Confidence, self-belief and support.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

I have struggled with self-belief and lack of confidence since I was of a very young age, after some girls at school decided to meddle with it and I was far too naive to ignore it. Without these tools it's hard to move forward and improve in whichever craft or task you're doing, as you would have given up before you even attempt. So here is how I went from zero confidence and self-belief to beginning to believe in myself and feel more confident, through hard work and most importantly: support!

It was never bodily confidence that was the problem for me, however. I was affected in a way that I stopped singing at home whenever my parents were in the house, and just giving myself a hard time in general. What kept my hope alive is the fact that I still went to singing lessons, practiced (when home alone) and just tried overall. If I had given up completely I would've moved on and found a new hobby. It makes me sad thinking about it. I'm lucky to have the most supportive family and I surround myself with friends who truly believe in me. I had all the ingredients to improve. Clearly, one thing was in the way of me from moving forward: me.

Evidently, I was not giving myself any credit. I was letting myself down and whilst I was actually accepting people’s positive feedback and seeing their faith in me, I was still my own enemy. Believing in myself is something I have never let myself do, I was agreeing with those ‘friends’ who were giving me a hard time, instead of believing the people who want the best for me. I hated listening to myself and I was my worst critic. Well, I still am but I don’t throw myself away now. Most importantly, it was keeping me back from improving as I was closing all doors to any sort of prospects.

This never stopped me from taking part in activities such as school shows, gigging, and a few competitions. Needless to say that had I not lost all my self-confidence, I would have had more opportunities. Alas, the point of this post is to talk about what helps build confidence in a person, and one of the important elements to building one’s self-belief is support.

I have come to realize that what I was lacking was the support of those who are not in ‘obligation’ to encourage me such as family members or close friends. I’ve been let down before by people I trusted, but my family’s support, although extremely appreciative, wasn’t enough. ­ For some reason I cannot seem to understand why, having people who do not know me personally give me positive feedback boosts my confidence; not drastically, but enough to make me happy. When I was in London for Ultimate Artists 2014 last August, my peers gave me wonderful support. As I mentioned in that post, I was challenged emotionally and I learnt that making mistakes is okay, and you should never stress so much over what other people are saying or thinking about you.  The support you give yourself is another important ingredient. No one can be as big a hurdle as you. At the end of the day, you call the shots. It's important to believe people's sincere positive feedback, and start seeing the good they see in you. If you don't believe it, other people won't. You cannot throw yourself away -  not under any circumstance.

It’s been a tough, long road that has ultimately led me to where I stand today. I am no 100% there but at least I have enough confidence to accept the opportunities that are given to me and eventually start working towards my goals. Confidence and self-belief are built slowly but they make so much difference to your life. They give you the drive to be better and most of all make you happier and unashamed of yourself, whilst accepting that it's okay to make mistakes. You can only go up when you've fallen down, so why bother too much?

Maria x

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