my time, take control and be accountable for all my failures and successes.

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  73. The seven letters in the word “believe” carry weight—so much that it is the very foundation and motif of many school-taught and studied speeches, book and movie plots, TED Talks, campaigns, revolutions, sport stories, company startup stories, etc. Personally, I am reminded of the popular fairy tale of The Little Engine That Could, the “I believe that we will win!” chant, Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign slogan “Change We Can Believe In.” Each and every belief of your own becomes a part of your identity. They are partially responsible for your actions. Beliefs make things happen. They encourage confidence–as a matter of fact, belief can be synonymous with confidence. We are made up of what we believe in, and we can believe in ourselves. The importance of “believing in” in today’s society is incredible.
    A human’s mind is a reserve for beliefs. They comprise our personalities and what we fight for. Each is different from the next. Just as the person who submitted before me, and the person before them, I have a lot of beliefs. It is tough to narrow them down to something I want to share with my peers. For example, as of now, I believe I am going to get this essay turned in on time. But I also believe in owning our own identities. As the class of 2023 moves into college and is introduced into an entirely new setting, all we have to offer is our identities. I—quite personally, and, obviously—do not have the experience of this yet. However, I do have three brothers and a sister, all older than I, to tell me the same thing. Stories of regrets and successes. The advice from four people who have all attended college all sum to something very similar–a 4x, “own who you are.” I spent a lot of high school figuring out who I am. The countless beliefs developed among us all through high school have led us to where we are today. I believe that everyone should be confident in their identity. Even if I disagree with your beliefs, I will be happy if you are confident and proud in them. Now is the time to own them. Broadcast yourself (sorry to steal your slogan, Youtube). Become known. Make a difference. Change a stereotype. Further, be open to other people’s identity. Understanding other people’s beliefs is how the world can continue revolving. Whether your beliefs alter from someone else or not, there are, at base, three things we will all have in common; we are human, we have our identities and our beliefs, and we are now peers.

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  74. Attempting to write this was a big motivation struggle for me. I took me several weeks to even sit down and start typing. I’ve written about multiple topics and each one felt poorly written. I think I’m afraid of my own failure to even try to succeed. This usually leads to me procrastinating and not using my time appropriately. I sometimes feel unaccomplished in life.

    And that’s okay.

    I think something we all need to learn to believe in is uncertainty and time. It’s okay to not know how you feel or what you want to accomplish in life. It’s okay to be fearful of the unknown. It’s okay to take time to discover who you are.

    We are so judgmental of ourselves and others and focus on what we’re missing instead of what we should be striving for. It’s okay to not have a model’s body as long as you are striving to find self-love. It’s okay to not know what you want to major in, as long as you’re striving to find your interests. It’s okay to be unsure rather than force yourself to mold into what society wants you to be. We all have our own periods of growth that require our own time. Just because one person achieves something sooner than you have does not make you any less than them.

    I struggle with this believe and I think many others do too. All I know is that time can change anything. That embarrassing thing you did in high school won’t be relevant in ten years. What makes you happy now might change by next year. I believe we need to be more accepting of other people’s uncertainty and understand it takes time to live a life. I can say I am uncertain where my life is going and don’t know how I can possibly achieve anything I want in life but I know I have time to figure it out.

    I believe that it’s okay to be uncertain as long as we acknowledge that we have time.

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    • Nina, everything you wrote in your belief statement is true and is completely relatable. Many people struggle with the uncertainty of life and we as humans feel like we’re always running out of time, but we need to grow out of that habit. You picked an interesting topic and wrote a really great statement!

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  75. If someone were to ask me “What part of your childhood affected who you are the most?”, I would respond with only one word: Minecraft. It all started way back in the year of 2012. While the years before 2014 are fuzzy to me, what I can remember clearly was my brothers and I all fighting over who would get to use the computer and play their favorite game on it. From those early years, my love for Minecraft would only grow. Even during the seventh and eighth grade, when I was at arguably my worst from a mental standpoint, I had Minecraft to keep my spirits up and my creative juices flowing. Sure, I may have not owned an Xbox, Call of Duty, or an iPhone like everyone else, but that did not matter much to me as I was content in my little world.
    Around this time I would also start to play Minecraft online with people all around the world. On top of meeting other people who had the same interests as me, which gave me a much-needed confidence boost, I could show off my skills in the game for others to see, further increasing that much-needed confidence boost.
    By the time I entered high school, things were different. I had a renewed sense of confidence, a blank slate, and people I could call my friends. What was the same, however, was my love of Minecraft. I would continue to play this game all throughout high school, even making some friends with the help of Minecraft. I can say with confidence that without Minecraft I would not be the same person that I am today.

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  76. I Believe In You.

    Yes, I believe in you. I believe in each person’s innate ability to change this world we live in. Today, hope is a word that is scarcely heard, rarely spoken, because as soon as it’s said, another tragedy occurs shattering that very idea before it manifests itself into anything greater, such as change. However, without the slightest glimpse of hope, we are defined as hopeless. Therefore, I believe in you. I believe in the strength you possess to maintain the hope we need in the world, despite the horror the world continues to place in front of you. Furthermore, I believe in your ability to foster the hope you have within you, and allow it to grow into change. There is no single cause that is going to cure the world, even if it obtained the support of all of its inhabitants. We need individuals to believe in themselves and their unique passions, and to pursue those passions, to build a better world as a whole. Your philanthropy combined with the philanthropy of others, even if their cause differs from yours completely, is what will combine to better this world. No impact is too small, because your impact could be what is the inspiration to someone else. In the famous words of Mahatma Gandhi, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” I believe that with whatever challenge is to come to us in this world, there is still hope, and there can most definitely be change, because we have you and you have the ability to make a difference.

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    • Marissa I love this with my whole being. Change is a scary thing, and having hope while in the middle of change is really important, especially when it comes to another person. Indeed, no impact is too small. (I also really like your writing style).

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  77. I believe in the importance of self confidence. Ever since elementary school, I had gone to school with the same people. I knew everybody and I had a lot of really close friends. I never had to worry about getting to know new people, making new friends, or being alone. Going to school never made me feel anxious or scared back then. When I got to high school, everything changed. My whole world was turned upside down. I was one of the only students from my school who went to a private high school. I didn’t know any of my classmates at this new school, and I felt like everybody already knew each other. For the first time in my life, I felt like an outsider. They all had their friend groups and I didn’t. I was all alone, and began to feel depressed. All the confidence I had in myself had disappeared. Because of this, little things like finding a partner to work with in class, or asking to sit with someone at lunch was next to impossible for me. I remember how scared I was to go to school every morning, knowing that I’d have no friends to talk to or have fun with. It was like a nightmare that I had to relive over and over again, every single day. This occurred until I got to sophomore year. It was the year when I could finally take an art class. At the time, drawing was the only thing that could make me happy, so going to art class made me dread going to school a little bit less. Even though I still didn’t have any close friends, I looked forward to going everyday. This class gave me hope that things would get better for me at school. After every assignment in class, my art teacher would make us critique each other’s pieces. I was surprised to notice that my work was always one of the first to get chosen. Hearing my classmates give such positive feedback and compliments made me begin to feel confident again. Finally, I was somebody at this school; I was a good artist. I was no longer just a loner, or that girl who never talks. Most importantly, I began to feel happier. As time went on, I started to make friends with the people in that class. We all grew extremely close to each other in the passing years. Thanks to my sophomore year art class, I was able to have confidence in myself again and enjoy my overall high school experience with my friends. Having no confidence in myself freshman year was awful. It made me feel like I couldn’t do anything right. I was too shy and scared to become the person I longed to be. I believe that the best thing that happened in my life was becoming confident in who I am. Now, I can be happy and enjoy my life to the fullest.

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  78. I believe in the importance of self acceptance. When I was a kid, I never really had a problem with myself. Around the time I entered middle school is when I started comparing myself to others, and I lost a lot of self confidence. I’ve had the same best friend since I was 5, and she’s the most creative person I know. She’s always known that she wants to be an artist, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. And I was envious of her. I envied her confidence, her work ethic, her looks. I always felt like she had everything figured out.
    It wasn’t until the past year that I realized how wrong I was. She had the same insecurities as I did, she had anxiety about school and about the future. I started to listen to the people around me, and I learned that people other than me needed someone to confide in. I started doing that with a lot of people who eventually became very close friends of mine.
    I realized that everyone has these feelings of self doubt, feeling like they’re not good enough. But it’s not these thoughts that are the problem, it’s how you react to them. You could let it consume you and , like I did for most of my life. Or, you can learn to accept that you are your own person, and how you live your life and the choices you make are completely up to you. It’s a skill that I’m still developing, and it took me a long time to even come close to starting.

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  79. Growing up in a relatively all white town I didn’t realize I was different. I was accustomed to it. However when middle school came around the corner, things began to change. The teacher I had adored often complimented me and called me “Miss America”. A few of my friends had overheard the comment my teacher made and confronted me at lunch. The people I believed to be my best friends began to belittle me and told me I did not represent what America was. They began saying such profanity that I was appalled that these were the same friends who told me they loved me and accepted me for who I was. These so called friends began pointing out my differences and soon enough it became a norm for them to disrespect the color of my skin, hair, and family background. From then on I put in as much effort as I could to blend in whether it be me constantly straightening my hair to buying the same Vera Bradley bags as them. I fell into a deep depression as I criticized anything I didn’t perceive as beautiful and constantly felt uneasy and anxious as I felt I had a duty to make sure I looked like those who surrounded me. Eventually I reached out for help and myself with a diverse community at a new school and realized something I never knew about myself. I am beautiful along with every human being. Different or not I am to celebrate who I am and what makes me, me. Our differences and how we treat one another is what makes us beautiful and that is something I so strongly believe.

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  80. I believe in Self-Expression.
    Throughout my life, music and dance have shaped who I am. My parents enrolled me in dance class when I was two and a half years old. Dance provided me an outlet to express myself through motion. Once I was a little bit older, I began singing whenever I could find the chance. Singing gave me the outlet to express myself musically. I carried these two passions with me as I grew up, always trying to choose between one or the other. Once in middle school, I decided I would participate in the drama club at my school.
    I can confidently say that auditioning for our school drama club was one of the best choices I have ever made in my life. I earned a small role in our eighth-grade musical and fell in love. This was the perfect way to combine singing and dancing and not make the sacrifice between either. I had a supporting role in my junior year and earned the lead role in my senior year.
    By joining the drama club and participating in theatre, I finally found the perfect way to mix my interests. I was able to express myself musically and through acting along with others doing the same. Even though I play a character on stage, I still find ways to relate to my character. By relating to my character, I help to make my character come to life. I have to look inside myself to portray a realistic character, therefore giving my character some aspects of my own personality. Theatre has taught me creative ways to express myself and given me the outlet to do so. Without theatre, I would not be the person I am today.

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  81. Name:Khadhir B. Green
    Date:08-12-19

    My name is Khadhir Green and one of my core beliefs is respect. The reason why respect is a big core belief of mine is, without someone’s respect you have nothing. Growing up in a single-parent household with no father respect was a value I learned at a young age. My mother taught me to respect my elders, my coaches, myself, and all of my teachers even though some of my teachers could be a pain in my ass. My mom taught me the teachers that are the biggest pains are the ones who care the most because they believe in you and they know you can do great things in life. So I made sure to come to school every day and show each and every single one of my teacher’s respect because I knew if I ever lost any of my teacher’s respect they wouldn’t care anymore, and they think I’m like every other kid that comes to school every day just because they had to but I was determined to show them I was different from any other kid that walks through the door at 8:30 Am every day. My mother also taught me respect is not given its earned and my whole life I tried to show people respect because I wanted to be treated with respect. For example, I show people respect by I always look at them in their eyes when they’re speaking to me so they know they have all of my attention. Everyone shows me respect by pushing me to my full potential.
    Male or female, black or white, gay or straight everyone deserves respect regardless of the core beliefs.

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  82. The morning sun rays shine through the girl’s bedroom window, filling up the dark shadows of the room into bright warmth hugging the girl as she slowly opens her heavy eyes to a new day. She could hear the clock tick-tocking to every precious second that goes by in a never ending loop. As she rises up from her slumber she looks across the room, her eyes piercing at her mirror. She sees a young adult girl with her hair filled with knots and tangles, her clothes all wrinkled and drooping off one shoulder, but she couldn’t make out the girls face. The girl’s eyes still fixed on the girl in the mirror, she slowly struggles to sit up on the side of her bed. Once she felt in control of her body, she then rises as the balls of her feet feel the coldness of the hardwood floors crawling up her body. As she drags her heavy body towards the mirror, she starts seeing the girls facial features. She could see the girls dark cold brown eyes that felt lifeless, her face showing no emotion whatsoever. This girl looked lifeless,cold,emotionless,like a blank canvas that was ready to be painted on. All of a sudden she whipped her head to the direction behind her as she heard a buzzing noise. Everything went still, she carefully gazed around scanning her room for the source of the sound. Once her gaze was settled on her pillow, she could see a faint bright light coming from underneath her pillow. On her way to her bed she lightly grazed her hand over her desk, and looked at the photos that were perfectly placed on her desk. Each photo had a different person with different scenery and emotions, but there was this same girl in every photo… But who was she?
    Once the girl arrived at her bed she slowly descended her body onto the bed. Feeling the soft blankets caressing her skin as she slid her hand under her pillow. She felt something familiar and took a hold of it. She looks at the object to see it was her phone, as she turned it on her face was engulfed with the screens brightness. As her eyes adjusted to the light she could see that she had messages from friends and family. As she read the text messages she could feel a smile creeping from her lips to her cheeks. Then as she finished reading her mind went back to the emotionless girl in the mirror, and automatically turned her head to the mirror. But something was strange; the girl in the mirror was not there anymore… Instead it was the actual girl with a bright and warm smile on her face. She could see every emotion on her face from her sparkling brown eyes, her warm rosy cheeks, to her real smile. She was the mysterious girl in all of her photos that felt and looked confident in every single one.
    I believe that every human needs self-confidence in their lives. But in my opinion self-confidence doesn’t have to rely on only you yourself. You can have others by your side to help you gain that confidence. To be honest, while I was starting this blog post I didn’t feel confident at all. I was staring at the topics for a while until I chose self-confidence. Because once I saw this topic I automatically thought of the people that have helped me feel confident when I have felt stress consume me, and my confidence would disappear into thin air. You don’t have to rely just on yourself to gain this confidence, because sometimes it’s nice to rely on others to be there for you so you don’t feel alone. No human should ever feel like they are alone, and no one should ever feel like they are nothing in this world. Confidence is one of the keys in life that us humans need to accomplish. Without self-confidence everything will be more difficult and hard to achieve. Gain self-confidence with the help from others and take that experience that u have gained, and share it with others. Help yourself but also help others.

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  83. I am Ben Vicino, and I believe in self confidence and self esteem. Before and during high school, I got my confidence and a sense of being from my school work and how I did with it. And then towards the end of high school when my work load got harder and the grades dropped, I found myself doubting my response on simple assignments. I think because my expectations for myself got broken and couldn’t see past myself as being unable to do work. I believe that self confidence is something that people need to have a good and stable life, not necessarily to the point of arrogance but at else enough that self doubt won’t rule your life. Like I know for me doubting myself can cause major problems for with getting work done. I won’t finish something cause I just think whatever I do is just going to be wrong regardless of whatever or not it actually will be. Especially with writing or creative project, I just find that I am road blocked by the doubt, I put upon myself. Self confidence may not be the perfect solution to my problems, however I believe that it is essential for most of us to operate. Also based on my own experiences, self identity can be very influential on ones confidence. And hopefully, college will help those who may need self confidence and people like me can find a good healthy medium of self confidence.

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  84. I believe in God, that God gave us free will, that free will allows us to be creative, and that creativity is an essential trait in humans. For instance, take a car. Most people take cars for granted every day, but for a long time we didn’t have them. We had no option but to walk, or ride a horse, or in horse-drawn carriages, to get where we needed to be, and it could take an incredibly long time to get anywhere. Not only that, but if you go back far enough, humans didn’t have carriages, either. Until someone realized you could use shaped wood pieces to make things roll, making the wheel, you had no choice but to walk everywhere, and long journeys might’ve seemed impractical. Fortunately, the wheel was invented, carriages were built, and horses made to draw them. But there was still room for improvement. Then someone looked at a carriage and wondered how to make it better. It was a long process, but eventually cars became nearly essential to most people’s lives, and there are more choices in style and function than anyone could ever really need. This was all made possible by creativity, and people who used it to improve the world. However, this is not the only use of creativity. I was in 4-H for a number of years, and every year they had us do visual presentations. One of the things they would tell us was that having something interesting, like a joke, at the beginning of your presentation would help to grab your audience’s attention. Jokes, props, and interesting pictures can also help hold people’s attention, especially if you’re presenting on something people usually find dull. Holding people’s attention can be crucial for things like safety briefings, company policies, or directions for how to do something. These are only a few examples of creativity, and why I believe creativity is something that is very important.

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  85. I was really confused about who I really was and who my real friends were during the beginning years of high school. My logic at the time was to be friends with everyone and have a relationship with all different types of people. I just wanted people to like me and building strong friendships with people wasn’t something that was a priority for me. I came to the realization one day and saw that the people I was surrounding myself with didn’t represent who I wanted to be and didn’t make me happy. I began to slowly distance myself from those people and it worked in the beginning for me until they realized that I was slowly losing interest in them. All of these people began to attack me for doing this and it only put me down even more. All of the stress and anxiety built up and I exploded. I remember bawling my eyes out to my parents because I thought I could handle everything myself and keep it all in. My parents said “Be who you want to be, don’t surround yourself with people you don’t like just to please them, it’s your life, be happy”. That day I realized that I had control over my own life and I had to begin making decisions for myself rather than allowing people to do it for me. Family has taught me how to love myself and appreciate the little things in life. I believe that everyone should be able to turn to someone on their rough days, whether it’s family or not. This day my family opened my eyes for the better and I will forever be grateful because they have helped me become who I am today. The support and constant love is what helps you realize you are allowed to grow into anyone you want to be. My name is Brian and I am a strong individual who has overcome hardships and has grown into the best version of myself.

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  86. When asked to write about what I believe in I had to seriously think about it. With such an open ended question, my answer could go so many ways. I could’ve written about religion but even that is hard for me to figure out. I could tell you easily what I don’t believe in. Finding something to believe in, however, is harder than it seems. In life nothing is certain, nothing lasts forever. That’s why it’s hard for me to say I truly believe in something. It’s hard to put all your faith into anything that isn’t promised. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the only certainty I have in my life is myself. Then it came to me, what I believe in is in fact, myself.
    Not to sound shallow or self centered, believing in myself gives me a feeling of completeness. It took me years to have any confidence in anything I ever did. I would always doubt and second guess any decisions I made. Finally learning to trust myself was a huge mountain for me to move. Thinking back to my freshman year of high school, I was so nervous to say the wrong thing or make the wrong move I distanced myself. Not believing in myself put a restriction on my whole life. When i found that belief it brought me out of my shell and brought so many opportunities with it as well.
    As cliché as it is, I am always going to be there for myself. I am going to be the one who gets me through the hard times, the obstacles, the life changing moments. Entering my freshman year of college brings all of those things. Believing in myself not only gives me the reassurance that I can get through anything life throws at me but it also presents me with something to never give up on.
    I believe that I’m going to become successful in life. This belief gives me the energy and inspiration to try harder and try my best. Not for the accomplishment of showing others I can do it but to show myself and prove to myself that my belief is certain. This certainty is soothing now that I am entering this new beginning. Without the belief in myself, I wouldn’t have come close to making it this far.

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  87. My core belief

    Over the 19 years of my life I have been confronted with problems and challenges that I have had to overcome. I believe that my core belief would have to be perseverance. Perseverance is the ability to keep going no matter the difficulties that arise. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been diagnosed with severe to moderate hearing loss in both ears and this has brought some unique challenges in school and in my personal life. One of the first challenges I had to overcome was my speech. Due to the hearing loss my speech was abysmal, to fix that I went through years of intense speech therapy. School was also a challenge I had to repeat first grade due to not having my hearing aids at that point. I was also behind on my reading and writing, for that I had to do private tutoring after school. I was also a victim of bullying like too many others. Because I was different I was picked on but instead of staying in the shadows I stood up for others that were victims in the school although this brought more to me it let someone else not have to deal with the cruel punishment from peers. I stand up for what I believe in whether that is to better myself or help others around me. I will jump over any hurdle that is put in my way. This is why I think perseverance is one of my core beliefs.

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  88. The five senses are crucial to our survival as they are the key as to how we communicate and interact with the world. They can close the gaps between misunderstanding or even be the reason for misunderstanding. For example, there are experiences such as sharing and exploring other cultures through food, music, and literature while there are also experiences of ignorance based on judging someone’s accent, language or looks. Our ability to comprehend verbal, mental, physical and emotional cues and adapt to our surroundings can expand our capacity for knowledge as it comes from experience. Especially in America, those who are privileged can perform acts of prejudice including racism, sexism and ableism but I believe that taking into consideration of invisible or visible differences and demonstrating tolerance allows us to gradually accept each individuals’ character.

    I was born with a hearing impairment which can feel isolating and frustrating because there is exclusion that exists within my life. It’s the inability to hear someone altogether, having to piece together mumbles or the lack of the visual aid of reading lips; it’s the embarrassment or vulnerability of having to ask for repetition or admitting they weren’t heard and fear of their response; it’s missing out on a joke for the first time, or a side conversation where an opportunity is lost. My invisible disability may have the downside of being slow with conversations but I’m able to distinguish and understand physical communication more efficiently like reading in between the lines. Noticing someone’s down even though they say ‘I’m fine’. I am stronger because of what I lack and should not be overlooked. Instead, I should be presented with respect and tolerance for it.

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  89. I believe that finding yourself and blazing your own path through our world of molds and identities created for you by strangers online and through the media has become both far more difficult and far more important. It becomes easier and easier to succumb to all of the ideas and beliefs that other people seemingly shove down your throat with the more mass media you consume and social media feeds you sift through. In turn, the concept of the moral compass, the sense of individuality that drives humanity, and our very own sense of self has become significantly watered down and fabricated. Despite all this, I believe that it is still possible to rise above all of that and focus on accessing your own individual thoughts and perspectives without saturating those natural attributes with all the noise and confusion around you. When you allow yourself to be your own person and weigh everyone else’s thoughts as equal to your own, you can bask in the seemingly never ending gauntlet of wonderful ideas and revelations you used to feel suffocated by whilst formulating your own take on all of them. Learning the art of appreciating another’s point without regurgitating it as your own and letting yourself piece together your own take on everyone else’s bickering and chaos is what will continue the influx of new ideas and innovation in our society. The ability to forge your own identity in the tornado of everyone else’s is what sets people apart in our constantly connected world, and I believe any of us individuals are capable of setting ourselves apart.

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  90. Self confidence, self-esteem and self-reliance are three things that have a lot of importance in my life. Ive always been somewhat of an independent and self-reliant person since a very young age, because its just the type of person I am. Ive always known that the best way to get things done is by doing them yourself, and I’ve stayed true to this as much as possible growing up. I love being on my own, and doing things by myself, which is probably why I’m so excited to begin college. I feel like I’m finally ready to be on my own and begin the next chapter of my life. Im naturally a very goal-oriented person, so I always have a “hard work pays off mentality” when it comes to doing what I have to do, and getting things done. When it comes to self-confidence and self-esteem, I feel as though I definitely have a lot of both. Im a very confident person, and part of it comes from the way I was raised. My parents always taught me to believe in myself, my abilities, and to not worry about what others think of me. I’d much rather spend my time focusing on myself and how I can become the best version of myself that I can be. Especially nowadays, I feel like so many people worry about what other people think, and focus on making sure other people think highly of them, rather than worrying about whether they themselves are satisfied by their own actions and appearances. One thing I try to do as much as possible is focus on myself, and do things for myself, because pleasing everyone that watches your actions is impossible. I’d rather be genuine to myself, and stay positive.

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  91. I started my life silent. I mean, I wasn’t mute — I did talk — but only to the select few I felt comfortable with. In this world of hiding behind my mom’s legs, I yearned for invisibility. I didn’t want to be looked at and judged, or worse, be forced to talk. I was convinced that no matter how I appeared or conversed, I would never measure up to my peers. I mean, for pity’s sake, I couldn’t even talk to a waitress until the 7th grade. Being a shy girl has always been a defining feature of my life. I dug myself into a hole that at 18 I’m still struggling to climb out of. If there was one lesson during my years of silence that I learned, it was the power of words. Written or spoken, words hold the power to define an entire person in a single sentence. As a person reluctant to talk, I found my escape in books. Freedom from the real world, in a sense. The books that I have read define the person that I have become. The words so carefully printed on paper became absorbed in my mind, melding with my personality until they became one. The way I talk, you know, because I did eventually get over the whole painfully shy thing, and the way I write are entirely due to the books I’ve read. Words held the power to shape me, and help me to find my voice.

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    • Your story is similar to some of my life experience. I really suffered from being shy, especially around adults. I also at a young age dove into reading as an escape from my odd reality. I’m so glad to read that you have grown into the person you want to be from the power of the words that you read in those books.

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  92. One thing I’ve always over thought is what other people are thinking about what I do. No matter how insignificant the action I used to always worry about what other people would think about me. Something that a friend told me years ago has stuck with me for a while. We were walking around a town and he was talking and joking very loudly. Because I always have been too focused on what other people think I kept telling him to be quieter. However, he said to me, “look around at all the people who care.” I looked around and nobody walking by even glaced our way. That made me think more about why I was worried so much about how I acted, because for the most part, people really don’t care what you’re doing. Everyone has their own lives to live, and couldn’t care less about what I was doing. The person who thinks most about the things you do is yourself. This also made me think that life is too short to take minor things too seriously. I don’t want to spend all my time worrying about what other people think of me, or getting bothered by something that just isn’t worth the time. Life is too short to be worried about that, or to take things too seriously. Once I switched into that mindset, it was much easier for me to do pretty much everything in public. I believe that life is much easier when you don’t worry about what other people think and don’t take yourself too seriously.

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  93. I believe that believing in your own self-image is the key to success. Throughout life, we struggle to fit in with the status quo and what we believe others would want to see in us. I have found myself being caught in situations where I’m only trying to act in ways others would like, even if it felt uncomfortable or different to me. However that shouldn’t be the case. Until we can believe in our own self-image, and be confident in ourselves, we will never be content with life or the opportunities life brings our way. We will never be able to enjoy what it’s like to be unique. When we try to change our actions, behaviors, and or looks, we are publicly declaring to the world that we are okay with being just average. I believe that we should embrace who we are no matter what we are like, what we look like, or what we believe in. We were born to be ourselves, and we should never let the world change who we are. Once we finally believe in our self-image, is when we are confident in who we are. This leads to contentment in life, which can lead to us taking opportunities that come our way head on. I believe that this college semester will be such a blast for everyone attending the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth if we embrace who we all are. I can’t wait to meet new people and potentially new friends this year. Believe in you!

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  94. A year ago, I was the girl sitting in the back of the room, hiding behind the tallest boy in the class. Then I found the Food Project, or it found me.
    I am a loving person but I have always had difficulty sharing my feelings with others, except my grandfather, who died five years ago. Though he lived in Tanzania, we were close. After his death, I felt alone. To make things worse, his death really affected my parents. They began fighting. My dad, in particular, was really struggling. I hated seeing my mother in pain. We all suffered. I felt angry, tired, and shut down. Then I joined The Food Project and everything changed.
    The Food Project is a non-profit community program, with gardens in the Greater Boston area, that employs local youth and focuses on agriculture and outreach. I came across their mission, which is to create thoughtful and productive communities for youth and adults from diverse backgrounds. This really caught my attention.
    I strongly believe in the importance of belonging to and having a great connection with your community . Feeling safe and wanted is something that makes me happy . Sharing my feelings has been a hard thing for me. My mom taught me that what we speak in our house stays between us. While I wanted to respect my mom’s privacy, I needed to find a way to tell my story so I could move forward. The Food Project helped me find and use my voice and become comfortable opening up to the world. I can’t wait to get to UMass Dartmouth to find my new community.

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  95. I believe that in this world, especially in today’s society, that having self confidence gives a person the edge they need to compete for a job, sport, or anything someone might compete for. I had a track coach in high school and he would give us very difficult workouts. He didn’t do that for the physical workout but for a mental workout. He always promoted positive mental attitude. He would tell us that if we had “PMA” then we would be able to get through rough workouts. That idea doesn’t just apply to track but also in the workplace, school and at home. Everyone is dealt with adversity but, it’s how a person deals with it in which makes someone the person they are. Those adversities help us grow as a community and a person. We may be able to deal with adversity, but we shouldn’t have to go through it alone. We should have support systems that help us, talk to us and listen to us. These support systems raise our self esteem, they bring out our self expression and give us the self resilience we need to overcome the bad times and be successful during the good times and the opportunities given to us. These four aspects, self confidence, self resilience, self esteem, and self expression are the building blocks we need to be strong and successful people. With these characteristics, we can be set up to do a lot of things we want with just how we present ourselves as people.

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  96. I believe truly, that no one is like another. This may be a cheesy statement adults tell little kids to make themselves feel better- to make them feel more important. But I believe it’s true. There’s so much out there. So much to learn, so much to enjoy and explore- no one can like the same exact things as one another- or at least, have the same perspective as them. I believe, we tend to shame each other for this. We shame each other for interests- for what others love, because it’s not what we love- or, not from our perspective. We actively cut each other down making each other the same. We believe different is bad- yet, being ‘cookie cutter’, or ‘basic’ is also frowned upon. What should we be? As people, why do we feel the need to be this way? To frown upon what is different, yet also, whatevers the same?
    I believe, this is all bullshit.
    I believe what makes us different, ‘special’, is essential to our lives. Our differences bring us together just as our similarities. Allowing ourselves enjoyment is the greatest route of life, the greatest route to connection. I speak to my friends- of the things we enjoy. Our favourite shows- books, the various melodies, rooting from the radios that play in our car, to the songs of stories we long to play in our heads on repeat. It keeps us close, and happy.
    I believe… we should let each other just, exist.

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  97. I believe in having confidence because of an experience I had with not being confident in myself causing me to make a decision that I ended up really regretting. When I was in high school the school I attended was a technical school. During my freshman year I had to decide on what trade I wanted to learn during my four years and I always knew I wanted to be in the Allied Health program.The Allied Health Program gives you the necessary lessons you need to be successful in the healthcare field. The goal of the program is to help you gain a position in the healthcare industry. During my time exploring the technical area the teacher would continuously try to discourage us by reminding us how hard the shop was and remind us of the difficulties of getting into that technical area to the point where even with my good grades by the end of the exploratory which is an opportunity for the student to evaluate his or her strengths and weaknesses, to help students be more prepared to make a decision about their permanent technical program. I had lost all faith in my capability to handle the shop.So I put Allied down as my second choice not only because I didn’t believe I would get in but because the shop was so popular, and so many people wanted it so if you didn’t put it down as your first choice it was very unlikely to get in. Looking back that experience I’ve realized that I should never have allowed her to shake my confidence and influence what technical area I choose to spend the rest of my high school years in. And since then I try to live my life with confidence.

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  98. I believe that everyone needs to be able to find a balance between self-reliance and the reliance of others. The idea that one should become completely self-reliant is one I disagree with, and I think it sets dangerous expectations for kids and even adults. Self-reliance for simple things is important for going through stages of life, such as dressing oneself, tying shoes, learning to cook, setting up a bank account, etc. For the more serious decisions and problems though, such as learning, mental health problems, relationship issues, etc., the idea of having to be self-reliant can make things more complicated.
    I know that in my senior year, my parents did not help me with my application process, FAFSA, grades, or studying. I became very stressed in a quick time and thought I had only myself to depend on. I blamed my stress on myself, thinking I wasn’t being determined enough. THis ended up not being the case, as I was very determined, but I was overloading myself. After talking to a guidance counselor, A lot of issues were simply solved in a way I could not have ever figured out on my own. In a more serious example, mental health is also something most people brush to the side, and never get help for. The idea of asking for help can sometimes be daunting, as most people are determined on figuring things out on their own, especially as an adult in college. So a lot of students try to “toughen up” on their own, which usually leads to a bad spiral of self-destructive tendencies.
    I think it is important for people to realize that every single person, at every age, cannot be completely self-reliant. It is ok to ask someone for help, and it can actually cause someone to become even more self-reliant. Asking for help can give someone the tools they need to handle situations on their own. In conclusion, I believe finding a balance of both self-reliance and the reliance of others is a key to success.

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  99. Just like the Sphinx, they are known for intelligence and strength. Just like the pyramids, they are united tightly, way too strong to divide and collapse. They are known for their seven thousand years-old culture. Egyptians, a prideful and a strong nation, known for their powerful will, and kindness around the world.
    And here I am. A child screaming to be freed from the metal bars of silence. The stainless steel bars, weak, rusted from her unbidden tears.
    My culture taught me that pride is all a person has gotten into this world and losing it would be your death sentence. It forced me to depend on myself, to never ask for help. So there I am trapped in silence. It is forbidden to look weak– how can you when surrounded by great people? Brilliant surgeons, successful businessmen, every person fighting to reach the top. But where am I, among all these strong and powerful people?
    My weakness was being hidden and locked away for no one to see. Weaknesses, dark thoughts, pain, both emotional and physical, had to be pushed away, ignored. After all, I had to be strong. Tears wetting my pillow, my only relief at night. Many think that crying is generally a sign of sadness, I think of it as the relief. All the words I wanted to say, all the things I wanted to do, and all the help I wanted to ask for, all come out in the form of a small, soft, and warm drop.
    I believe that no one should feel suppressed to express their feelings, fearing that they’ll be thought of as weak. Hesitant to ask a simple question, fearing that they’ll be thought of as stupid or slow. I believe that anyone should be free to evince all their weaknesses without being judged or misunderstood. I believe that there will be a day where people won’t find it necessary to be the fittest for them to survive in a community that will be looking for unison instead of perfection.

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  100. I believe that having self confidence, self esteem and self reliance is all essential, especially in today’s world where one may see themselves as not being “good enough”. In part, a lot of it stems from the media. Back in my freshmen year of high school, I had insecurities about how I carried myself as a person. I was known to be self conscious and shy. I took the opportunity to join an upcoming dance club at my high school, where it was not only a place to dance, but a place where you can be yourself. From the first time I performed at prep rally to the last time which was senior year and eventually becoming a captain. It took some growth, leadership and confidence to earn that role. Keeping that mental note to myself, taught me that people will have their thoughts about you, but don’t let it get to the best of you. How I may do something, may not be the same on how someone else does it, but I don’t let that be a discouragement. We were all born with a purpose, and it’s important to note that you should not strive to be like others, but rather yet you should strive to be yourself!

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  101. There’s a lot of things that I believe in and value. Whether it’s giving others around you a second chance and or learning to look at the bigger picture. One thing that I very much believe in and have learned to live by are the words of the famous William Shakespeare, where he once said, “Be who you are, and not who the world wants you to be.” Hearing, seeing, and saying these twelve words have been a part of me for longer than you can expect. Yes, I have always wanted to learn to find myself, to live with myself without having to put myself down. Without having to look at myself differently or to constantly continue to ask myself if I am simply enough.

    There, d be times in my life where I would sit and compare myself to the others around me. My sisters, my cousins, my friends, my family, acquaintances, and strangers. Anyone who I thought had more than me or could do more than me, I would also look at differently. My sister, who is two years older than me counts as one. She is tall and skinny who was successful in school. She was captain of the soccer and basketball and ran track. All my life I have always had to live up to her. I became her. Not because I wanted to, but because I had to. I felt that I had no choice. This was the only way I would feel comfortable with myself. My confidence would flaunt itself as if it were real. From wearing the same clothes and having the same hairstyles. To playing the same sports and hanging with the same friends. At this point, I was used to living this way. There was no more of my family comparing and asking questions. I didn’t want to be known as just ” Kanya’s sister”. I wanted a name for myself.

    Although, I did realize something. I was essentially compromising my principles. Why would I want to be someone who I am not? What do I have to prove? I didn’t pay attention to myself. I didn’t consider myself and appreciate the good things that came with me.

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  102. I believe one must challenge oneself to find success. For someone to truly be able to grow and to progress as an individual, they have to place themselves in situations that they are not entirely comfortable with. Were someone to never challenge themselves, and simply be complacent with exactly how they are in the moment, they’d hardly be able to achieve educational, personal, or professional success. Challenges come in many shapes and ways; they could be enrolling in a tough class, pushing one’s academic boundaries, or the could be reaching out to a new group of people, making connections even though they feel uncomfortable or awkward. Part of what helps one challenge themselves is having friends who are there to encourage them to grow. However I firmly believe that the largest source of progress and success comes from within. We have to hold ourselves to high standards, to dare ourselves to constantly be beating our records and progress from the past. There is certainly much to be said for being happy with oneself, but I argue against complacency. We should be happy with who we are, rewarding our past efforts towards progress, but motivated enough to fuel even greater future personal growth. At the end of the day the only person that can define success for us is ourselves. If we are constant raising the bar, we will always feel the passion and the drive to better our work, to improve our skills, only then can we truly become great, immense force in the world we live in.

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    • I definitely believe that risk taking and putting yourself in situations you aren’t completely comfortable with is a great way that leads to success. In doing this, you are familiarizing yourself in areas you didn’t know before. It also shows a great deal of respect for taking on new challenges!

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  103. I was never the best at believing in myself or my own personal abilities. I always relied on others to believe in me for me because I practically had no self confidence to speak of. Always giving up when presented the opportunity to, or taking the easy way out because I did not think that I could do the task in front of me. Even just doing nothing and breaking down afterwards because I should have done something. This went on and has been going on for years largely ignored by me because I was too scared to talk about things like this.
    It was not until recently that I had decided do do something about this problem of mine even if it was only small changes made. I stopped judging my life based on what I saw on social media. Nobody posts the bad parts of life online and everybody has their own struggles. But if you only look at what people say on the internet you as a person see everybody’s life as better than your own. By seeing everybody as better than yourself that is very damaging to the mental health.
    Also more recently instead of saying “I cannot” or “I will not”, say “I can” or “I will try”.By doing this I will at least attempt to do something rather than give up immediately, and if I really cannot at least I gave it an honest effort. As Henry Ford said “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely”
    It is with these mindsets that I look towards a brighter future for myself. One where I am not weighed down by my own mind.

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    • I second that notion of simply changing one’s mindset of “I will not” to “I will try”. For me personally, this change in mindset has gone long ways in my attitude towards my everyday life, affecting how I’m perceived by my friends, family, and myself for the better. Before, I was always a pessimist who never took risks. As you can imagine, life can never be exciting nor redeeming this way, as it was for me. I always took the easy way out; a path needing of least effort. And then afterward, I will become unhappy and regretful with my decisions. The culprit of these issues all comes from the “I will not” mindset.
      Eventually, I self-reflected on my own issues, seeing this as being a root of most of my troubles. I realized how I had pessimistic, non-risktaking tendencies and turned it around, trying the “I will try” mindset. And I tell you, it significantly improved my life in all aspects.

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  104. I believe that being “normal” is overrated, and that you should never change yourself to fit the standards of others. Growing up I was rejected by almost every social circle I tried to be a part of, and many of the friendships I had were unfortunately fake. The struggle to make and maintain friendships took its toll on me over the years and depleted my self-esteem until it hit rock bottom. I started to believe that it was my fault, that there was something wrong with me. I had always been different and never really fit in with the crowd, but I had never seen it as a bad thing until then. So I changed, I put up a facade and pretended to be “normal” in order to fit in with my peers. I abandoned all of my passions and interests, changed my clothing, even my personality. I was willing to do anything for people to like me, but it was never enough. Somewhere deep down I knew this wasn’t ok, but I was so desperate to belong, so desperate to not be alone anymore that I just accepted it. That all changed one day in my junior year of high school, during a rough patch I finally realized that I wasn’t happy. I finally realized that fitting in with everyone else was not worth sacrificing my individuality or happiness. In the end being “normal” got me nowhere, it just made me unhappy and hate who I really was. The small number of real friends I had made were worth way more than the groups of people I worked so hard to try and impress. I learned that if you have to sacrifice everything that makes you unique and special in order for someone to like you, they are not worth your time and energy. I believe that everyone should embrace what makes them unique, and never sacrifice it to attain the unreachable goal of being “normal”. Everyone should love themselves for who they are and embrace all the amazing things that make them a unique individual.

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  105. There are few things more harrowing than the questioning of self. Identity is something that metamorphizes with time, experience, and environment—but does any part of the self stay consistent? Do I have a say in who I am? That was a question I’ve struggled with for quite some time. Almost nothing I came into this world with have I kept throughout the years: not my name, not my hair, nor my skin or my innocence. I have changed and changed and changed, yet nothing seems to stick. I’ve struggled with the options of identity as well; can I only just be one thing? Is identity a dichotomy—only this way or the other? Can I only be a boy or a girl? Can I only be straight or gay? Can I only be brunette or blonde, kind or rude, smart or pretty? I find myself to be a Gemini in choosing—but, do I even have to choose? After years of contemplation, soul-searching, and a yearning to feel like I know something about myself, I realized: I don’t need to choose. There is no black and white with these things—there’s no such strict duality that I have to live by. There will always be a third (or fourth, or fifth, or sixth) option, and there will almost always be overlaps between them. I don’t have to be a boy or a girl at all, there are so many more genders than the “standard” binary! And there are a plethora of sexual orientations, hair colors, traits, and personalities, so much so that it can sometimes be an even bigger problem than just choosing between two. What I know now is that I have my whole life ahead of me to figure out who exactly I am, and I gotta say—I like my options.

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    • Riley,
      I love this so much. I feel like I have spent my entire life trying to figure out who I am and I still don’t have answers, and this belief statement is exactly what I needed to read. I feel like it isn’t said enough that there doesn’t have to be rules to someone’s identity, and I believe you said it perfectly. So good!!

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  106. I believe in love for everyone. As being a member of the lgbtq+ community I fully believe that everyone has the right to express love consensually to anyone they please. My first ever experience with liking the same sex was in kindergarten. The girl in mind was in my class, she always wore dresses, had short, brunette hair, freckles, and an infectious smile. She was the smartest and most artistic girl in the class. I never did anything about it because I didn’t know what liking another girl meant.
    I never expressed feelings for a girl until 7th grade. She was short, and she also had short, brunette hair. I told her about my feelings towards her and she expressed the same back to me. I didn’t know what that meant, she asked me if I still liked boys too I said yes. She told me I was bisexual. We didn’t end dating however. My first girlfriend was in ninth grade. She was tall with long, brunette hair, with a teal piece in her hair. We dated for about 7 months, she was one of the worst relationships I had. It was good at the time but the ending was terrible. I dated two more girls after her who ended up to be Trans after we broke up. And I loved them all. But nothing like the guy I’m with now. His name is Zach. He’s tall, with short, curly, brunette hair, brown eyes with glasses. I love him more than life itself and he loves me and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him.

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  107. I believe …
    That self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-reliance are the three most important character traits to not only have personally but for others to have as well. Why am I saying this? Growing up you start to realize that the ones you hang out with are the ones who’ve encountered these three traits. Self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-reliance. As an individual self-confidence is an extremely important thing to have not only because no one’s opinion will affect you but because it can take a person really far in life. They won’t have any worries about who has anything to say about them because they’re comfortable with themselves. Self-esteem is also another important trait to have because it can gain you new friends that have similarities, and it can also build your social life as well. Not saying having a lot of friends is okay but knowing plenty of people is just as good. Having a good self-esteem can really build a person for the good and for the bad, especially if you don’t know when and where to control yourself. Just like they say “there’s a time and place for everything” this can relate to having a good self-esteem. Last but not least, self-reliance. Self-reliance might be the most important trait to have as an individual and it is also a trait I’ve personally grown into throughout the years. Independence is very important, there should never be a time where you need to depend on someone because they are not you. Growing up or growing into having self-reliance might be the best thing a person can do because they won’t have to worry about disappointments on themselves because they were depending on someone. It will relieve a lot of stress off a person’s shoulders for the future. I believe that self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-reliance are the three most important character traits a person can have to help them physically, mentally, and emotionally as well.

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  108. I believe that I have beliefs spread across so many ideas that it is near impossible for me to choose just one. Sure, I believe in the scientific process, that unhelpful judgement should not be offered, and in the careful balance between stress and productivity to preserve mental health, but those, at least in my mind, are not defining characteristics of myself. I do believe in equality, in helping others, in justice, that there are reasons behind every action, that not all reasons are legitimate excuses, and in inalienable human rights. I believe that revenge and jealousy should be thrown away from society. I believe that people should not criticize any hobbies that do not harm anyone. I believe that chastising those with anxiety because of their anxiety will only make matters worse. I believe that you are probably skimming through this by now. I believe it is good to include humor in your writing. I also believe in using your obstacles to propel yourself towards your goals, and given enough time and without the knowledge that I am probably boring you, I could probably keep going on like this.
    Looking through all of this, I realize that another one of my beliefs, my belief in the complexity of personality, would sum up all of this. Above all, I believe that people change. My beliefs of today may not resemble my beliefs of tomorrow.
    TL;DR I believe in too many things to choose one, so I wrote about them all.

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  109. I have personally gone through many experiences that would take a very long time to explain, but I’ll spare you the time. I know that school wasn’t the one to teach me to always be careful with who you surround yourself with or how to manage 4 things at once, or how to deal with my anxiety, or how to manage my finances, or how to find summer programs that will benefit my future or how to always watch your back as you walk somewhere or that if I felt something shady was about to happen that I should immediately leave. I believe that your experiences create your personal creativity.
    Now creativity is usually associated to art class and how to interpret a picture shown. The way I see it is more like a world point of view. You should see it as how you are able to take your experiences and turn into something creative. These experiences we’ve gone through are what teaches the creativity many of us have inside. I know that’s how I base my creativity, yet I always keep it hidden. I rarely use my creativity unless the time comes when it’s needed.
    Experience is key.
    Adults believe that focusing on school only is what gets you though life but if you do not go explore the world on your own, you’ll never understand it. If you haven’t understood yet, just understand, experience is creativity and you can’t teach experience, you can only give advice on it.

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  110. I have a confession and yes I know I don’t show it but I get frustrated when I make mistakes. I get angry that I am not understanding a topic that is being taught in class. I get riled up when things don’t go as planned. Yes all these things happen to me but most people don’t see it. Many people see a girl that looks like she doesn’t have any problems. Many people see a girl that is always happy and never gets mad. But those things are not always true. Yes don’t get me wrong I don’t let many things bother me and I am happy most of my day. I let all these frustrations go because how are you going to be successful if you give up on yourself? Many people ask me how I have such confidence. And the truth is I don’t. I simply just believe that I will be okay in the long run. Self confidence comes with being optimistic. Self-confidence will get you to believe that you will be successful. Self-confidence will give you motivation. Self-confidence will help you push past the negativity from others that doubt you. Self-confidence can help you understand yourself and your ability to say “hey I can do this” in any situation. It can be as little as passing a test or as big as being apart of a cast in a huge show. In my experience, when you have self-confidence you build a strong foundation that is full of self-love that people will try to break down. Remember that you will have moments when you feel that you self-confidence is being tested. And that okay. We are all human.

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  111. I believe that in life to truly be happy you have to achieve self love and self confidence. Growing up as a child I thought I didn’t fit in anywhere. When I was in school, I internalized I was “too dark” and “too ghetto”. At home I was “the white girl” of my siblings. I felt like I was abnormal because I couldn’t please everyone; I was always the outlier. It seemed like I couldn’t blend together a good mixture of what everyone thought was acceptable, so I was lost and unhappy for a long time. It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I realized I have to put aside everyone else’s opinions and focus on my own. The more I focused on what I really love to listen to, to engage in, and to wear is when I started to really smile. I felt like a large burden was lifted off my shoulders as I no longer looked for acceptance and I stop thinking too deeply into people’s negative comments. Sometimes it’s hard because of social media, but I taught myself to think of social media as a platform to share your interests, trips, and accomplishments. I had to stop going on social media to look at other people’s life and criticize my own. It was a toxic trait that I had and a lot of people still have in life. Due to this, some people go a whole lifetime without achieving true happiness so I believe that giving yourself the gift of self love and confidence is an amazing accomplishment in life.

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    • I really agree because I tend to constantly compare myself to other people I see on social media. It’s hard to not too really. This advice is really powerful.

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    • Your statement was very powerful. Their is so many people out their who have so much potential in life if they just learned to love themselves.

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    • This is really inspiring, I worry about the opinions of others too much and I totally understand how damaging it can be to constantly try to please everyone around you. Your own happiness should always be the priority!

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  112. I believe that having self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-expression can make you into someone you never thought you could be. I use myself as an ongoing example. From being raised in a toxic environment my true self was bottled up and stored deep in the depths of myself waiting to be freed one day. I was scared to be me, to believe that I could be great, to believe that I could amount to something. it was only until I got to school, I got to twist open the bottle of my true goofy, eccentric, social self. I got to be me around my friends. But once I left the school, I was back to being silent, with no confidence. It took me up until I was a sophomore in high school to break my shell. I owe it to finding a love for Track and Field. Winning and being recognized gave me the confidence to try to accomplish other things I never thought I could. Just believing in yourself can change your entire view on life. You would go into situations with a different type of thinking. I believe if you build that esteem and self-reliance you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. It took me years to believe in myself. If you were to go back in time and tell me that i would accomplish what I have today in track itself my past self would 100 percent not believe you. I believe having confidence in yourself is one of the best tools you can possess and I am so glad i can say I have it in my arsenal of tools. Whenever you dont believe for a second, Just take a deep breath and believe that YOU can do it, and that YOU possess that self-confidence, self=esteem, and self-expression.

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  113. There is always a bigger struggle, there is always someone who has to struggle more. That’s a simple phrase of motivation to help you look past the little things or any hardship life shakes out of you. It’s easy to comprehend, but difficult to apply to your life: that there is always someone who has it worse, so rather then dwell in sorrow be thankful and keep your head up.
    The idea and even writing it down instantly comes off as some cheesy cliche, but like most cliches, it’s not wrong.
    I always knew that looking for the “silver linings” in life was the wise thing to do, and if I am to brag I’m not to bad at it, but the lesson got reiterated to me this summer from a young boy named Ray (name changed to maintain anonymity).
    I’ve been a counselor at a summer camp for three years now and each year there is one kid I feel bad for, he just seems left out, different from all the other children. This young boy who I’ve felt bad for for the last 3 years I now seek inspiration from. If you haven’t guessed this is the boy named Ray. The world has given Ray every disadvantage it possibly could, he is from a broken home, comes from an abusive past, has learning disabilities, A speech impediment, and very severe eczema. In every way the world was beating down this kid who was so undeserving of it. When Ray got to the camp he came in and sat down on his bunk with an unsettling look, I asked him how his summers been and if he was excited for camp. The usual response resembles some sort of enthusiastic cheer, Ray’s response was more a darting stare of already boiled emotion. I understood, so I let him be for a few minutes, because all it took was a few minutes later and I asked how he liked the new Avengers movie. This quickly enticed him to move away from being in a terrible mood to joining the Camp spirit.
    Everyday we have something different planned for the kids, I can predict every campers reaction to what we have in store for them next, except for Ray. Ray can either have the time of his life doing something that I wouldn’t expect him to enjoy, or be miserable doing something I’d expect him to be having a blast doing. This week we had something special planned for the kids that we have never done before, one day we were gonna surprise them and bring them all to a water park, we kept it a secret the whole week because we knew all the kids would get wild over it. The only one I was uncertain about was Ray. The whole week I was kind of worried about how Ray would take a big trip like that. So when the big school bus came rolling down the path and we told the kids where they were going they went bizarre. Then I took my attention off the crowd and found Ray, and to my surprise he was over joyed! He was so happy that he hugged me and said “you are sitting next to me on the bus!”. I sat down on the bus next to him just as he requested and the whole ride he was talking 100 miles per hour about how exited he was. They announced on the ride that every kid needed to find a buddy that they would go around the water park with, Ray didn’t have a kid to be a buddy with, so for that day I was going to be Ray’s buddy. We went all around the water park that day together, his favorite part was the wave pool, he could have stayed in that all day, and he said that the water helps his echzama. I have never seen anyone so happy in my life till the moment that the waves started rocking in the wave pool.
    I’m that moment, and through that week Ray had reminded me of the simplicity of joy, the importance of being there for someone, and the nature of humans and their spirit to over come hardships, no matter how unfair they are. Ray taught me to be bold, cheerful, and relentless. I wrote that to him in a note that I gave him before he left, Ray will never know the impact he has left on me, and I never knew that someone so young of age could teach me so much. Ray has made me believe that as a community we should simply encourage one another, and be bold when there is no one there to encourage you, and to keep in mind that even when it seems that your life is at a stand still, there is always someone who has it worse off than you, so find encouragement in little things, even if it is thinking “this could be worse”.

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  114. Throughout my life I slowly became a strong believer in the cycle of karma. When I was younger I would often get bullied for what I was wearing and not being “the cool kid”. It got to a point where I was highly stressed at a young age and I would get overwhelmed. There were times in which I would go home and cry because I didn’t fit in with the other kids in my grade. Other kids tried to get me to fight but I always avoided it because I knew that would only get me in trouble. However, once I got to middle school I stopped letting other kids get into my head. Whenever, another kid would try to start something with me, I would do things like ignore them or laugh to get them upset. I quickly learned that if you don’t give a bully the type of attention they want, that they will soon stop the way they’ve been treating you. The reason I don’t give the same energy back to people like bullies is because I know eventually the universe will strike back at them. Karma has not only taught me to remain calm but it helped show others that the time they’re putting in bullying others is pointless and isn’t giving them the same effect they expected. Although, karma is powerful towards people who are like bullies, it should be watched out for closely. I’ve learned that over the years that karma watches you and the moves you make in life. For example, one time I found five dollars on the floor in my apartment complex and instead of asking every neighbor whose money it was, I kept it. Later that evening I ended up losing my bank card and had to wait two weeks for my new card. Overall, karma is something that watches over everyone and is continuing to change my life for the better till this day.

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  115. This spring, I worked with third and fourth graders with self-esteem issues. The goal was to help them, but in reality, I had a hope in the back of my mind that if I taught them about self love and acceptance, maybe it would rub off on me, because when it came down to it, I wasn’t so different from them. Self-esteem is an amazing thing. It can completely knock me out or it can give me the raw energy to carry myself for what seems like days. A good self-esteem as an artist, to say the least, is quite necessary. Sometimes my whole life feels like a kite tied to a tree on a windy day, as I’m pushing to go but I’m always held back. I want to be proud of the music I make and the work I do with my band, but everytime it comes time to perform, all I want is to hide. Similarly, I want to appreciate the opportunities I’ve had to present my art, but I always find myself thinking, “I don’t deserve to be here. There are so many better artists out there.” Now I’m going to college, and I can remember thinking “I don’t deserve this,” when I got my letter of acceptance, too. I am determined to do my best and hopefully get to a point where I can be confident in my self worth. I believe that everybody has worth and everybody deserves the opportunity to feel proud of themselves. I want to be proud of myself, and the truth is, I’m ready to be. I’m hoping that this year will be the year I can finally start.

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  116. As a little girl, I’ve never had to worry much about my actions, nor my appearance and if I was intelligent enough to achieve greatness. All that suddenly changes as I got older, going into middle and high school I criticize myself in everything that I did. Not feeling smart enough, or beautiful enough. Deep down I knew I was capable and that I had the ability to achieve all my goals in life. Or that I was beautiful and unique in my own way. There always seems to be something in my head keeping me from having the self-confidence and self-esteem that I needed in order for me to be great. After my freshman year in high school something change, I stopped feeding into those negative thoughts and built up my self-confidence and my self-esteem. It didn’t happen overnight and it definitely took me a while, even to this day I continue to doubt myself feeling like I will tragically fail in everything I do especially now that I am starting college. During those times ill take a step back and remind myself that I don’t have to think about such negative thoughts. To be confident that I can achieve anything if I continue to work hard while believing that I can do it. This is why I believe in having self-confidence and self-esteem. With those two things, I have stopped caring what other people thought about me while not criticizing myself so much and it has paid off.

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