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by Teresa D. Cochran

Being confident in you can be a tricky trait, especially when you are younger and unsure of yourself, but even more so when you are older and still haven’t found your confidence in life. High school as we all know can be a challenge. It doesn’t matter if you are the unknown student or the most popular student in school. It’s a challenge, each individual, with their own expectations of others and then the expectations of others on them. The stereotypes that people can project onto you, the way people perceive you, the way we all see each other, it’s not necessarily who we really are inside.

People will challenge you throughout your life and by that I mean project onto you their perception of who you are. You know the saying that you only have one chance to make a good impression? Well, I don’t believe that. I believe you have many opportunities to impress people. How? By being present in the moment. Recognizing and kindly acknowledging the people around you, no matter if they are the unknown student or the most popular student in school. At this point, to you, they should hold equal value. You never know the depth of someone until you take the time to really get to know them. You should never shy away from engaging someone in conversation.

If you are older and still struggle with finding your confidence, it’s okay. Just listen to the voice inside. Trust yourself. Examine those relationships around you that are going well and focus on what you’re doing right. Nurture these traits – they are your building blocks to confidence. You most likely have been building confidence little by little over the years and it just hasn’t reached the surface yet. Give it a little more time. Focus on being present in the moment and teaching people how you want to be treated.

People are very opinionated, especially me. Everyone has an opinion and they’re entitled to it. That doesn’t mean that it’s your truth. The key is to not allow others to project their perception of you onto you. Just be you. You don’t have to change who you are. You just have to change how you react to others and put it in perspective. You can’t change others, but you can change how you feel and react by believing in yourself.

Here’s a confidence building exercise: I know this may sound strange, but stare at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself the positive things you like about yourself and the positive things you have in your life. You don’t have to do it for long. You could start each morning before you walk out the door for the day and just tell yourself it’s going to be a good day. If you don’t want to look in the mirror then just stand at the doorway before you leave your home and say out loud, “this is going to be a good day.” A positive mind set is important to having a confident day. Try it – see if it makes a difference.

I was one of the fortunate ones. I found my confidence at 17 years old. I remember caring about what everyone thought of me up until that age. Then, I just decided I cared more about what I thought about myself. At that moment, if you didn’t like me, you didn’t like me and that was okay. You can’t please all of the people all of the time. That was a hard one for me to learn. My confidence came from many days in my early years staring in the mirror and telling myself that I was worthy and good enough, and you know what, I am, and so are you.

Even with confidence, people will still continue to challenge you throughout your life. I believe that challenge is teaching us how to be more patient and compassionate towards others. Once you realize you have the power to fuel your own confidence and no one else can fuel it for you, you are on your way. You can find your confidence at any age in life. You just have to look within yourself.

Yours in good health,

Dr. Robert Koch

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