Picking up a book on “The Ultimate Secret of Total Self-Confidence” at the store is almost like saying, “I’m a huge push-over who wishes I was cool enough to not care what other people think”. (Almost…as in that was once my actual thought.)

I would love to be naturally confident but the truth is that building my self-confidence has been hard work.

I have always valued others opinions of me way too much and internalized every little piece of negativity. (Oh my GOSH, she said I was GOOD not EXCELLENT.) And then I kick myself for letting that internalization happen and ultimately kick myself again (and end up very sore.)

So, you know what; I did pick up this book because I do want to know some secrets! Why are some of my peers overflowing in self-confidence and I am sometimes overflowing in self-loathing?

Basically the book blames my parents: my unconditional loving supports. It is their fault for over-providing for me and not kicking me out at age 18. (Which would have been really helpful considering I was in and out of hospital at that age.) My parents let me depend on them too much and…

I don’t care to keep reading this book. These are not secrets of how to be self-confident, these are attacks on every aspect of what we as humans do! No self-comparison is healthy, competition is always hostile, and you must never look up to anyone.

Hmm. Maybe that’s the reason I lack some self-confidence… Because I let people inspire me and I look up to them? Now, I don’t think by comparing myself I am making myself feel bad, I am merely saying, “wow, they’re awesome, I want to do what they do”. I am envisioning myself in the future as a successful person and that my friends, is my secret for you to gain self-confidence. Toss this book aside and instead follow my lead: let yourself be inspired- there are amazing people in this world and you can be one too. Let yourself believe that you can be amazing and recognize when you do something awesome because that’s going to boost your confidence level!

Trust me, after being at work for almost three years people say (not to my face of course) that I am a lot more confident. When I first started hearing this (via whispers in the halls) I was quite surprised but then I started reflecting on “well AM I more confident?” and “well why do THEY think I’m more confident?” (Neither question really indicates a boat load of self-confidence but that’s okay; I swear I have some.)

Time is an important component in self-confidence. How many people can jump into something new and be super confident about themselves? (Did I hear a vote for narcissists?)

Anyway, focus on your successes, reflect on so-called mistakes for a reasonable amount of time, and stay real to who you are.

There. I could have written the book! (But I didn’t…hence the boring blog post, and the unfortunate lack of a million dollars. Ho hum.)

About the Author

Tara Richardson is a Peer Support Specialist at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences in Whitby, Ontario. Her own personal journey through mental illness has led her to be a passionate and dedicated advocate for mental health recovery. Tara is an aspiring author who is in the (long) process of writing and editing her memoir compiled from journal entries beginning at age 11. Tara has a B.A. in Psychology, a diploma in Social Service Work, and a certificate in Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Tara can be contacted at: tara_richardson913@hotmail.com Non-creepy fan mail gladly welcomed.