It was a sunny afternoon. My co-teachers and I were talking when one of them asked me,
“How did you become this confident person that you are right now?”
The question actually made me think.
T-shirt: Uniqlo heat tech
Leather jacket: resale FUGA
Pants: GU Japan
Leather backpack and leather baseball cap: Marc by Marc Jacobs
Photos: Rexcy Domingo
I was bullied in elementary school. I went to this all-boys Catholic institution where all my classmates picked on me for having an unusual long chin. They were calling me names like crescent moon and stuff and they even told me like I shouldn’t bow down coz once I did it, I would kill myself from getting stabbed by my own chin. Aside from that, I was also bullied because of my flamboyancy. I even remember my 6th grade adviser (equivalent of a homeroom teacher) getting angry with me and my other effeminate classmates because we’re too gay. At that time, I felt so bad it made me cry buckets of tears that I wanted to leave that school.
After I left grade school, I promised myself no one can ever do those things to me again. Nobody can ever step on me like how my classmates and my homeroom teacher did to me. I went to high school and university and thank goodness, I became one popular kid who was loved by most people including my teachers and classmates, though there were a few who misunderstood by sharp tongue and loudness. But this time, I knew how to protect myself and brush off the haters. So what happened?
Confidence is a very important factor in life. WIthout it, there’s a lot of things that we can’t achieve. But there’s a bunch of people out there who are all having problems with their self-esteem. Based on my experience, these are some ways how I boosted mine.
1. Know thy self.
You have to be aware of yourself. You have to know the best and the worst things about you, your strengths and weaknesses and your assets and your liabilities. It’s actually better if you also try to understand why and how you become who you are. If there’s one person who should know yourself the best, it should be you. Ever since I was a kid, I knew I was special but during my elementary years, there were a lot of things that made me feel insecure which made me forget about my specialness.
2. Accept and love thy self.
I cried too much because of the bullying but I stopped and examined myself. I believed my chin wasn’t funny and my flamboyancy doesn’t annoy myself. I knew myself more and I came into terms with myself. Once you’ve known yourself, you have to accept who you are. You should embrace your wholeness because it’s you and when things go wrong, the whole world can turn its back against you and all you got is nothing and nobody but yourself alone. It’s very hard to exist in this lifetime when you’re not at peace with yourself.
Once you’ve found acceptance, love comes in. This one may take time because it takes maturity to finally realize what self-love is really all about. It’s not that kind of narcissistic and egotistic kind of self-love but it’s more of, like what I said, accepting who you are and having peace with it. They even told me like I shouldn’t bow down coz once I did, I’m gonna kill myself.
3. Use your assets and work on your liabilities.
If you think you got the face and body plus the talent, go and be a model. If you’re good at calculating numbers, be an accountant. If you’re good at designing and drawing, do something related to it like painting, architecture or fashion or industrial design. If you can write well, be a journalist, playwright or whatever occupation that has something to do with that. You have to make use of your talents because those are your tickets to success. Things will be easier if you’re doing something that seems to come out so natural from you. And when it comes out from you easily, it breeds that certain confidence in your heart.
On the other hand, there are two things that you can do with your weaknesses. One is working on them. You can go there, study it and turn it into a capability. Because sometimes, we just need to be familiar with something to be able to do it. I suggest that you try doing it because sometimes, it’s just us who limit ourselves and our capacities. But if you’ve already tried and nothing’s happening, you just have to let it go (no music cues happening here, okay?). You’re human and we are imperfect beings. We have to accept the fact that we can’t have everything. That’s why we meet people on the way who can help us with these kind of stuff. And whether you buy this or not, sometimes, these little imperfections are what help us to find the right people in our lives. With that being said, we go to number four.
4. Surround yourself with the right people.
My family always believed in my talent. My grandma specifically would go and brag about me to her friends about my activities in school and my latest achievements. I also have a solid group of friends who stick to me no matter what and they aren’t afraid to spill to me the truth once I’m lost.
When I say “right people”, I mean the people who will cheer for you because they believe in you. They are the ones who are gonna push you up and help you float when you’re drowning. They are also the ones who you can seek advice from during times of confusion. They are also the ones who aren’t afraid to break it down to you once you’re blinded by your ego, emotions and even if you only have bothering booger in your nostrils. They can be your family, friends, mentors etc. They don’t have to be a lot. Choosing the members of your support team is like shopping for clothes- quality over quantity. Once you’ve done this, you can see yourself in a more positive angle.
At the same time, you need to let go of the people who are toxic to your being. These are the ones giving you metal balls of negativity that don’t help you to walk forward in your journey or drown you in the sea of self-pity and insecurity. You need to stay away from them because they are stepping on your confidence which can’t help you to blossom in to this great person you are destined to be. I’ve met a lot of these people. I would usually feel bad to delete them from my life because I’d love to have peace with others as much as possible. But they weren’t helping me at all so I had to do it even if was hard for me.
5. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
Mistakes don’t happen just to put us down. We have to see their brighter sides. They happen for a reason and that is to teach as a lesson or two. We need to bump our heads in sharp edges most of the time to see until where can we go far. Once you’ve failed, never hesitate to try again because once you’re familiar with something, it can be easily done the next time.
Confidence is a vital tool in life. It will help you seize different opportunities that will also help you be the best person that you can be. Fashionably speaking, it can help you in finding your own style. Once you’ve become confident, you’re not afraid to experiment with clothes and find what message or story you really wanna tell through what you’re wearing.