7 Things I've Learned About Self Confidence Since I Graduated High School

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

drifting by dress
midi dress cute modest outfit via Kristina j blog
Anthropologie Drifting By dress and belt |  J.Crew cardi |  Steve Madden flats |  DIY watch tutorial

1.  My Self-Worth is Not Determined by Other's Opinions 
Worrying about the opinion of others gave me panic attacks. I'd start analyzing what people thought of me, and then began to base my self-worth on those emotions rather than the truth. I lived in fear that if people really knew me, they wouldn't like me. 
The ironic thing is, it's actually a form of pride to think people are thinking about me at all, let alone bad things. Humanity is, in general, pretty selfish. Most of the time, others will be thinking about themselves and what I'm thinking about them. When I woke up this morning, I could have focused on the bags under my eyes, my frizzy hair or what you might thing of this post and naturally, I could have felt awful, but I chose instead to believe God's Truth that I am handcrafted by Him regardless of what I see or feel or what others think of me. (Eph.2:10)

2.  I'm NOT the Only Girl in the World Who Struggles with Self-Confidence
During my freshman year of college, I was sitting in class and the professor asked everyone to pull out a piece of paper and list ten things they liked about themselves...skills, physical features--anything. After a few minutes, she asked for discussion on what we'd listed. I sat in that class surrounded by the most beautiful, wildly talented people I'd ever known and discovered that not one of them had been able to list even two things they liked about themselves. Shocker! 
All my friends are likely as insecure as I am, but it's really easy to let the knowledge of my insecurities cripple me. Self-condemnation destroys healthy self esteem. When we focus on lies instead of the truth, eventually, the truth ceases to matter. It doesn't matter that we are beautiful women with the pages of our books waiting to be written. It doesn't matter that we aren't really unlovable...that we aren't really inadequate. What matters is that we believe we are. 
We are what we think. If we feed our mind with the noise of fear, we will be anxious all the time. If we feed our hearts with self-loathing, we will never dare to use our skills to do something extraordinary for God. If we feed our minds with lies, we will live ugly, defeated lives.

3.   Pretending to be Unaffected by Pain Weakens Confidence
When I was nineteen, my eighteen year old brother died in a drowning accident and in the weeks that followed I begged God to help me quit crying. I felt weak and pathetic. It's almost 15 years later and I'm still crying, but I no longer feel weak and pathetic. I feel strong. In 2011, I felt compelled to be real and true and chronicle that experience in my book, After NathanielAt the time, I wondered Why? Why must I lay the worst of myself open on pages that live on coffee tables and bookstore shelves and pillows and smartphones? Must I really let strangers into the deep sacred parts of my heart and how can I ever rise above after being this broken?
There is no such thing as a life without pain, though we may not particularly want it. A person with no tears or flesh or feeling is simply a robot. Choosing to be tender and broken releases me to embrace a stronger self and my tears are like tiny messengers...secret-bearers that deliver a most important message--Your heart beats strong. Listening to the message of loss and heartbreak wakes me up to who I am, where I come from, and what matters most (but only if I don't close myself off from the things that break my heart).

how to style a midi dress modestly via Kristina j blog

4.   Running from Your Dream Is Hard Work and Depressing
I'm not particularly comfortable with the criticism that can come from trying to offer a piece of myself through my personality or my art. It's tempting at times to think Living the dream is too much work. Why should I do anything more than lie on the couch and read a book? But really, informing my life with fear is even more difficult than getting into the studio and getting at it. 

In those moments, I remind myself of Steven Pressfield's advice in his bestselling book, The War of Art,  "Self-doubt can be an ally. This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it. If you find yourself asking yourself...'Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?' Chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death." 
I can't let self-doubt silence me. I must force it to work for me. 

5.   Celebrating the Success of Others is a Back Door to Confidence
Egos are a waste of time and being intimidated by others is a waste of friendship and inspiration. Glory hogs are always afraid...trying to measure their impact, comparing themselves, fearing the success of others. I know because I was one. Denying the inspiration others can provide is a death clamp on creativity and confidence. We ALL have been asked to show up, to walk out onto the grand stage of our lives and make art. How do I know? Because we were born. There is nothing more inspiring to my own creativity than the life art of the musicians, the teachers, the illustrators, the waiters, the obstetricians, the mothers and even the back-ground singers. All our hands make different kinds of art and we are most influenced by individuals who are in touch with what makes them come alive.

6.   Confidence Doesn't Automatically Show Up When You Turn 20 or 30 or 40
This is a life-long journey that extends far beyond high school. No matter the stage of our lives, we continue to long to be chosen, to be looked at and noticed as a treasure. During the in-between moments when I feel like a cosmic boo-boo, I recite my warrior heart-cry.

I don't want my life to be ruled by the fear of failure, the fear of your opinion or the fear of my own inadequacies. I want to live a costly, fulfilled wealthy treasure of a life. I want the junk out of my heart. I want to be purified. I want God to fill the parts of my mind that are running dry. I want His power without barriers and His favor on my business, my home, my days. I want my life to be a gift back to God--a beautiful picture that ends up on His fridge. 

how to style anthropologie drifting by dress via Kristina J blog

7.   Self Confidence isn't the Ultimate Goal 
Happiness is not more self confidence but rather, God confidence....
Life is not about becoming important or famous or promoted but about me allowing God to release his art into the world through me. While pursuing the things I'm passionate about isn't the goal, it can be a signpost, like a straight arrow pointing to my center, saying This is the path to the deepest part of who you are, how your are made and the poetry of your soul. 
We were made to soar...to break free from the confines of a small life. We don't have to be more beautiful than we are right now. We don't have to be more talented than we are right now. God has set eternity in our hearts (Ecc. 3:11). His sacrifice bridged our ordinary life to the extraordinary. It doesn't get more epic or beautiful than that! 


  1. Lovely and very much needed! Thanks for the encouraging and inspiring thoughts. ~Amy

    1. Im always reminding myself of all this stuff! So easy to forget

  2. What an absolutely amazing post. Thank you!!! Also, I love your hair.

  3. Great post!!



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