As a kid, I was never confident because I always cared too much about others opinion. I was never able to speak up in front of a class because I was so afraid that I would say things wrong and everyone would laugh at me. It was so bad that when I was in fourth grade, my teacher actually chose me along with four other quietest and shiest kids to take turns and speak in front of the entire class.
When I became a teenager, things have gotten worse. I started to develop a lot of self-doubts. I never believe that I was good enough at anything. When someone compliments me, I would think that they're just trying to be nice. When I got a good grade for a test, I would think that I was lucky rather than thinking that was because I studied for it. I didn't believe in myself at all.
As my self-esteem got lower, I also cared more and more about how others would look at me. And because I always thought negatively about myself, I was afraid to be judged by people. I would make the same choices as everyone else because I didn't want to be different, instead of choosing what I really like. For example, if my friends and I went out to eat, and the majority of them ordered burgers and sandwiches, I would order the similar thing even if what I really wanted to eat was pasta. Although people might think that I was easy to get along, truth is, I wasn't completely being myself because I wasn't confident enough to be my real self.
During my sophomore year of college, I was giving a presentation for one of my classes. I was so nervous (as always) and thought the whole thing went terribly. After the class, one of my classmates came to me and told me that I did a good job. I was so surprised by her comment. I told her how nervous I felt during the presentation. And she said to me, "Really? I had no idea! You looked so confident up there." I realized that maybe people weren't judging me. I was the person think that I did a terrible presentation. I was the one who thinks that I didn't deserve a good grade, even though I studied for it. It was me telling myself that I was not good enough. No one ever said all those things to me but myself.
All these times, I was being so harsh on myself. If I see another person did the same thing I did, I would think that they were so good and turn around and criticized my own work. But most of the time, people really don't see that negatively of me. They would probably look at me like how I look at others. All the self-doubt and negativity that were in my own head were given to me by me, not others.
In my life up to this point, I was so busy thinking about other people’s opinion about me, I hardly had any time to have negative opinions of others. Then I realized maybe I am not the only person who is afraid to be judged, everyone else might feel the same way, too.
So I started changing my mindset and tried to look at things from a different angle. I learned to think more positively about myself. When I get a compliment on something, instead of quickly denying it like I used to, I learn to embrace it and put more confidence in myself.
Now, I wouldn't say that I'm 100% a confident person all the time. I still have my moments. However, I learned to believe in myself and knowing that as long as I put enough effort into everything I do, I can be proud of myself. Even if people really are judging me or think negatively of me, does it really matter? Would they remember this, or would I still care about it years from now? The answers are probably no. The only opinion that really matters is my own because this is my life, and I shouldn't let people's thoughts be controlling how I live.