If you’re asking me

The in-depth guide to self-confidence

Genevieve Esh

More stories from Genevieve Esh

December 14, 2022

The in-depth guide to self-confidence

Self-confidence is a double-edged sword, it can be your best friend, but also feel impossible to achieve most times. If you’re struggling with self-love, this column is for you. So sit back, relax and learn to love yourself — it’s easier than it sounds.

Since a young age we’ve been primed to chase validation from the masses. Whether that be on the topic of body image, how we talk or our interests — we are constantly trying to mold ourselves to meet societal standards.

But at what cost? Do we really want the approval of people who have such high expectations? Will the approval of society really be fulfilling if they’re only actually approving a fake, curated version of our true selves?

The answer is no. We will constantly be chasing validation after we’ve had our first fix. The trick is to seek approval from the people whose opinion matters most — people who want to know the real you.

I’ve found myself happiest with genuine people who like me for the real me, not the mask I’ve always worn. 

There is a certain comfort that comes from hiding behind a mask — if people still reject it at least they’re not actually rejecting you, right? 

That false sense of security isn’t worth it in the end. If all people ever see is a mask then they aren’t actually approving of you, either. 

So what steps can you take towards being the real you unapologetically? 

The first thing you can do is take a step back and ask yourself if your friends know the real you or if all they see is the mask you made.

If your friends only know the fake version of you I dare you to tear that wall down. People may leave, but that rejection is a good thing. People will stay and give you something more satisfying than approval — unconditional support.

The second thing you can do is remind yourself that the right people will be attracted to your true self, and those people will be the most beneficial for your mental health. And your mental health is far more important than staying friends with toxic people.

The key is to prioritize yourself. It might sound selfish, but think of it this way, you need to put on your oxygen mask before you can help others. My mom always says this to help me refocus on my mental health before I can focus on others. 

Self-confidence is such a big proponent of self-love and good mental health. 

Third and finally, people don’t think about you as much as you think they do. They’re more likely to be worrying about what people are thinking about them. 

However, if you do come across someone who has some strong opinions about you, that often means they’re projecting their own insecurities onto you. The best way to respond is to try your best not to take their criticism seriously and go your own way.

We can’t control what others think of us, but we can and must improve how we treat ourselves. 

Lastly, remember to go easy on yourself, this is a difficult enough time without inner criticism. And if you just need someone in your corner to convince you that your inner critic is lying, I’m in your corner. 

You are kind, beautiful and I love you. 


Esh can be reached at [email protected].