On a daily basis we are bombarded with images of who we should be, what we should look like, and how we should act in public. If you fail to define your identity for yourself, a perverted sense of self will form. True confidence comes from within, and genuine beauty radiates from an intrinsic joy that no one can take away. Developing a healthy relationship with yourself is an essential investment — one that many of us must purposely make. But it’s worth it. Think about it… you are the only person you are guaranteed to have a relationship with for the rest of your life.
There are many ways to strengthen one’s sense of self. One of the most beneficial habits that I’ve developed is taking myself out to dinner. I refer to it as my Table for One experience. Initially, it was vastly intimidating. I was convinced that everyone was staring at me, judging me for being alone, as if I didn’t have any friends to join me. But I was allowing my own insecurities to taint the experience and squander a wonderful opportunity to grow. I decided to put my worries aside and enjoy my own company. (The added benefit to my Table for One was getting out of my comfort zone – which helped build up my inner strength and confidence.)
Our relationships with others grow mostly through communication. I always like to say that intimacy is no more than the act of sharing thoughts with others. So how do you go about sharing with yourself? Journaling is a great way. I find that the more I write, the more I’m able to reflect. It gives me the tools to ground myself and realize how I’m actually feeling in the day-to-day.
Most people wait for others to show them adventures that they’ve never experienced before. But you can expose yourself to new experiences on your own – often without leaving your own town or city. Almost every major city in the United States has a museum of modern art. Not in the mood for fine art? Go horseback riding, to a cooking exhibition, or to see a play. You can expand your world simply by stepping outside of your comfort zone.
There is a famous quote in To Kill a Mockingbird that says, “Everything must grow or die.” Life is about getting out of your comfort zone – it is about growing. Knowing who you are and having confidence in yourself is key to pushing boundaries and exploring the world – physically and intellectually.
Jennifer F. Beatty is the 19-year-old author of Point of Difference, a motivational book on how to become the best version of yourself. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and is currently a sophomore at The George Washington University in Washington D.C. The expected publish date of Point of Difference is 2011.