Self Accepting Your Way To Confidence
The art of self acceptance.
Ever felt deflated after being rejected from yet another job interview. Hyping yourself up the past week, giving yourself the whole “fake it till you make it speech,” somehow convinced yourself the spirit of Oprah would take over your body and you’ll be super confident, answer every question with ease and then secure the job. And then it simply did not happen. Personally, my interviews usually go two ways. I either have complete verbal diarrhoea and I’ll say just about anything which I’ll kick myself over later or my mind will go completely blank and you’d think they’d have asked me “Why do you think 11 isn’t pronounced onety-one?” A feedback I’ve received in the past was that they felt they had more belief in me doing the job than I did myself which left me confused at first. As much as my social anxiety was stirring in my stomach, I felt I put on a confident front.
After some casual overthinking, I thought well, how on earth am I meant to portray myself as confident in a situation that I’m so scared of failing. See, it can be hard to feel like you’re displaying confidence, especially when you struggle with self-acceptance. That fear of worst case scenarios, not being good enough, being rejected and caring what others think about you ultimately means you’re lacking confidence. A lot of the time when you’re not okay with who you are it’s because you’re comparing yourself to everyone else. Whether that’s what they’re capable of, what they’ve got going on or what they look like. In the end, revolving your life around others just isn’t healthy!
According to the Virginia department of Health, Self-acceptance is defined as “an individual's acceptance of all of their attributes, positive or negative.” And no, self acceptance doesn’t mean “defeat” or disallowing yourself to improve. Coming to terms with your situation doesn’t prevent growth. Of course, we are all human beings and all of us want to have approval and belong, so it's about changing your relationship with seeking validation. The Limits are not fixed and many of us have experienced reaching beyond what we thought we were capable of during challenges. If you accept yourself as unconditionally as you can, then you don't rely on the opinions of others to validate you.
When going into a job interview, you want them to like you, you want them to see what you’re capable of and when you get rejected, it feels like that’s you not being good enough or that you’re lacking something. You tell yourself that if you were like this person or had these attributes, you would’ve gotten the role. Right? That’s an example of looking to them for acceptance. Not getting certain jobs can be a knock on your confidence and make you question yourself. Just like getting a role but it not being as impressive as your friends or your peers can also affect how you see yourself. Mental toughness means recognizing you’re a work in progress and accepting this is who you are as a person. A lot of the time the attributes you dislike are characteristics many others wish they had. Everyone is uniquely themselves, and forcing yourself to be a person you’re not is draining. Confidence is a trainable skill and will happen naturally when you care less what others think as well as the end result.
Self acceptance is understandably easier said than done when you've accomplished more, whether that's having a good career, driving a lovely car, or even being in a solid relationship. It's critical to remember that just because something is taking time, it doesn’t mean it's not happening or won't happen. Push yourself to perceive rejection as merely a redirection. Fear of failing might be a major source of your insecurity. Be more kind to yourself in these moments, as many of us are to others when they face similar events. Accepting your position as well as who you are allows you to approach situations with more confidence and ease. It will eventually lead to you unwittingly displaying confidence. Learning to separate your failures from who you are as a person is also important.
There’s a quote that states "When you’re 20, you care what everyone thinks, when you’re 40 you stop caring what everyone thinks, when you’re 60, you realize no one was ever thinking about you in the first place." Why live your life on pause? The fixation with waiting till you reach your full potential, not doing activities you enjoy or actions that will promote your progress, all in the name of “what would others think” will hold you back and will not help you with self acceptance or confidence. Take the necessary steps to become who you want to be while embodying who you are!