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

  1. I have three major passions in my life: photography, writing fiction, and reading comic books. I love the creativity of photography and writing. I also enjoy the chance to see others’ creativity in comic books. The most enriching part of these passions are the freedom to do anything you can imagine. Photography allows me to capture anything, from breathtaking landscapes to the marvels of life itself. Writing fiction allows me to create entire universes on a wim, to explore and drudge the depths of the human psyche. Reading comic books allows me the opportunity to immerse myself in some of the greatest adventures ever conceived, to follow the greatest beings we can imagine. Creativity is the most important of man’s three great gifts of intelligence. Without it we wouldn’t have the capacity to dream, to reach for ever greater heights. Inquiry lets us explore the complexities within and the cosmos without. Understanding allows us to comprehend life’s greatest cosmic phenomena all the way to the higgs-boson, the microscopic particle that gives everything mass. But creativity allows us to not only perceive the very building blocks of the universe but to expand on them. This fundamental part of us is the method to which we unravel not only the mysteries of the cosmos and ourselves but the mysteries beyond those which we can currently comprehend.

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    • Hi Alec!
      I too have a passion for photography and writing fiction! I agree with you that it is a thrill to create imaginary worlds just by using creativity, and seeing that same creativity through photographs. Not everyone realizes that every photograph holds a story. Maybe an over flowing trash bin on the streets of New York is “typical city life” to some, but a story that is yet to be captured, to a photographer. I related so much to your post, and I like knowing that someone else appreciates and loves not just the act of writing and photography, but the emotions that are embedded into it. Keep up the good work, and stick to what you’re passionate about!

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    • Hi Alec,
      To echo what Maddie said, I greatly appreciate and respect how you highlighted the root of photography and writing fiction—two activities that I am considerably passionate for, as well. There are layers of emotion that rest under all that we do and everything that surrounds us, yet only a handful of people recognize such layers. Those who do, more often than not, possess levels of creativity that may seem foreign to others. To me, creativity is not only a means of expressing one’s own feelings, but bringing out the stories of those who might be too timid—or not have the opportunity—to share them. I love how you included the universe and physics into your post; creativity and science are often viewed as polar opposites, yet they work hand-in-hand. To know that there are fellow students who share my outlook that I once thought was isolated makes me very happy.

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    • I wholeheartedly agree with you and I too have a love for writing! I love being creative in anyway possible and I feel as though without creativity we have no dreams to reach far. Glad to see we have some of the same thoughts!

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    • Incredible Alec, if you write fiction as articulate and inspirational as you simply wrote this blog post I promise you, you will go far.

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  2. Choosing what you want to do until you retire is one of the most difficult decisions someone can make. As a graduating high school Senior, I get told that I should do what I love, or love what I do. For me, doing what I love is an absolute must: work will be more enjoyable and I will be able to live a more fulfilling life.
    Taking a stroll in the woods and catching a glimpse of a bright red Scarlet Tanager fly by me gives me excitement. My heart begins to beat violently as I raise my camera, placing my eye on the viewer, and take pictures as fast I can. These kinds of moments are what I live for. Being able to take a well composed picture is the very reason why I chose to pick up photography in the first place.Photography is something that will take me to places where I could only dream of going. If I were not interested in photography, I feel like I would never get the chance to see the mere gracefulness of Mother Nature’s gorgeous architecture. There is an incredible diversity of environments across the country that gives the opportunity to me, and other photographers, to capture things that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. So far, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a few different people that have been an enormous part of my developing interest. Photography allows me to meet people different backgrounds and lifestyles, and I love that. Being able to meet new people and make new friends, while at the same time doing what I love to do, is why I love being a photographer.

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  3. I, like most children growing up, had trouble in believing in myself. I couldn’t come to comprehend what confidence even was. Whenever it was time to decide on something, I would automatically think twice and conjure up an infinite number of scenarios of where things can go wrong. I even thought that everything that I did was wrong. With the mentality that I had as a growing adolescent, my future was not going to be the brightest. However, all of that changed once I started high school. Since I attended a trade school, I was placed in the vocation of my choice. I had chosen Computer Technology and it was one of the greatest decisions of my life. Not because of the craft itself, but how my trade teacher made me the person I am today. He opened my eyes to my true potential. He taught me many things on how special I truly I am and how I was born to be a leader. One of my favorite quotes from him is, “Skills shall grant you second place, confidence is what will move you to first.” If I had to leave this world with something that he bestowed to me, it is that leaders create other leaders. To be a true leader, is to carve an immaculate road for the future generations so that they may live a life that greatly surpasses the life you live now. Continue to fight your inner demons that haunt your ability to be confident in yourself. They are the only things holding you back of a life full of prosperity and success. I believe that confidence is everything.

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  4. Being “gay” isn’t just a sexuality, it’s a culture full of labels that do not suit everyone. I know what you might be saying, “Well here’s Kevin Barger, guess we have to read another statement about the gays and how he came out”, but I’m more than just an average gay teen from the town of Taunton, Massachusetts. I don’t have “hookups” or “one-night stands”, because I am more dignified than that. I don’t “spark up” or “match”, because I am smarter than that. I don’t classify myself as “a bear”, “a twink”, or “a fem” because I am better than a label.
    I classify myself as follows.
    I am an entertainer. I like to see you enjoy what I do and though I may not be on the stage as the person you see right in front of you, I still like to see you have fun. I am a lover. I don’t want you upset with me because I indeed do care for you, even if it doesn’t seem like it. I am fun. I enjoy seeing you smile, I enjoy hearing your giggles as I rap a whole Nicki Minaj verse.
    I am Kevin. I am an all around good person with confidence in who I am as a man. I am Gay. I am proud.

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    • Kevin,

      This post is amazing! I love how proud you are of being gay. Being gay isn’t something to be sad of or mad of. Being gay is one thing but being proud of it is awesome. Also, I sing old nicki minaj verses all the time lol. Anyways this was a great post. I hope other people liked it as much as I did.

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    • Kevin!!!
      This is truly amazing… I don’t know if you remember but we went to the same middle school! It is so cool to see how far you have come as a human; this is a beautiful writing. I am so proud to know you and I can’t wait to see where the journey of life takes you. See you in the fall!

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    • I am happy that you are comfortable with who you are and that you love to make others happy. I feel the same, the best feeling is making someone laugh or smile.

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    • Kevin,
      I love this post! I agree one hundred percent. Everyone is always trying to label everyone whether it be their sexuality, their gender, etc. You did an amazing job writing this!

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    • Hello Kevin, I deeply enjoyed reading your post. I love how much confidence and courage you have. It is truly beautiful, I wish that other people could open up and be as confident. But sadly, this generation lacks it a lot since people are too busy worrying about what other people think , or living up to societal standards. Honestly, society is way to overrated it should not matter how you live your life, as long as you are happy. So again, I applaud you and am happy to see that there are people out there, that are not afraid to be themselves. Good luck and I hope you have a wonderful life, full of happiness and love. 🙂

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    • Kevin, I love your post so much! I too, consider myself as panromantic with a leniency to be attracted to my birth gender even though I only sorta identify with it nowadays. But I don’t define myself as pan to others right off the bat: I define myself as an artist and steampunk fan. It’s people like us who chose not to be defined by our separating labels that can make a world where everyone is happy with themselves and not need labels to separate ourselves.

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  5. During my time of living I’ve been through horrible things and dealt with losses but, I’ve learned that life is not easy. You have to struggle sometimes and it’s hard but in the end you’ll be fine. I was given this life because I am strong enough to live with it and I know that now. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve become a very strong, young woman. I went through a lot when I was young and as I got into my teenage years I realized that I have to learn to get through life happily. I learned that not everyone in your life stays with you and that you have to learn to live independently.I’ve been through a lot in the years of my life. I’ve been bullied, talked down on, hit, and lots of other things but I have learned to pick myself back up and get on the right path to be successful. You always have an option if you want to make your life better or worse ; I suggest you choose better. Everyone has there own views on how to live they’re lives. In my opinion, I want everyone to be successful. Everyone should be happy in there own skin and happy with who they are. Everyone should live life to the fullest. No one should let anyone or anything drag them down ; always stay on top. Some people bring negativity into this world that we don’t need. Always be yourself and never let people like that bring you down ; always keep your head held high and be aim to be successful in life.

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    • Hey Chyna, you are completely right; everyone should be living themselves without unnecessary obstacles in the way. 100% percent agree with you, there’s no room for inviting unneeded negativity to the table, as well as keeping faith in oneself remains very important. This is a brilliant post that highlights the importance of self-regard/respect and the understanding of control and the perseverance of an individual. The transition to getting through and adjusting to life is really that of learning and understanding the demands and obstacles.

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    • “Everyone should live life to the fullest.” There is no statement more true, I hope everyone heads that piece of advice. I wholeheartedly agree with you!

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    • Hi Chyna, l could not agree more with you. Being independent and living for yourself and your own contentment is so much more satisfying then living for the satisfaction of others. You can not live your life for anyone but you, and you put that into your own words beautifully. Life gives its hardest battles to its strongest soldiers, l relate to your post a lot.

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  6. Self love, one of the biggest lessons taught to yourself by you.

    As a little girl in elementary school I always sought out validation from my peers. I would always go above any beyond for people that weren’t doing the same for me just so I could feel important. Nobody really teaches you the value self love at such a young age, so my depiction of it was what others viewed me as. I learned from television that everyone loved the “popular girl” and for a while that’s what I aspired to be but seeing as I was overly shy that role was way out of my league.

    At the age of sixteen where most teens begin their dating life I felt like an outcast because by that time I had confined myself to the mindset that I didn’t need to seek validation from others so I became very isolated and self dependent however, I was doing it for the wrong reasons. I became distant as a defense mechanism so I wouldn’t feel like I needed anything from anyone. The downside to that was when it came time to interact with the world I was very hesitant.

    The time I broke up with my first boyfriend I was as heartbroken as a seventeen-year-old girl can be. But as I was going through my healing process began to take the time to know myself yes, I began to distant myself again but this time it was to learn how to love myself so that no matter what I can always find happiness in myself and anyone I allow into my life is in addition to my happiness not the sole purpose of it.

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    • I was the shy girl in high school who wanted others validation as well. I spent very little time loving myself. As the years went by I cared less and less about what other people thought of me. I used to want to be popular; now I am grateful for the genuine friendships I have.

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    • Natreysha,
      Your piece reminds me of advice someone always gives me. Especially your last line, “…learn how to love myself so that no matter what I can always find happiness in myself and anyone I allow into my life is in addition to my happiness not the sole purpose of it.”. This line because I always let other peoples voices and opinions get to me and the advice was the opposite. Advice this person always gives me is to be happy and think of myself before other people and not to let other people get to me too much. This person repeatedly tells me that if I don’t allow people to put me in a bad mood then I will stay happy. So I guess this person is telling me to love myself now that I think about it.

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    • Hi Natreysha,
      Self love can be very difficult for one to achieve, especially as a female. As you said, society has a heavy influence on people, especially at a young age. Whether it’s television or social media, there is a definition of beauty that is forced upon individuals. We tend to seek validation from others based on society’s standards rather than just loving ourselves. We also tend to seek validation from a significant other and believe that is where we can find happiness, but as stated in your paragraph that should only be an addition to your own happiness. The journey to self love can be very difficult and filled with rough experiences, however they teach a valuable lesson.

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  7. You never know where you will make some friends. I’ll always be the first to admit in any conversation: I’m not perfect. I have anxiety and depression, and my self-confidence when it comes to making friends is very less than perfect because of that. So, when I went to a mental hospital for a two-week stay, it’s safe to say that I was scared. I didn’t want to open up when everyone went around introducing themselves. But I mustered up the strength to introduce myself, because, hell, I was going to be there for a while. And at every comment I made, from my gender at the time, to my pronouns, to even my likes and interests, the person next to me gasped. We were almost the same, both agender and both using primarily they/them pronouns, even having the same interests. We opened up to each other and became good friends. We shared music disks when we weren’t doing anything, picking each other for activities, even sharing food when either my family brought me some or they bought delivery Asian cuisine on Fridays. I even helped them pick out their new name, which they still use. It’s been a year and a half since then, and we have parted our separate ways, but we still talk. If I knew before then that making friends could be that easy, I wouldn’t have been so scared to talk about myself before. I have since changed, but one thing will stay the same: I will always be more open to talking to others than I was a year and a half ago.

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  8. I disagree wholeheartedly with the notion of “finding” oneself. Everyday holds so many opportunities to change and develop, and grow. We aren’t “finding ourselves”, we’re growing. I used to put a lot of pressure on myself and hold myself to a certain standard, and anytime I fell from that pedestal or my interests changed, I needed to “find myself”. This way of thinking was detrimental to my self esteem, it claims that I’m lost and don’t know what I’m doing, which is 100% true by the way, but that’s okay. Assuming I’m lost and don’t know where I’m going and that I need to figure it out puts this nagging voice in my head that I’m not doing good enough. With my new mindset, I’m simply growing. Growing as a person, growing as a member of society, growing internally. Very bad things happen in life, at 14 I lost one parent and a few years later I lost the other. For years I had to survive on my own and come back from trauma after trauma. I learned a lot about myself, about my resilience and my capabilities. I didn’t find myself like I once thought, I simply had a strength within myself that I didn’t know about. You won’t “find” yourself in someone or something else, all you have in fact is yourself, you are already whole, and you’re already enough. We’re all just growing and changing, life is fluid and we shouldn’t shame ourselves for our developmental process. This I believe.

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  9. As time has gone on, I realized that having a good self-esteem is important. The combination of growing up, going through puberty as a female, and constant changes in my personal life, has kept me from finding time to take care of myself. At one point in my early teens, I gained an unhealthy obsession
    with being skinny. I followed tumblr accounts that displayed images of girls with flat stomachs and
    “thigh gaps”. Tips for diets and cleanses for becoming skinny would cloud my mind. I never tried to use unhealthy weight lose fads, but I would lose myself scrolling for hours, bringing myself to tears because I didn’t look like them. Sometimes I forget that I went through that time in my life. It was sick of me to torture myself like that. I should have taken it as an inspiration to better myself but I didn’t. I avoid comparing myself to others now but it’s almost impossible not to. From time to time, I find myself back in that dark place when I truly hating myself. An overnight increase of self-love would be great. Regardless of how impossible this is, I take everyday as an opportunity for me to improve who I am. I hope to one day wake up and completely love who I am, inside and out.

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    • I think it was really brave of you to share this story, and you are right. It is nearly impossible to not compare yourself to others, especially in this day and age when social media is in our face 24/7. But I think you can achieve self-love if you truly set your mind to it, everything good takes time. And you already are so strong from what I’ve read! Improve yourself a little each day and you WILL wake up one day completely loving who you are!

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  10. Trends are the problem with todays generation; we are all obsessed with the unrealistic portrayal of how things are “supposed to be”. Through out high school, I was obsessed with body image and how people perceived me. I was constantly plagued with losing weight and having the most admirable clothes. Relying on compliments and comments from strangers in the halls distracted me from truly enjoying high school. Relishing these high school moments was ruined by the validation I constantly craved from my peers. As if acceptance wasn’t the only thing on my plate, I was extremely self-conscious with my own body image. I would never post pictures of just myself in fear of not getting “enough” likes. The constant scrolling through Instagram led me to hate summers in fear of not being skinny enough to go to the beach. I would always wear a T-shirt to avoid of judgement from not only other people, but myself. Instead of hiding from my problems and shame, I began to work-out and eat healthier. In my mind I thought if you eat good you feel good and that’s just what happened. Stemming from that, I evolved into a more independent young woman, realizing, life is more than just likes and other people’s opinions. The new outlook I had led me to be confident in what I wore, how looked and what people thought about me. Nowadays I pride myself in the motivation I have to be healthy, which keeps me confident.

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  11. I used to be a very shy girl, I thought that the things I had to say didn’t matter and had trouble expressing myself. Most of that came from being an easy target to bullies in school, my family wasn’t from America and I was a bit chubbier than the rest. That is all it took for people to find a reason to be mean. I was scared to be myself.
    Fast forward a few years, its my sophomore year of high school. I start joining clubs, and one of them was called “Freedom Writers.” It was all about activism and social justice. The more that I learned about the problems that women, members of the LBGTQ+ community, and people of different races faced in our country, I became more and more open about voicing my opinions. I wanted people to hear me and hear what I had to say about the need for feminism and equality in our country, I didn’t want to be silent any longer, no matter what bully gets in my way.
    I realized that my opinion did matter and I should always be able to express myself. Maybe, if the right person heard me talking about my beliefs and the things I am passionate about, I could make a change. Life is way to short to worry about making someone upset by expressing yourself and your beliefs. I am now the loudest person in the room and always willing to show a new point of view to things.

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    • I am happy that you found your voice. I used to be so quiet and I’ve become more brave about being myself. Life is too short, it really is a tragedy to be so discouraged to be yourself.

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  12. The year was 2017, and my senior year of high school was just about to start. I had been telling myself that this was going to be the year for me to shine, and not like all of the other years. Anyone who’s known me for more than a year would tell you how misleading I am being with a statement like that, though, as I’d been an honors student all through high school. At the time, however, I was misleading myself more than anyone. For years, as long as I could remember, really, I had been seen as a bit, well, as more than one former teacher put it, “unfiltered.” I was one of the geeks in that I was a member of the robotics team and held a steady 4.0 grade point average, but teachers and students outside of my social circle regarded me as somewhat of an exception from the “goody-two-shoes” crowd. I would intentionally start debates with teachers on subjects ranging from U.S. politics to the use of metaphors in literature we were reading, sometimes without any intent of polishing or “sugar-coating” my thoughts. On at least one occasion I was told that I associated too much with the “redneck” clique at my school, rarely avoiding an opportunity to enjoy a rambunctious joke with the less refined students in my class. Surely, I thought, I was only being singled out for being the nerdy kid who associated himself with more than one social group, so I persisted with this attitude until senior year when I promised to refine myself. I started the year well enough, avoiding disciplinary action through good behavior rather than simply talking my way out of it. I even received compliments from teachers on how I had changed, and it felt different. Then one day, a friend of mine, another incoming freshman at UMass Dartmouth for that matter, asked me if I was okay, and if everything was alright at my house, as she had noticed that I wasn’t the Jasper Tan she had known for so many years. I explained to her my new approach to life, but as I heard my own thoughts manifest themselves as words I realized that what she said was true. I told her that she was right, and that I wasn’t myself, and my new, less humorous way of going about my days wasn’t helping me deal with any of my internal conflicts the way laughter always used to bring me to a better place. From that day on, I abandoned the facade, realizing that other people’s opinions wouldn’t affect my performance in school or in life, and that if the real me was unfiltered and free-thinking, then so be it. I now know that I work at my highest level of potential when I only take the most important things in life (family, studies, work, etc…) very seriously, and in my eyes, other people’s judgments are not too important to respectfully joke about every so often, because if high school taught me one lesson that didn’t involve numbers and books, it’s that if you want to live life to the fullest, follow your heart, because it’s the one thing that no one else can do for you.

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    • Hey Jasper,

      I really appreciate you writing about expression and being yourself, and not caring what people associate you with and think about you!

      Thanks buddy.

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  13. I believe in self-confidence, growing up as a black female was very difficult for me. Boys at school separating me from my kind “dark skin”, ‘Light skin,” even defining some of us as ” charcoal”. Some of my friends even getting the influence on others just to fit in making jokes about color. I felt like I was an outcast I asked myself so many times why I had to be the color I was today; why couldn’t I be a bit lighter. Some days people wouldn’t call me by my name but by my skin color while talking with other. As I got older I started to notice more and more black women like me becoming more successful in life. Owning a million dollar business, helping other black money who struggle with their own skill color to appreciate themselves. That’s when I realized I shouldn’t let others bring me down because they have their own self of stem they need to work on. Everyday there is someone like me who feels like they don’t belong somewhere, but they are wrong. Your skin color does not define who you are in life it’s what you do to make a world a better place. My entire year on elementary school I was surrounded around people who only dated, hanged with, or even talked to because their skin color, but today I surround myself with positivity and other people who don’t judge by our looks and help others bring out the beauty in them.

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    • I totally agree! All my life I grew with the issue of my skin color being a problem in school. I learned to love my skin and cherish it because I know nobody else will. I love how you talked about your issue in school because I feel like people don’t recognize how others can make an individual feel bad about his or her skin color.

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      • I absolutely feel for you in this topic. I’ve always been shamed for how dark i was. i never understood the point of making somebody feel bad for their outside appearances even though they can’t change it. this is definitely learned behavior, children hear other people talk about others that way and they repeat it and this happens too often.

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    • I agree! After seeing and experiencing what people can do to others due to their skin colors can change a person completely being said from a black male perspective. I did not let people discourage me because of who I am. At the end, those words made me think of what our race has done for this country considering changing slavery and racism. Martin Luther King, as a black man has led the country through nonviolence and civil disobedience from all races. Barack Hussein Obama being the first African American to serve as president of the United States of America. Rosa Parks, was an African American woman to be known as “The mother of the freedom movement.” So do not let people let you down because of your skin color, instead show them what we can do and prove them wrong. Said too much but had to make a fact.

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  14. I believe in self-confidence.

    I found, often, I would compare myself with others which lead to myself being conscious of my body, looks, and hair. I would always watch my friends shop in petite stores and broke my combs trying to style my hair. I attempted to change my looks to fit the ideal beauty standard, but no matter what, I still was unhappy.

    I came back to school one day from over the weekend. The halls were crowded, and the chaos was normal. I could feel a few heads turn away their attention from their conversations. My hair had broken the tie and clouded loose behind me. That morning I spent no time worrying about what products to put on my face. The cropped tee and frayed jeans complimented every inch of my curves. I kept walking with a smile.

    Days prior, I had spoken to my mother. “I don’t think I’m pretty,” I told her. “I don’t have hazel eyes or long straight hair.” She always listened to my words. “No”, my mother responded. “You don’t. You have eyes like the night, deep and mysterious and hair like the wind, wild and free. You do not look like everyone’s definition of pretty. You look like my definition of beautiful.”

    I believe that loving yourself isn’t conceit, its love. Love means acceptance, kindness, and care. With love, doubt disappears, fears fade, and there becomes a comfort in being alone. I believe you’ll help to heal and inspire others just by being yourself.

    “A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.” – Zen Shin

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    • I love the quote you used. I also like when you talked about how wonderful it is to love yourself. “I believe that loving yourself isn’t conceit, its love. Love means acceptance, kindness, and care.”

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  15. I believe in self- confidence

    Sitting in front of the computer trying to put all the words I want to say into a 250 word blog difficult but here’s my best shot so here goes nothing . I was adopted when I was 8 years old, before that I had been in foster care, growing up in the foster care system straight out is terrible for anyone, but I believe its harder for the kids who were just babies when they were thrown into the system, I know your all probably thinking how is it worse your all in the same situation? well imagine yourself growing up knowing you have a brother and sister who you’ve never met, but somehow you already love them try growing up thinking you weren’t good enough for your parents that they just gave up and took the easy way out. that’s the type of stuff that takes big piece out of your self-confidence so when I finally was adopted I had little to no self- confidence, I thought my whole life that no one wanted me and , when I started school I was excited but I shortly grew to know that kids/ teenagers are really mean and don’t care if they hurt others feelings, so I became the weird new kid who had a weird child hood, when I became a freshmen in high school I told my self I was going to no longer be that kid , I told my self I’m not weird, yes I’m different but because of my childhood I’m stronger , from that day on I never let myself be torn down by people making fun of me or my past, and now 4 amazing years later here I am writing this a collage freshmen still living by those word. I don’t care if someone thinks I’m different or weird because I was in foster care or adopted , it just means I’ve had a few too many bumps in the road on my journey through life and there will be a ton more but ill keep learning and getting stronger, and never again let anyone tell me how I was supposed to grow up or how I’m weird because everyone is weird in there own way.

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  16. Feeling the tension between the keys and hearing the sweet melodies from the piano, made me fall in love with the music over and over again. Listening to this long piece of metal that produces a beautiful sound like magical horns playing, this windpipe instrument was full of charm- the clarinet. These instruments that make these gleaming sounds have changed my life since the day I was born.
    It was just a couple years ago, I was just thinking, “What are these instruments that produce this joyful sound?” I wondered whether instruments would be fun to learn. So I thought to myself, “What are the best instruments to play that have a nice feel to it?” One day, my friend played a song for me using his saxophone from his band. Then I could feel the joy coming from the instrument he was playing, and that it had different tones. This was when I thought to myself that playing or learning a musical instrument would be the right choice for me. Back in middle school, I was inspired by friends who did music where they joined the singing and music bands and I was thinking “If my friends can do it, why can’t I do the same thing,” However, my friends were more advanced than I was so I started to lose confidence in myself.
    After getting through these hard feelings about myself not being able to qualify playing an instrument, my music teacher came up to me and asked, “Tyrone, why aren’t you participating in music like your friends are?”
    I replied, “I did not think that I was that talented in playing an instrument.” She told me not to worry because everyone starts as an amateur, then moves up to being skilled. My music teacher motivated me and that is where it all started.
    It was November 15, 2013 when I had informed my parents that my school was having a music band class and was eager to join them. My mother asked, “What instrument would you like to play?”
    “The clarinet,” I replied. That was the first instrument I had ever played in middle school. After graduating from middle school and advancing to high school, I didn’t really think about doing music, just wanted to get the feel of high school, including making new friends.
    The day before, I would attend church every Sunday and would join the choir and participate in singing gospel songs. But one of my mother’s friend from the choir called me over and asked “Tyrone, Do you play the piano?”
    I replied saying, “No, I do not.” He sat down by the piano and started playing this flow of bass and high notes making them into some kind of music that was so passionate and would give you this understanding why music is so beautiful. Being a musician has shaped me into becoming a strong listener in music, hearing where to come in towards middle of the song and how to end the song with a certain note or chord. Although it may be hard to learn an instrument, I was glad that I pushed myself into becoming a better musician. That is what inspired me to play the piano until now. Playing the piano has given me so many strengths. Listening to and making music sound smooth, perfecting a beat when it comes to singing, are all strengths that I have gained from this instrument as I was learning how to read music and how to play every note according to the music book. Mostly, I have been attending music classes, been learning to mostly play gospel music on the piano. This instrument has given me much confidence to be able to play in church as part of the youth band. I am glad that instruments were the right choice for me to build skills and confidence.

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  17. Confidence isn’t a feeling ,a status or even a mood. Confidence is a tool. It’s like a pencil in the classroom or a key to a car. It’s a necessity like no other. Everyone possesses it but not everyone uses it. I believe in myself and i mean it. People in life tell you that you should believe in yourself but they only say it in times of weakness or in need. That’s not helpful it need to ve said even in times of greatness and achievement. That is how you speak something to existence. I use confidence to believe in myself that means i put myself up to challenge that i may not be able to overcome but me being confident helps me take on those challenges. This allows me to push myself to make commitments to thing i know will take me a lot of hard work to prove and achieve. I apply confidence in my everyday life because i have a speech disability that causes me to stutter as i talk. Although it not as bad as others like me it something that anyone might feel embarrassed or shameful of, cause its like you can hear yourself repeating something as if you want to talk but can’t find the words right when you need them. This has followed me all though put my life and there have been time when people even those close toe have made it into a joke. My speech impediment has helped formed who i am today and with confidence it makes me believe in myself. That i can do whatever i want to do at my paste and i’ll get there. If I Believe

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  18. I believe in trying to understand and contemplate your own identity. Culture, in addition to family traditions, is one of the factors that affect the self-identity of a person. When you think of African American, you usually think of someone just being black. Well, I’m African American, but I’m also literally African: my family is Sudanese. Having to appease both cultures while remaining true to myself used to feel like a chore. Do I not have the lingo and swagger my culture possesses? What can I do to avoid being judged before I can even open my mouth and share my thoughts? I was lost in this murky sea of confusion and I didn’t know what to believe. But I hadn’t noticed this burden initially. Not until I was forced out of my home at age eight. Not until the night my house burned down, displacing my family and me completely. From hotel to hotel, and eventually from family member to family member, we were forced to become freeloaders. And although my family didn’t seem to mind, I minded.
    Staying with my mom’s parents, I saw how much “real” Africans love worship. I remember being in the mosque and not knowing a word spoken. A mix of the Arabic and Swahili language took up the atmosphere, and I felt out of place and overwhelmed. The period that I had to stay with my father’s side of the family was a big transition. My father’s side of the family were the kind of Sudanese people who had integrated into society and had left behind their African roots. They were loud and proud, and I knew to be on my toes when in a room with them. But as time went on I had learned to perfect “code-switching.” The transition between both sides was a little more smooth, and I realized that I fit in both groups. Trying to fit into only one group wouldn’t be who I am. I gradually learned to embrace both. I love African fried dough called mandazi as much as I love the deep fried, unhealthy but amazing food my dad’s side of the family in Detroit would make. I learned to appreciate both my names: Ayman– which was assigned to me at birth and Rubia, my Sudanese tribal name, passed down to me from my grandfather, and passed on to him from previous ancestors.

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  19. You are not good enough, you cant do it, you are not worthy, you have no purpose. Im sure many of us have heard these set of words repeated to us multiple times. Some by colleagues, friends, teachers, parents, family members and many other people that are close to us, even as close as ourselves. If you don’t know what i mean by this, imagine looking in the mirror and seeing nothing but mistakes, regrets ,guilt. or even disgust. This is something called lack of self esteem, also known as an obstacle that seems impossible to overcome. In my case it is a battle I never thought I would win. I went from being my own bully to being my own hero. My tears became my strength and my self worth became my most valuable weapon. I was able to shoot down every negative thought or comment with just knowing who I am and my potential. At this point no one could tell me I wasn’t good enough because I knew I was. You cant do it became I already have! You are not worthy became I know my worth! And you have no purpose became i am my purpose! I believe knowing your self worth makes a person unstoppable. Many students hold themselves back from a world of opportunities simply because they become immune to running away from them, due to the fact that they second guess themselves because they don’t know what they are capable of in other words the don’t know there self worth.

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  20. You are all you have guaranteed for the rest of your life. People come and go; you have to accept that. I realize that is easier said than done. I and many others would describe myself as a dependent person. Social situations stress me out. I even get scared to talk to someone on the phone. Faking confidence did help me out in some scenarios, but there was always that fear. The fear that I am not good enough and I never will be. I beat myself up over mistakes I have made. “The art that I make is mediocre. There are people creating works that get confused with photographs.” Up until now, I have realized that it is not always about overcoming this part of yourself but accepting it. You may not be the best at what you do, but you still do it. That is admirable enough. The fact that you kept going even though a voice in your head was telling you to “give up.” People surprise themselves all the time, give yourself time to grow, and I am sure you will too. Don’t be distracted by physical features, whether it be on yourself or others. Our bodies are just the vessels for our souls; you shouldn’t let the look of it diminish your spirit. Beauty is within everyone. You need to find it yourself though. Allowing your true self to shine and practicing self-love techniques are the answers. You’re missing out on potential happiness by limiting yourself to the world. People that “fit in” are dying to be different, they are just scared of rejection. However, more good will come out of this change than bad. People will want to get to know the honest version of you. Who knows? You may even find your soulmate.

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  21. I don’t have a fancy motto to live by or a famous person who inspires me. No instead I have my family and of course my friends. To be honest I was a real shy and worrisome person in middle school who never really wanted to go out and do things because I was always too “embarrassed” to do it and most of the time I didn’t even know why I felt like that. I always felt distant from the world, from even my closest friend. I couldn’t stand it and when I first went into high school I thought that my world was dropping even lower. I had no one, that was until a year later when I met my best friend. She helped my break through that bubble, to go out into the world and explore. She gave me inspiration and feeling that I wasn’t alone any more. I became more outspoken and outgoing as the years went by. By the end of my senior year of high school she has given me the confidence to join clubs, volunteer at shelters and churches, and even inspired me to go into our national honors society program.
    I believe that everyone needs someone like this in their life no matter if they are a friend, family member, or even that random someone that met who will always be there to help and support you. That one person whom you can trust during the good days and the bad. Who will go on adventures or count satellites or just talk. I believe that if there is someone like that who is willing to be in your life and give you the confidence to do anything, then live every moment with them to its fullest and enjoy the beauty of this life.

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  22. The greatest challenge in life is being yourself in a world that tries to make you like everyone else. It’s human nature for us to want to be accepted by others. It drives most people to look the way they do, to like what they like, to be who they are, etc. As a society, we’re trendy. These norms conduct society in a way that cripples our individuality; our creativity, our expression, our confidence. Growing up, I felt that I had to fit this perfect image of what everyone else wanted me to be. I always supressed my passion for other things such as fashion, academics, and other “out of the norm” things for a young black kid in society. It came to the point where I changed the person I was. I would act stupid on purpose. I called kids gay for dressing nice or liking the things I liked on the inside. You lose your individuality trying to keep up with the norms. It gets to the point where you don’t recognize yourself anymore. We as humans need to love ourselves more. It’s what makes people stand out in crowds. It’s what lets us be who we want to be; no questions asked. I made the change to start being confident in who I am, expressing myself freely, loving myself to the point where I am in love with myself and it was the greatest decision I’ve ever made. It was the ultimate middle finger to society.

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  23. One of the biggest obstacles while living in a generation heavily influenced by the media is loving and accepting who you are. From a very young age we’ve seen images on how we’re supposed to look, act, dress etc. The older we get the more impact these expectations have on us, at least until a certain age. After many years of struggling with insecurities, bully and loving myself I’ve decided to put societies expectations aside and focus on loving and accepting myself for who I am. I believe society should’ve never been given the power to set certain expectations in the first place. For many years I tried very hard to fulfil the expectations just, so I could feel beautiful. Until I realized that it wasn’t what I wanted, why did I have to work hard to change my appearance? Why can’t I be accepted for who I am? And most importantly why has It been so hard to accepted that this is me. Once I decided to accept myself and my flaws, selflove and self-appreciation just came along. The process of getting to that point was rough, many skipped meals, anxiety and depression. To think that all of that happened because I was trying to fulfill someone else’s expectations is very overwhelming. But I’m very proud and happy with who I am and the way I look. Don’t let society tell you who you should be. Love and appreciate yourself just how you are.

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  24. I question many things in this life, but then again I also believe In many things. People, ideas, family, and self confidence are all things I believe in. mainly I believe in believing in yourself. Everyone needs support, the feeling of being believed in. When others will not believe in you, you must believe in yourself. It could be supporting ideas you have, or just making it through good times, bad times, high points, low points, just believe in yourself. Keep telling yourself “I can do this, I will make it through”, if you believe those words there is very little you can’t achieve. There are many examples of this in life. It could be a stereotypical story of someone coming up from poor and ending up rich and famous due to self confidence and support. Or it could be believing that you can earn that award/scholarship, dropping that extra weight, or even making it through a big loss in your life. Basically, be self confident, I believe in self confidence. There were points in my life where I didn’t believe in myself, I had very little self confidence. Certain events came into my life that changed me, made me feel better and better about myself. it was almost like a spark, a spark that started a fire. That little bit of self confidence gave me the strength to talk to new people, introduce myself, and it was the real me. the self confidence inside rose more and more to the point I’m at now. All it took was me slowly testing waters and going a little bit out of my comfort zone occasionally. I am incredibly happy with who I am and I think most people like this outgoing, extraverted, “out to make people laugh and smile” type personality. I believe in myself. I strongly encourage others to the same I did. Be yourself, believe in yourself. People will like you and if they don’t it doesn’t matter because you will find people who do, you just have to start by believing in yourself. Take the initiative to be the person you want to be. You don’t have to fall into standards, people love originality.

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  25. There are two paths many people choose growing, being a leader or a follower. Everyone has been in this position at some point in their life. I have a lot of experience being a follower, which really is not a good thing. It takes away any originality you have about yourself and you are constantly trying to be someone your not. Going through middle school and about half of high school, I was always trying to fit in with others in my grade. I grew up with a big yard and animals, and doing things outside most of the time. In my school, no one was the same and I found myself dressing different then I normally would and spending less time on the things i enjoy doing the most. Once I hit senior year in high school, it was like I broke through a wall. I stopped trying to look like everyone else, and if i did a little, I did not care. I dressed the way I liked to and stopped doing things that seemed pointless and focused on the idea of living life to make it the best for myself. I got out of being a follower because being a follower was easy. It makes you shy and not willing to put yourself out there, which is the best part of life. Once you decide to be yourself and be true to that, you will enjoy everything more. Life can be difficult and people will hurt you or help you emotionally, but putting yourself out there and exposing yourself to these experiences helps you grow and become a better person. I regret some things I have down or am upset with how things happened, but I would not be the person I am today if such instances had not happened, and i am grateful for that. Being a follower is just wasting time to enjoy life, lead your life where you want it to take you, be confident in who you are and try to be the best you can be everyday.

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  26. Growing up in two different households (because my parents are divorced), was very tough on me, a child who was very close to both her parents. The initial shock when my brother and I moved away from my father, was not an easy one to deal with. I barely saw my dad for the first couple months of their divorce and it hurt me mentally growing up. I grew up with depression, and I later developed anxiety throughout my teenage years and am still struggling with it now. Watching my mother try to raise two children by herself with no job or motivation, helped me in developing my mindset today. Self reliance is something I feel very strongly about. I never want to be the mother or wife of someone who can’t provide for themselves. If any emergency occurs, I want to be able to help in any way I can, whether that be financially or emotionally. Watching my mom struggle, has made me realize I never want to go through what she did. It ends up causing too much stress and can really damage anyones life. Self reliance and self love are two of the most important things anyone can have. If you can’t rely on yourself you can’t expect others to rely on you, and the same thing goes for love. The feeling of being able to rely and love yourself is like nothing else you can feel. It feels amazing to know that you rely and love yourself.

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  27. I’ve always had self-esteem issues. I don’t remember how old I was when I started to question the way I looked. But I know for a fact it was really bad around seventh grade. I would look at other people and think “I wish I was as pretty as them.” I dealt with that for a long time, I still do deal with that today from time to time. It’s not as bad as it was before, but I still have days where I don’t even want to look at myself in the mirror because I’m afraid of what I’ll look like.

    Another part about self-esteem issues that I deal with more severely than I ever have with my looks, is how I act. It may seem silly, but my personality is the hardest thing to deal with everyday. I’m always in constant fear that I’m being annoying, or I’m gonna say something that for whatever reason offends someone. I’m afraid to say my opinion on something because I know that even though in my head I know why my opinion is the way that it is, but if someone tries to question my opinion, I won’t be able to say anything. I just feel so powerless.

    There has never been a day where I have been confident in everything I do. I’ll wake up everyday and eight times out of ten, I’ll know I look good. But everyday, even when I wake up and I know that I look good, I’ll feel helpless when it comes to how I act. I go throughout the day saying sorry to everyone, even when I know it isn’t my fault.

    Now that college is starting, I want to be able to saying something or do something without getting anxious that someone will either judge me or say something to me. I don’t want to feel powerless. I want to have self confidence in a way that isn’t just about how I look. I want to be able to love myself.

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    • I hope you are able to learn self love and i hope starting college will help you understand and realize that you are never alone. I’m always here for you, Alexis. ❤

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  28. Let me start by saying that I like kids. They’re usually cute, and occasionally funny. The way they see and interact with the world is fresh, and they bring a lot of joy to a lot of people’s’ lives.
    But just because I like something, doesn’t mean I want to force it on other people, or that I want it for myself. I am staunchly pro-choice, which means that people should have the right to choose whether or not to prematurely terminate a pregnancy- no ifs, ands, or buts, no catches or loopholes.
    I believe in choice in general. In a (supposedly) free country like the one we live in, we all make our own choices in our lives, and nobody should be able to interfere with that. Just because I’m a fertile woman doesn’t mean I will for sure someday have children- that’s for me to decide, and me only. I believe that everyone deserves free reign of their own destinies, free from the shackles of class and ethnicity, sex and appearance. Just about everybody has the chance to be great, if only they have the freedom to make the choices that are right for them.

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    • I worked at a daycare and it is so crazy to see the way that kids react to things like gender identification and sexuality

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  29. I didn’t always believe in self-reliance. I thought the best way to get something was to chase it, but I relied on others to help me chase my desires. It always seemed like a race I was incapable of finishing because relying on others held me back. Everyone knows there is no ‘I’ in team, but not many are aware ‘I’ is much more relevant. Learning to rely on your self is more relevant than relying on other people. Relying on others makes you forget yourself and who you are. It’s cliché really, so many of us go through that point in our lives where we rely on others to define ourselves, either because we are lost, or because we have never found who we actually are. I spent so much time in high school relying on others to define me. I was letting minuscule comments and thoughts determine who I was, or who I wanted to be. Constantly wearing a façade suppresses who we really are. Therefore, I questioned, ‘why do we get a rush of dopamine from a like or comment on a meaningless social media post?’ Why are we constantly trying to cater our inferior or fake selves to others? The answer is simple, we rely on others to define us and we are infatuated with what they think. My infatuation with what they thought consumed me. I thought my friends were running the race with me but sadly I was just running with people that were never there. I was running alone. Now, I believe self-reliance is one of the most valuable things. I tried to rely on other people to define who I was and who I should be and it was time poorly spent. After my high school commencement, I looked around and pondered. All I had was myself. While in high school, I superfluously valued what my “friends” thought. I felt as if I had to adapt to them in every situation. Once high school was over, no one’s opinion mattered anymore and I had no one to define me. It was liberating, allowing myself to be whoever I wanted to be and defining myself. I believe self-reliance has made me a happier person. I know that being the best version of myself is all I need and that my definition of who I am is most accurate. It may not impress everyone and it may not win me the race every time but I never said it was about winning the race; I said it was about finishing the race. Relying on myself most certainly got me to that finish line and instead of having meaningless commentary run the race with me I just left it behind. However, I always keep those who mean well and are important to me close. They are my audience; they’re always there when I need them but they also allow me to run free and define myself.

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  30. I believe in the power of attitude. Growing up, my dad always told me that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. Of course, being just a little girl hearing this, the meaning flew right over my head. However, as I grow older, I am able to fully understand the importance of the message. Attitude became powerful in my life when I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 13. My initial reaction to this life change was extremely negative. I thought it was the end of the world; I did not have the motivation to take care of myself and I was very angry that this had to happen to me. It took me a few months, and a lot of tears, before I was able to see clearly and remember what my dad had told me about attitude. I realized I was making myself miserable because of how I was reacting to the situation that was handed to me. I started to change my way of thinking in order to have a more positive attitude. Instead of thinking “why me?”, I began to be grateful that it did happened to me. People have it way worse than I do. Instead of thinking “my body is weak,” I did everything in my power to become strong. I took care of my health, physically and mentally. If people make the effort to have a positive attitude, even in negative situations, life would be a lot happier. I believe in the power of attitude because it is a small change that can make a big difference.

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    • I love this statement. I felt the exact same way when I was diagnosed with endometriosis. A positive attitude can really make a difference; it is so important. I wish everyone was able to have a positive outlook on life.

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  31. Throughout our childhood we are told that being different is good; that we should stand out from everyone else. “Be a leader, not a follower.” But being different is extremely hard. When you are not identical to everyone around you, you are a target. This is a heavy burden. Feelings of shame, fear, and anxiety wash over you and it can feel like you are drowning. I have a speech impediment. Growing up, I would try to hide my voice. I yearned to not be noticed because when my voice was heard, it would trigger teasing and mimicking from others. These hurtful words made me feel paralyzed; like I could no longer move forward in life.

    I believe it is time that we all embrace what makes us different. We cannot allow our fear of what others will think or say, hold us back. I believe we should all be accepting of our peers; we should be openminded to new things and new people. I do not want anyone else to feel the shame I felt when I was growing up. I have learned to accept myself, I believe that my voice is beautiful. But I also believe that self-confidence can be a constant struggle. We should be lifting others up; not tearing each other down. I believe at some point in the future we will live in a world where being different, truly is good

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  32. l believe in independence and optimism. From a young age l was left to figure out almost everything on my own. l would constantly get frustrated every time my friends parents helped them do a task and l was left to figure it out on my own. As l got older, l stopped letting myself get frustrated and l began to figure out everything l needed to on my own. It often took hours of troubleshooting, guessing and checking, and so on but l would eventually succeed and that feeling of completion would always satisfy me so deeply. Yes, l struggled with so many tasks and situations that were thrown at me, but each time l was able to complete something new l took away a bit of knowledge with me. Knowledge is also extremely valuable to me. l have built up most of my knowledge by learning new things as l go through life. The knowledge you acquire outside of school normally helps you get further in life then the knowledge you acquire in school because you taught it to yourself rather than having it taught to you. On that note, l like to look at all the tough circumstances I’ve been in as lessons because l have prospered through each and every obstacle and came out with not only success, but with strategies and tactics to navigate future road-blocks. With that, comes my optimism. Growing up l used to think so negatively about everything because l truly believed life was not fair to me. Once l realized life just is not fair at all, my outlook improved immensely. l now look at the glass half full instead of half empty because l know that with my brain and with the knowledge l have acquired that l can complete anything and everything l need to, even if l have to struggle a little. There is beauty in my struggle, and in everyone else’s. God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers and l feel blessed that he trusted me to be one of his strong soldiers. l try to satisfy not only myself, but the Lord in every tribulation l go through. God has helped me through so much just by the power of prayer and that has helped to improve my positivity as well. God helped show me to always believe in myself.

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  33. I believe in self-love and self-confidence. I just remember during middle school I would cry every night while picking out an outfit for the next day. I would hate waking up every morning and getting dressed for school. I hated myself. I would come home and compare myself to all the skinny girls in my class. I didn’t understand why everyone was always happy and having a good time while I put on my fake smile and went on with my day.
    Entering high school, I was a little nervous going in. I didn’t think I was going to make any friends, I didn’t think any boys were going to want to talk to me; I was so worried that it was going to be middle school all over again, even though people say high school is the best four years of your life. As high school went on, my anxiety about school started to go away and I realized that I can talk out loud in class, and no one is going to make fun of me. I can wear what I want and don’t have to worry about what people think of me, I love myself and thats what matters. Everyone is different and every person should be accepted with no exceptions. If you feel poorly about yourself, you are the only one who can change that. It doesn’t matter what race you are, what your sexuality is, or what you look like, everyone should know they are loved, but you have to start by loving yourself.

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  34. I believe in being confident in your endeavors. When I was younger I was extremely shy. For fear of being judged I didn’t like to participate in class, use the phone, or talk to people who weren’t close friends. The worst part was I had a fear of talking to adults that caused me to be extremely quiet, stutter, and forget what I wanted to say. Over time this task became easier but I still had trouble. By the end of my junior year of high school I was still a quiet kid who would never raise his hand, and would always sit in the back. It was my senior year when I got a new job that things started to change. I had two bosses and coworkers that I had to regularly speak with. Eventually after about 2 months I started to become more comfortable talking and I used my new connections to get my four best friends jobs with me. It was after one of them had the idea that we should build a boat entirely out of wine corks that my fears started to fade. I worked at a restaurant that sold wine so it seemed feasible. Collecting off tables wasn’t enough and according to my friends I had to be the one that asked if the bar could collect for us because I worked there for longer. This was the first time I had to ask “Can we have your corks for a boat” and I was surprised to receive a yes. It was still not even close to enough so I suggested we reach out to another restaurant in the plaza, but no one else would do it so I asked again. We received another yes! This helped with my fears but it was complicated and it didn’t really work out how it should’ve later on. Eventually it was suggested we look into asking wholefoods for their cork recycle. 124 corks from the first one. They claimed the bag was barely full so we decided to take a trip to a bunch of them. The second one we went to had 500 corks. Then 2,000 corks, 4,000 corks, 1,500 corks, and each place I had to talk to customer service. We started to work on construction but we needed more. Three of us called six wholefoods each, we visited sixteen of them, and at most of them I did the talking. 20,000 corks total was enough. After talking to random strangers over and over again about a wine cork boat, whether on the phone or in person, I moved past my fear. Even if what you are saying or doing is wrong people are almost always kind enough to point you in the right direction. We received various tips and pointers on engineering or where to acquire parts from people who didn’t even know us, so why not try?

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  35. I believe that taking responsibility for one’s own actions is the cornerstone of being an adult. This is a lesson that took me several years to learn. Just a few years ago, I was far too proud and egocentric to accept that any fault could be my own no matter the situation. Apologizing was a foreign concept. Instead, I would brush the blame to something else, or worse, someone else.

    As a self-centered middle schooler, I callously thought, “Why would I accept the blame? It wasn’t my fault: I’m perfect.”

    My narcissistic way of thinking could have put strain on every relationship that I hold dear if I didn’t begin to mean these simple words, “I’m sorry”. It is never enough to give a hollow, insincere apology like those that I had up until then. Those words are meant to always be backed up with a promise of future growth, and care in thought and action; when that promise is broken, the words are simply useless.

    I believe that a meaningful, “I’m sorry” could save a friendship that very well may last a lifetime. For most people, apologies are not easy, especially when you feel as if you’ve been wronged. However, in this situation, it’s even more important to recognize the need to apologize and to mend any ill will. Otherwise, resentment may fester and create an untenable relationship, simply because one of you was too proud to make amends. Apologizing requires speaking from the heart, and the commitment to lasting change. Words alone are insufficient; they must be followed by meaningful actions.

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  36. It’s strange. Everything up until now, I was left in wonder. From the beginning, I was taught to learn to believe the words told to you. Even though they were lies, they were engraved to me as the truth. I learned to despise myself, hate myself for being who I was. Self-love has always been something important in my life. We learn to blame ourselves for the mistake we never created. We learn to hate ourselves. Despite all this, we want to live and learn about what it means to live. What it means to love yourself. If you can’t love yourself by yourself, then others can help you to love yourself.
    When people are alone, they know nothing about love or hatred, but when we’re with others, we can only learn so much until who choose the path that could either give us happiness or suffering. The need of helping others is something that I always had. This immense feeling of lightheartedness because I can make someone smile. That warm feeling that you experience in your chest from making someone happy, knowing that you have contributed to their happiness. It’s moments like those where I call them beautiful. Loving yourself is difficult because you have to accept yourself first. But, I want many others to know that they are beautiful the way they are, that it is okay to accept themselves. I want others to know that even if they are struggling, they are not alone.
    It’s easier said than done, self love is the hardest thing to achieve. But I want to be that person to help others know that loving yourself is important, slowly but surely. Even myself, I am acknowledging and accepting all the flaws I have. I want to become a better person, and I’m still learning.

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  37. I believe that facades rule the world. We hide ourselves in the shadow of our actor,those personalities we wish others to see, poking a finger or two into the light every now and again just to be burned and to recede back into the darkness. We let out our entertainers in public for all to see, these beautiful people with no imperfections, their opinions muffled and their beliefs stored away for the time being. But, there are those who live in the light, who are not afraid of being burned, those who have stored their star away and may never use them again. Those are the people that I believe everyone should follow. These pioneers of opinion and crusaders of voices venture through our tough landscape belting their voices about what should be and what can be to represent those who peek beyond the shoulder of their actors. These are the apostles of change who wish for the whole world to see their imperfections. These are the Templars of judgement who fight for their right to jump into the light and towards the sun. In time, the war over imperfections will be over, and those in the light will have prevailed. We may finally leave the somberness of our fake personalities and express our true selves to the world and live life as it was meant to be lived. Many battles will be lost, but the war will be won and the light will gleam over everyone equally.

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  38. My life was full of abuse and negativity.
    As I got older I began to recognize the issues my parents were dealing with. They’ve always been separated for as long as I can remember. I only saw my father on the weekends and spent the other five days with my mother. She was in constant failing abusive relationships, and I dreamed of living with my father to escape the hurt at home. I never thought it would happen and spent years trying to convince him to legally separate me from my mother, while she was throwing all her pain towards me for wanting to leave like all her partners were. I took my anger out on my body for wanting to abandon her, but I didn’t realize it was my environment and mother influencing me to blame myself for her agony. She soon understood my suffering and let me go.
    Last year in September I managed to move in with my father, something I never expected to happen. My life is constantly changing now, and I can see it. Nothing stays the same, and there is always room to grow. I’m surrounded by people who love me now and I’m truly happy. Being stuck in a negative place or time can feel like a hole that’s impossible to climb out of, but change is real. I am proof. Believing in change has helped me to become strong and see life in a positive light. Believing in change saved my life.

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  39. I deeply believe in the power of oversharing.
    Anecdotally, I’m the type of person who always picks truth when playing ‘truth or dare’. As a reserved, insecure kid, my drive to share what I was feeling and examine my own identity was intense. Some of my tendency to overanalyze has aided me in examining my gender and sexuality, as well as identifying and working through anxiety. As aspects of my identity have developed, and I have struggled with some experiences, discussing these things more casually has helped me process some things so that they didn’t remain a large concern. My relative comfort with joking about my own internal and familial conflicts is also an indicator to others that they can share their experiences with me without judgement. The occasions when friends have come to me to talk about questioning their identity, or working on their mental health, have been valuable reflective experiences. Though this usually just means listening thoughtfully, and occasionally pointing someone in the direction of resources to help answer their questions, having another person trust you to help them puzzle through their experience is an honor every time. And these occasions usually come about because I run my mouth about being anxious and gay to the people I’m close to.

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  40. I believe in dreams. Dreams create passions. Dreams create aspirations. Dreams create the desire to love and be loved. I remember when we were kids we used to run around and play. Pretending, dreaming of being astronauts, ballerinas, mermaids, anything we wanted to be. But now, going into my freshman year of college I’ve noticed something–most people don’t dream anymore–they don’t remember what it was like to run around and chase our dreams like we did when we were kids. They don’t remember because from the day we could understand societal standards, the media, and everything people tell us we have been told to think practically– don’t do this, don’t do that, that isn’t realistic–we have been told our dreams will not make us successful in this world. But I don’t believe that dreamers aren’t successful; I believe they are the most successful and fulfilled people in this world. I am a dreamer myself. For as long as I can remember I have always dreamt of making a difference in this world. I have never wanted to be just another person living on this planet. I dream of a life with purpose. One where I can affect other people in this world. I also dream of feeling loved and following my passions. For me, this passion comes in the form of being creative in my life which is in the arts. I never thought I would actually pursue it until I realized that I actually could and that I really wanted to. For the past year and a half, one of my dreams has come true. I have felt loved, I have been in love. I’m the happiest I have been in my entire life. My dreams have helped me realize who I am and who I want to be.

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  41. As a Caucasian, american, girl born and raised in the United States, I have been given the utmost opportunities to flourish. Being from a small town in Rhode Island, I felt like a big fish in a small pound able to accomplish anything I set out to do. Until I grew up. I then saw that there were in fact, forty nine other states with almost seven billion people inhabiting this world! I believe that everyone should feel comfortable and assured in their own shoes. Us as humans need to start building each other up, instead of tearing each other down. Confidence is key in a world of insecure and timid people. Confidence can set the tone in many different environments. This characteristic can be how people obtain jobs, gain the eye of a future spouse’s, and so on. Self love and self confidence is extremely lacking in today’s society. At times it can be challenging to love yourself when there are others out there that you may think are prettier, more intellectual, better at sports, etc. However, as my mom always told me, “until you value and love yourself, how can others?” Opinions are everywhere. The only opinion that matters is your own. Step out of your comfort zone and break the rules of conformity. It’s the twenty first century and times have changed. Gay marriage is legal, transgender people have stood up for their rights, people of diverse color now have their voice in congress and in general. It’s time people stop judging and criticizing others and we come together as a whole. Carpe diem, as they say, because life is short and should be spent in ways that make us happy. The first step in constructing a better more accepting world is to love yourself and the rest will be a breeze.

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  42. Painting in the Summer
    Muhammad Moonis
    Date 07/28/2018

    I believe that painting can make your life timeless and infinite.
    Through the course of my life I have always believed the having a hobby can make time travel fast and sometimes, slow it down to the infinite. Through the ups and downs, one always seeks balance in life. For me having painting as a hobby was that equilibrium which kept me pushing forward. Being raised in a society where art held no value, to believe in yourself would always derail my self confidence. I believed painting was equivalent to reading a science book whereas science would encourage me to study about the stars and the heaven in between, painting that image would give me a reason to look up.
    Through the toughest of times and the happiest, that empty canvas could show me all the possibilities of life. I saw through that empty canvas the stretched out life that I had lived. From being born in a poor family to my mother’s divorce. From my brother’s departure to Australia on a scholarship to us getting a new house and moving to United States.
    Through it all, painting made time stretch for me where every bad moment was contracted and shortened while every good moment became infinite. It felt organic. This hobby nourished my thoughts and nurtured my imagination. A solace that often comforted my childhood. I remember painting my grandmother’s hand, three days prior to her death. I remember painting that church that laid right before the shelter home where we stayed for three days. I remember drawing that plane on which we arrived in United States. I am not sure if I drew the right one, but I did.
    In conclusion I strongly believe that having a hobby is thought constructive activity that sometimes provides equity of thought and focus. Hence we should all have an activity in life as such.

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  43. Ever since July 4th of this year I have been on a path of self realization and self discovery. This path all began with doing my 2nd annual running with the American flag as I did the year before. However this year was different from last year because I now am an adult, but not only had I became an adult my story was going to be broadcasted on the news. As I was running I saw faces of individuals with great happiness as they cheered me on and even stopped to talk to me. After a while I truly realized that I wasn’t just running to promote patriotism, or to make other people happy, but that I was also running for myself. I wasn’t running for any sort of personal gain or anything but I did gain a sense of self worth after running for 8 miles on the 3rd and another 8 miles on the 4th. I realized that I have the power to do good in my community and for the world and all that it takes is going out there and doing something. I realized that I didn’t have to be a celebrity or a politician to make a positive impact on the world, I just had to be myself and get out there. For everyone that questions what they are worth, just remember you set that value for yourself it is how you feel and I know not every situation can be changed instantaneously, but you can make a change in your own life all it takes is action. Not every positive impact on your life has to be major, because if you truly think about it, it is the little victories throughout life that amount to the big wins. I know that I can do great things for the world and that I can truly make a major positive impact, all that I needed was a push.

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  44. Something I believe in dearly is creativity. More specifically, imagination and how there truly holds no bounds to ones creative mind. A person once told me “If you love your job, you will never have to work a day in your life.” I often pondered on this thought and how I could find something that I enjoy, and if it was really ever possible to ever morph it into a career. What I realized in 9th grade was my imagination was always there. I often would create stories of my own, writing of endless adventures of fictional people. That year, I took a step further and decided I wanted to make something, a world, as big as Lord Of the Rings or Star Wars. Although it began like a feeling of being lost in the woods, after a while of making maps and stories, then putting them together like pieces of a puzzle, I learned not only am I capable of creating something amazing, but all of us are actually born with such creative minds that truly anything can be made. I continued on and have never stopped for years, even today ideas come into my head as small as a little shift, to ideas that could change the entire spectrum of the realm my story dwells in. What really helped my imagination was that it never left from when I was a child. Everyone has memories of playing with sticks pretending their being knights or pirates or anything that differs who they truly are. Most people tune their creativity as art or enginuity, yet as for me creating a story has been my calling.

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  45. Life has been a rollercoaster, that definitely one thing I can say about life. Filled with many high times where you’ll enjoy the ride and low times where you’ll scream from some bumps you’ll hit. For a while, it feels like there have been more lows for me. Starting high school, I walked in with high hopes with high school life. Sadly high school wasn’t what I hoped it would be. Many of what ills me today started in high school. My self-esteem and self-confidence aren’t at it best but it’s getting better. Life is filled with hard struggles and some of those struggles might take a bit of time to get over but in the end, you’ll grow ever stronger cause of those struggles. I’ve learned a lot from my own struggles and finding out more about who I am and who I want to be. The road is gonna be a long one but hopefully, I will come out more self-confident and more self-reliant.

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  46. Self-love and self-confidence are two goals in life that can take some people months, or even years, to gain. Sometimes, people don’t even get to that point where they can say they truly believe in who they are and are 100% confident. When it comes to me, I know that I haven’t reached that point yet where I can say I completely love myself after years of trying, and I truly believe society plays some sort of role in that. I’ve always struggled with finding confidence in my looks and my weight for as long as I can remember. Now, I wouldn’t say that I’m fat or anything extreme, but I’m also not the “skinny” that seems to be most desired these days. Everyday, you can go on social media and find models that are stick-thin and absolutely beautiful, and you will find girls aspiring to be them and wishing they had their bodies. Not only will it be models that people can see, but it’s all over Twitter and Instagram too. And I feel like constantly seeing these things, there’s always a constant comparison, and that’s not healthy. People, men and women, naturally compare themselves to others, and it can do some serious damage to how they view themselves and their appearances. Also, I feel like a lot of the times, there are unrealistic expectations placed upon women and how they’re “supposed” to look. Today, it seems as though the ideal look most men find appealing is the big butt, big boobs, tiny waist, and strong curves, but that’s just not realistic to want every woman to look like that. I’m always seeing on social media the term “thick” being thrown around as desirable and sexy, but if the woman is “too thick” or on the heavier side in a somehow less attractive way, then they’re not seen as beautiful. It may be just me that feels as though society can be detrimental on a person’s confidence, but with society comes a lot of comparisons, expectations, and unrealistic goals. Everybody is beautiful just as they are no matter their body type and weight, and sometimes I feel as though society doesn’t spread that around enough and makes it difficult for people to realize that.

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  47. I used to overthink everything I did. I was afraid to raise my hand to ask questions in fear of my classmates thinking me stupid. I refused to openly smile in family photos because I thought my old braces were ugly. I hated trying anything new in fear I would fail and embarrass myself, despite failure being an essential part of life. And when I did fail in life, I hounded myself with negative thoughts about it, and how it would affect my future.

    Now, I’m trying to live with a new concept of who really cares. Who really cares if I mess up a word in a sentence? Everyone’s done it, carry on. Who has the time and energy to point out something so minute and meaningless in the grand scheme of things? I know I don’t anymore. All those past failures, all of which I thought would haunt me forever, lost their impact the day they happened, and it took me until recently to realize that. So what if I didn’t do something new perfectly, it was my first try, I’ll get better at it.

    Now I believe in not stressing over the little things in life, and learning to let go of silly things that hold you back. I believe in not being afraid to take certain risks, because even if not everything goes to plan, at least you put yourself out there with your best effort.

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    • Hi Colin, I wanted to let you know that I have been there so I know what its like to feel insecure, but the way you described your new carefree and vivacious attitude towards the world is really inspiring. I too believe that we should live and not have to worry about what other people think or how it would effect our future. I believe that we should pay more attention to the here and the now instead of the past or too much of the future. Also, still think about the future a little though its always good to have some kind of plan.

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  48. Self-confidence seems so simple and easy to say, but to have it within yourself means everything. Every girl struggles with her hair. It’s either too thick, too thin, too short too long etc. I’ve came a long way to truly love my natural self and appreciate my coils and curls that God gave me. Growing up, I was taunted for having thicker hair, sure I would always be told that i’m beautiful, but it was very hard to believe that when all my friends at school and the kids on TV had straighter hair. As young females we struggle everyday to look our best and feel our best, but its so stressful, and self contradicting to feel beautiful when every time you go on social media there’s an image of what beauty is. “Beauty” isn’t everything, it all starts from inside. My point is, once you start to be your true self and appreciate those coils, loose curls, tight curls, bone straight, wavy hair type or any other kind of imperfections, then you will begin to have self love. You will start to feel beautiful on your own without having to be told. Just trust in your abilities and knowledge believe in your capabilities and you will gain self-confidence.
    Don’t let society determine your beauty or let you question your own persona, because beauty has nothing to do with your true personality. Now I help people who are insecure or trying to find themselves, I’m a very good listener because I’ve had my own bump in the road.

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  49. I am considered a rather easygoing type of guy. As my father has told me on multiple occasions, I have never been afraid to be me. I would always do my own thing, and I have never been afraid of doing so. I have always been true to myself, and I’ve never tried to be something that I’m not. I respect those who try to change, if they feel that they aren’t right for themselves, but I have always done what I liked, and I like doing what I do. My hobbies have kept my interest, and if I happen to find more, than all the power to me.

    I like to think that my interests are varied. I’ve done many things in my life, and stopped when I didn’t like them. I’ve played baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, and gaelic football. Practicing Karate was one of my favorites. I made it to second degree brown belt, but unforseen circumstances prevented me from going all the way. I play the base guitar, which coincides with my love of music. I wanted to learn after watching the Beatles Help movie. I read alot, from novels, to manga, to , more recently, fanfiction. That last one spikes great interest with me. I love the original works they’re based on, but sometimes I like to see what someone else thought the story should go. And many of them turn out to be exceptionally well thought out.

    I play video games, daily if I can. I have collected Magic the Gathering. I walk almost every day, if I can. I draw, I write, I’ve built with legos, i watch anime and Youtube, I basically keep discovering new things about myself every day. And the one thing I’ve discovered is something I feel that everyone should try to discover for themselves, at some point in their lives. Just be you. There is only one of you in this world….Unless you’re twins.

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  50. I believe self-love is the hardest, yet most gracious attribute one can obtain. In a world where we are constantly judged, it is easy to find ourselves indulging in the opinions of others. Often we take the opinions of our peers for facts and true reflections of our nature, when in reality the opinions of others are actually based on their own personal views and values. My own journey down the road of self-love began as a pre-teen. For years, I was told my nose is too big, the gap in-between my teeth is too wide, or my hair was too tangled to be considered pretty. The overwhelming weight of personal insecurities made it seem almost impossible to reach the level of self-love deemed acceptable in society. When I was fourteen years old, I cut off most of my hair and gave myself a mini makeover to try and boost my confidence. Unfortunately, this didn’t work because I put too much pressure on myself to be perfect and ended up doing more damage than good. With time, I found myself in a position to begin accepting my flaws. I went from hating everything about myself to embracing my enthusiastic, sassy, and outgoing persona. It took many years of self-hate, tears, and start overs to pave a sturdy path on my journey to success. All in all, self-love allows for someone to truly decipher their own nature based on their own values. With this, we choose to appreciate and cherish ourselves to a degree that amplifies the content of a person with who they truly are regardless of portrayal.

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