Collage by Ffion Atkinson via Flickr
Last year, Rosie asked over 400 Australian teenage girls about what they most wanted life advice on. Time and again, girls ranked self-confidence as the number one issue. It was also character trait they most wanted to have. Many girls don’t feel comfortable in their own skin or competent in their abilities. Without confidence, it is incredibly difficult for girls to strive for success and achieve their dreams. I want that to change.
Confidence is often hard to come by for young women. You might find yourself questioning your own abilities. Is my work good enough? Am I experienced enough to go for that job/internship/enter that competition? What if I’m rejected? What if I’m accepted? What if they don’t like me?
It’s a vicious cycle of questioning that can be difficult to combat. For many, confidence doesn’t come naturally. And sometimes, those who glow with certainty and self-assurance are actually just like you, trying to figure it all out one step at a time.
My battle with confidence is something I fight almost every day. It plagues me in the lecture theatre, when I don’t raise my hand to answer a question, or when I hesitate to pitch my work to an editor. I go through the motions of doubt for what seems like agonising minutes or hours, but is often only seconds of internal banter: “Should I raise my hand? I should. I know the answer. At least I think I know the answer. What if I stutter or stumble? What if I’m wrong? Nope. Nu-uh. Not raising my hand.”
But confidence can also come in surprising bursts. I’ve started to introduce myself to guests at literary conferences. I’ve gotten up in front of a crowd of a few hundred people more than once to make a speech. Confidence in my writing is not something that I have mastered, but it is something I’ve improved at dramatically. My pitches are no longer accompanied by half-hearted excuses of battling ‘writer’s block’ or being too busy, a means of covering for any mistakes I’ve made or rough content.
In fact, I’ve stopped using the word ‘rough’ altogether to describe my pieces when they’re not rough at all. They are meticulously planned and edited pieces of work, read over and over until I think they are good enough. I have learnt to stop being self-deprecating and to take pride in my efforts. I have also been incredibly lucky. The opportunities granted to me through Rosie and Birdee Magazine not only came from bursts of confidence, but have helped me to build that confidence into a level of self-assurance and pride in both my work, and in myself.
Confidence does not happen overnight. It is not an instant trait; it cannot be downloaded from the app store at a moments notice. Confidence is a process, but there are plenty of ways to kick-start your journey into becoming a more confident individual.
Firstly, take a chance.
It can be hard to put aside your fears and doubts, but when you do the world is your oyster. The competition that seems so out of your league? Why not submit an entry? Or introduce yourself to the person sitting across from you at school?
Ask yourself a question: what have you got to lose?
Almost always, the answer is absolutely nothing. What you gain can come in a myriad of forms: experience, pride, positive results and, if nothing else, a little bit of extra confidence. All that matters is that you give something a shot because if you never try, you’ll never know.
Secondly, learn to forgive yourself.
Embrace your mistakes as learning opportunities and don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t succeed. Try, then try again, and again! Remember, you have nothing to lose.
Finally, learn to love yourself.
Be proud of who you are, what you wear, what you do and say. Confidence comes easier when you’re comfortable in your own skin.
At Rosie, we believe girls deserve to be confident. Girls deserve to be proud of themselves, and of the work they do. And we want to share your talent, beauty and skills with the rest of the world. The Rosie Creators Award exists to boost girls’ confidence. We want to read your writing, watch your videos, see your photography and hear what you have to say. We want you to be proud of your contribution to our award, and we want to reward you for it.
I am honoured to be one of the judges in this year’s Rosie Creators Award, and I cannot wait to see all of your brilliant entries.
Photo: Breeana Dunbar
Sammi Taylor is freelance writer and first year journalism student. She is passionate about feminism, youth issues and politics– and will always try to find a way to combine all three. Sammi contributes regularly to Rosie, Birdee Magazine, Truth4Youth and various other corners of the internet. You can follow her daily ramblings on twitter: @sammiiitaylor.