Confidence Casualty

There are many beliefs about where our confidence is rooted in our lives. If you ask most people, they will explain that they've been confident their entire lives. From the first step they took as a toddler to the choices and decisions that they've made for themselves as adults, they are rooted in the confidence of who they are and their abilities in life. I've heard frequently that your upbringing also has a lot to do with your confidence regarding yourself. Parents constantly praise you and encourage you to be the best you can be? Well, you are potentially raising the next Michelle Obama, right? What about parents that frequently belittle and ignore their children? Are their children subsequently doomed to become degenerates and delinquents in society?

My own situation is quite different. Growing up, my parents were the type that consciously made sure to encourage me and tell me that I can do whatever I want and that I'm smart, beautiful, and capable of achieving my dreams. Nigerian parents, however tough their parenting can be at times, are experts at extolling upon their children the importance of excellence and speaking positive affirmations upon their lives. Somewhere along the way however, my confidence meter became broken. I constantly questioned myself regarding making decisions, my appearance, my position within my social circle, as well as my own future. I doubted myself regarding almost every area of my life, and constantly toiled with the idea that others saw the same qualities in me as well.

It's amazing how easy it was to create a facade of confidence. The more I doubted myself and felt inadequate, the harder I fought to show externally that everything was perfect and I had "everything under control". People in my lives or I came across would always comment about how confident I appeared and how they envied my ability to make "everything look so easy and flawless". The funny thing is that this was far from the truth that I struggled with internally.

Confidence was deeply affected by my expectations for myself. The further I believed I was from living up to my expectations, the smaller my confidence shrunk. I became in many ways, a casualty of myself due to my confidence (or lack thereof).