How to Deal with a Lack of Self Confidence

I’m always quite flattered whenever I receive messages from young women asking for my advice. It means the world to me that anyone feels comfortable enough to reach out to me in that way. Typically, these are career or school related, but I’ll get the occasional relationship or family question too. The frequency of these personal messages has recently grown and I thought, well why not start blogging these conversations? The topics are all relatable and this way they are all in one safe, easy-to-find home. 🙂 Please remember, I am not in any position to give professional advice. I can only speak from my own experiences and hope that it helps or inspires you in some way. This week, I’m addressing self confidence. The original sender’s message asked:

“Sometimes I want to talk, but my voice doesn’t come out cause I’m so anxious and scared to be heard. I’ll be at work and I want to ask my senior to check my work, but I have to think so many times before I ask him cause I don’t want my voice to be heard for other people around too.”

I opened the question up in my Instagram story and received so many, many responses that included young women saying they find it difficult to believe in themselves or that cultural norms make it hard to be confident or that they’re afraid to say no and stand up for themselves. This really breaks my heart. You are all QUEENS. *If you are reading this, you have a voice that deserves to be heard.*

To those who lack self confidence at work…
  • I know how difficult it can be to believe in yourself, but you got the job you have now, because you earned your seat at that table. You were hired because your company saw the work ethic and potential in you. They already know you have good ideas (great ideas!) that add value to their team otherwise you wouldn’t be there!
To those who lack self confidence at school…
  • School is hard. People are mean. Trust me, I KNOW THIS. I was not a good student most of my life. I barely passed high school and a lot of it was because I didn’t believe in myself. I was bullied to no end, home life was depressing, and it felt like my teachers never really cared or saw potential in me. Favoritism was alive and well within the academic circles, and my little brown minority ass did not fit into their bubble. I failed out of a combination of three colleges (more on that in an upcoming post). But you know what? One day I said, “I believe in myself” and that changed everything. I stopped caring what others thought (classmates, friends, teachers, whoever) and put all my focus on my own well being and future. The results? I finished school and went on to get my masters from Columbia freaking University. The best part? I learned how resilient I am. No one can tell me otherwise. And that goes for you too. You are capable. Believe in yourself! I believe in you! <3
To those who lack self confidence around their families…
  • I received a few messages about how difficult it is when you come from a more traditional culture. Again, I KNOW THIS aaah! It SUCKS so much at times! I grew up a little, awkward Middle Eastern kid torn between two cultures in the south. I’m talking the prejudice, racist, conservative southern bible belt. But then at home, I was being raised by my precious immigrant parents who fled a revolution for opportunity, went to school, and became successful members of society. I always felt so pressured to live up to their expectations, but because of my total lack of self confidence I was living in fear more than anything. I just felt useless a lot of the time. My parents did their best, but there’s no denying how hard it was for many years. My advice is to not take it out on your parents. Their intentions are not to hurt you, but I understand the methods may be old fashioned. Just remember, they are already proud of you even though they may not always express it. The best way to deal with minority parents specifically, is to prove you’re on the same page as them with your actions. It’s all about chess, not checkers, baby! Offer to help before they ask. Show them a good grade before they get on your case about it. And a trick that always works when they’re getting riled up: play a little dumb and answer with, “oh my bad, you’re right” in your native language. I am telling you, minority parents will be so stunned by this, they’ll have nothing to argue over with you anymore! 😉
To those who lack self confidence because of society…
  • Society and people can really suck. It’s hard to find people you trust. I know many of you feel sad, insecure, and lonely. I know many of you are bullied and feel like no one cares. First of all, you need to know that your feelings are valid and that they matter. You matter! I’ve been in your shoes. I was bullied, I was lonely, I was very, very depressed. I cried for many years. But here I am now, confident and doing wayyy better than all the negative people who brought me down in the past. Stop being hard on yourself. You are beautiful and strong. You are capable and worthy. Find what motivates you and work towards that goal. These losers who judge you in high school? High school is their peak and they all grow up to be lame. And then they’ll spend all their adult lives lurking on you on social media wishing they had been kinder to you. You don’t need to lower yourself to their level either, you’re going to rise above with class and hard work. If anything, look at them with pity (there is NOTHING more insulting than having pity on someone, oh my gosh can you imagine??) when they’re being obnoxious and reply with, “you done?” Stay unbothered and just show them you don’t have time for them- because you don’t. You’re a queen working on her future. 🙂

Always remember, *if  you are reading this, you have a voice that deserves to be heard.* I believe in you, and you should believe in yourself. Be proud of yourself! Look how far you’ve come! You’re another day closer to being the confident all star you were born to be. I hope I was able to address some of your concerns. My DMs are always open.