Confidence: The New Norm

December 24, 2010
I hadn't been very confident in my life when it came to everyday challenges, whether it be taking a test, going for new skills and routines in gymnastics, competing at gymnastics competitions or just feeling all around good about myself in general. In today's society being average is not the norm. There is always someone competing with another to win at a sport, have more expensive and cuter clothing, higher grades, better looks and so on. The competition today's society has built up has left some people standing tall and strong, but has left others glum and in the dust. The pressure to be the best and to be perfect has gotten to many people just as it had gotten to me. Then one day everything changed; it was as if a light had been lifted and I had seen the light of day, bright and clear. I was at gymnastics and had forgotten all about trying to be perfect and not feeling good enough. I let all that fly from my mind and I let the confidence in. I finally began to get my skills and my routines felt AMAZINGLY better. It was as if the universe was finally on my side just like the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson describes by saying, “If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me.” Once I let my self doubt leave my mind and I began to stop focusing on perfection I began to see that life was changing, for the BETTER. Through gymnastics practices and competitions, taking tests and feeling good about my self and the way I look I have begun to have a better understanding on how being confident can change a whole persons day and can make life more fun.

I use to feel very bad about my gymnastics abilities. I began to feel like I was not good enough at anything I tried to do and that EVERYONE was better than me. At gymnastics I was never good enough to win and was never the first to perfect my routines and get new skills. It seemed like there was always one team mate that was just a little better than me. Try as I may I could never beat that one girl, until one day I changed my whole perspective on life and WON. It as if the universe was finally on my side. I use to go into the gym or walk into the competitions feeling horrible and almost preparing to lose and do bad before I even began. I would talk my self into feeling not good enough and so I wasn't good enough. I would lose and I didn't understand why. Why does that girl win every single meet while I don't? What's different between her and me? I could not see what the girls who won and did great at gymnastics practices were doing until I watched the Gymnastics World Championships. It was a competition between the best gymnasts in the world. Only the best of the best would compete to see who would make it to the Olympics. These girls were the winners; they were prime. So I studied the way they danced across the floor and flew across the 4 inches of beam awaiting their fall at the bottom. And the way they ran with power and sprung up onto the vault and soared through the air catching the bar as if it was no sweat. I didn't see a difference between there attitudes and mine in competition until I saw her. She was a gymnast about to go on beam, the most grueling event that can make or break a career. She had a disgusted smirk on her face and a clumsy, uneasy look in her eyes. Her legs were shaking and her palms became unbearably sweaty. She saluted to the judge and her routine began. It was nothing special at first, just another routine with another gymnast until she fell. As if the universe was against her. She fell and began to cry, right there, that moment, the moment she had worked her whole life for was ruined. And for what? I could see it, I saw before she even began her routine. She was not confident and so the universe and gravity gave up on her because she gave up on herself. Those others girls who had confidence were different, they believed in themselves and so did the universe unlike the girl who did not believe in herself and was passed by by the universe. I learned from watching her and vowed that I would never be like her again. I wanted to be confident and tell myself I could win at the next meet. And that's exactly what I did. What happened after that is no surprise; I WON. My whole level of confidence changed and life became good and enjoyable. Finally the universe was in my favor. Through watching other gymnasts and my own experiences in life, I have began to see how much a person's thinking process and confidence can change how a day goes by and how it can affect the vary means of the universe working for me.

The next challenge after gymnastics was the challenge of becoming more confident with taking tests. At school I never did well enough on a test, no matter how hard I studied; there was always someone who got a higher score than me. It would be the night before the test. With a Study Guide in hand and a text book by my side I would begin studying. Ready, set go! The studying would begin with hours after hours going by. I knew the information after an hour or two, but I kept on studying. Worrying thoughts would be going through my head the whole time. What if I forget this tomorrow when I take the test? What if I fail the test and have to retake it? What if this test lowers my grade to a B? Than the test day would come. With a test blank of answers and pencil ready in my hand I would get to work. Right as I finished reading the first question my mind would freeze. I was not confident so neither was the universe. It took no confident in me as I had not taken confidence with the test. Wait! I know this! No, I don't know this! What if I'm getting this answer mixed up with another question? All that studying I had worked so hard on was gone. With thoughts of negativity and self doubt floating around in my mind the answers were gone. POOF! By and by I would sit their staring at the page, finally remembering the answers little by little. The time went by fast and the pressure worsened. Everyone was done with their tests while I still had twenty more problems to go. So I would be sent out of the room to finish the test and felt pressured to finish it quickly. Everyone else seemed to have all smiles while the universe worked for them to recall from memory the info they had studied, but for me the universe was not on my side. The test grades would come back and I would get a so so grade, which in my book was not okay. That's when I began applying my positive attitude and confidence to my studying and test taking. I began to study for only as long as I needed to and no longer than that. I would also give myself a little pep talk or confidence booster right before the exam. Then once I began taking the test the blank paper was not overwhelming and I finished with time to spare. When the test grades were given back I received that high score that was perfect in my eyes. By being confident and taking a deep breath in life instead of worrying and self doubting myself I have realized that one change in my attitude can have an even greater change in how my day goes, what my grades are and how the universe can be on my side.

The biggest challenge of all in changing my way of thinking and living life was for me to be able to accept myself for who I am and accept the way I look. For this challenge I looked to the Bible and to God for help. I use to go through each day thinking that I wasn't good enough for anyone or anything unlike everyone else who's perfect. I'm too quiet! I'm too much of a perfectionist who cares too much about my grades! I'll never be as pretty as them! Blah! Blah! Blah! And the negativity went on until I felt completely ugly on the outside and rotten on the inside, completely miserable. Each day became a chore instead of a new adventure. Each day became misery and sadness instead of fun and happiness. That's when I had it. I was tired of the way I was comparing myself to others and felt about myself. I deserved better and I wanted better. So I turned to God and began to pray for him to guide me through my negativity of self doubt and fear. I asked for him to give the the confidence and self reliance needed to feel good about myself. Every time I began to turn back to doubting myself I would pray to him and he would make me feel more beautiful. He would build my confidence. I then began to find verses in the Bible that talked about just what I was going through and held the words to my eyes that I needed to see and realize about myself. It opened my eyes to becoming confident in my self, my personality, my individuality and my looks. I finally felt beautiful with the confidence I carried with me through my religion. I came to the realization that feeling good about my own self and feeling beautiful no matter what anyone else thinks has made me a better person inside and out and has given me the confidence to live each and everyday as if I'm on top of the world and that there is nothing someone could say that would hurt me.

The quote “If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me,” by Emerson is not only correct, but has become a life value that I have learned to live my life by each and every day. It is a reminder to those who fall that a small boost of confidence can make the world go around and can bring happiness and light to the day. Often people forget that one change in attitude can make or break a day , a week, a month or an entire year even. As long as people find confidence in their everyday lives and activities like I have with gymnastics, school tests and myself in general the world will go around and the universe will work to make the days brighter. .





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