By Daniela Hernandez
Throughout your life there will always be people who pressure you to look and act a certain way. There may be people who try to instill in you that you are not good enough. Unfortunately, a lot of the times, those people are also those closest to you.
My mom has worked in a beauty salon for more than 14 years. I’m 19 now, which means I pretty much spent my childhood and teenage years growing up around models and beauty queens. I would constantly obsess about looking like them.
But when puberty hit, I started gaining weight. While I didn’t necessarily think I was fat, many people around me thought that I was and they kept commenting on it. I, too, began to think I wasn’t skinny enough and my self-esteem started slowly deteriorating. Things got really dark for me for a while. I always tried to portray to others that I was strong and confident, when in reality I was a mess inside.
My breaking point was when I actually attempted to throw up my food once. That’s when I stepped back and realized what I was actually doing to myself. After that day, I wanted to act a bit nicer to myself. I started researching tips to help me with my self-esteem and started following body positive blogs.
As I gained confidence, I started submitting outfit posts to different plus size fashion blogs. People responded well, so I finally decided to start my own blog — something I had wanted to do for a long time but never had the courage to.
When I first started my blog, my main focus was fashion and posting outfits. But as soon as I started getting messages from girls saying how much I inspired them to love themselves. That’s when I realized that my blog was meant to bring bigger and better things to girls like me. I realized I could help others. I started posting the same tips that once helped me get through all the hatred that I felt towards myself and the responses were overwhelming. Here are 20 tips that helped me rebuild my confidence and self-esteem.
20 Tips to Build Your Confidence
1. Be true to yourself
Live your life doing what feels right to you, not what someone else thinks you should do. It’s okay to listen to advice, but in the end, make the decision that feels best for you. Being a people pleaser is a very frustrating way to live. Get in the habit of pleasing yourself. You are responsible for your own happiness. Your feelings are important.
2. Change your mental diet
Read uplifting books. Listen to uplifting tapes and CDs and attend uplifting workshops. What you focus on expands. What you put your attention on becomes more real. So focus on what you want to create, on what makes you happy. Don’t focus on negativity. Avoid whiners and complainers. Walk away.
3. Stop comparing yourself to others
You are not supposed to be like anyone else. You are you. You are the only one who can be you. Your perspectives, gifts and value are exclusively yours. You are a unique expression. Revel in it! If you want something to measure yourself by, compare how you were yesterday to how you are today.
4. Create positive affirmations about yourself.
Post them about your home. Say them often and out loud.
When you try to improve yourself, you start from a belief that there is something wrong with you that needs to be fixed. Each improvement leads to the need for still more improvements. Instead, start with your strengths, your talents, the gifts you were given. Then develop and foster these talents.
6. Give credit where credit is due.
If you’ve done something really good, and people compliment you on it, accept the compliments with thanks! Understand that they’re complimenting because they really ARE impressed with what you’ve done.
7. Try something new.
When you break out of your comfort zone and try something you haven’t before you, not only do you challenge yourself, but you expand your own limitations and your confidence in your own abilities. By continuously trying something new, you can also lessen your fears and live a life with less barriers and limitations.
8. Keep a positive crowd.
The people you hang out with can either drag you down or lift you up. Since we spend so much of our time with other people it’s important to keep positive – or at least reasonably neutral – people around you as much as you can. One or a few negative people can affect you in a big way – perhaps through nagging – and pull you down day after day.
9. Fake it till you make it.
This may sound like it wouldn’t work, like you are just making things up and lying to yourself. But sometimes we need to pretend in order to change our thought patterns. If you don’t feel confident, fake it and play the part of how you would think and behave if you were confident. Soon you’ll really start to feel confident. That part becomes real.
10. Compliment other people.
When we think negatively about ourselves, we often project that feeling on to others in the form of insults and gossip. To break this cycle of negativity, get in the habit of praising other people. Refuse to engage in backstabbing gossip and make an effort to compliment those around you. In the process, you’ll become well-liked and build self confidence. By looking for the best in others, you indirectly bring out the best in yourself.
11. Wash yourself in positive memories.
It’s a common habit to let previous failures and bad experiences wash through your mind before you do something important. Replace that habit by actively letting positive memories, accomplishments and experiences wash through your mind for a minute or two instead. We often forget these positive things and our minds become focused on the negative memories. But this is up to you; you have a choice. The product of your choice is a factor in your level of self confidence.
12. Do something you’re good at!
What are you especially good at or enjoy doing? Regularly doing things that you are good at reinforces your belief in your abilities and strengths.
13. Keep a list of things that make you feel good.
Write a list of every single thing you’re good at, anything from clipping the dog’s toenails to putting up a shelf. Take the time to sit and actually think about what you ARE good at and add them all to the list. You’ll be surprised at how many things you end up jotting down, no matter how minor or trivial they may seem at the time. Whenever you have a spare 5 minutes, or if you’re feeling a little low, take the list out of your pocket and read it. This is a great little way to give yourself a nice confidence boost.
14. Recognize your insecurities.
What does that voice in the back of your mind say? What makes you uncomfortable or ashamed of yourself? This could be anything from acne, to regrets, friends at school or a past traumatic or negative experience. Whatever is making you feel unworthy, ashamed or inferior, identify it, give it a name, and write it down. You can also tear these written pieces to start feeling positive on those points.
15. Accept compliments gracefully.
16. Find real role models.
One big problem that we face in general is society. Let’s face it, we have programs that make you think in order to make it that you have to be waifer thin and tall. We don’t and it doesn’t help when you have ‘idols’ out there that verify this idea of having to be thin. Girls need to remember to focus on what makes the person a role model and less on their appearance.
Show these girls other people out there, not just specifically celebrities, who do amazing feats every day and are of every body shape and image. Remind girls that fame and riches does not always mean good role model. Finding a down to earth role model will give you a boost in confidence in accepting who you are. Because beauty comes in everyone!
17. Look in the mirror.
Every time you pass a mirror, look into it and flash your biggest and best smile at yourself. It might feel strange at first, but eventually it’ll make you feel brilliant. Mentally (or aloud) tell yourself “Looking good!” or “Wow, I love me!” or similar phrases. Do it often enough and you will actually start believing it. Only use positive words. I look at myself every morning naked in front of the mirror and say nice things about myself and my body. I started replacing negative words with positive words, and it has definitely worked for me.
18. Be totally honest with yourself at all times.
If there’s something you don’t like, admit it. We cannot all be perfectly happy with everything about ourself! Being honest with yourself without being cruel can help.
19. Wear whatever YOU want!
I used to spend so much time worrying whether I should wear something or not because my fat would show or it was too tight or body hugging. Honestly, I’m over that! I wear whatever I want. All I care about now is how I feel in it. If I feel fab in it, then I don’t care what others think! I hate it when people think that just because we are fat we can’t wear short skirts, shorts or tight dresses. I mean, if I feel amazing in it, that’s good enough for me.
One thing that constantly bothered me was when my friends or family would make comments about my weight, which a lot of times were thrown at me indirectly. It made me feel really bad about myself. Not long ago I also started realizing how my friends would say that: “You are not fat, you are beautiful.” But yet when we saw a girl that was pretty much the same size as I was or maybe a few sizes bigger, they would make a comment about that girl’s weight. I mean, why can’t I be both fat AND beautiful? I know I’m fat, and I am completely okay with that, because there is nothing wrong with being fat, and my weight does not define who I am as a person. It bothered me a lot, and with the advice of some of my followers, I decided to speak to my mom and friends. My mom was very understanding and I explained to her that I truly feel comfortable with myself and I don’t want the people that I love constantly putting me down because of my weight. My friends also understood where I was coming from. If they really love you and are there for you, THEY WILL UNDERSTAND! So be honest with them about how they are making you feel.
These tips helped me throughout my journey of accepting myself. Some of them I figured out on myself, and some of them I obtained through different body positive websites. I think one of the most important things to keep in mind is that it all starts with yourself, and your willingness to work on your self esteem and also your worth. I will never ever let a number on a scale define who I am as a person anymore. We are all different, and you should embrace the beautiful person that you are. I truly believe everyone is beautiful and I want to inspire others to believe that.
Now, I am happy, confident, and fierce about my body, and most importantly, I am not apologizing for loving myself.
Daniela Hernandez is a 19-year-old living in Aruba. She currently runs a blog, Static Rouge Curves, where she focuses on body positivity, fashion, and confidence tips. She can be found at: