The idea of being confident is played out. It’s easy for celebrities and mentors and friends to encourage you to be yourself, love yourself, and express yourself. It’s so easy to tell each other to be confident that the phrase loses its meaning. Not to mention, being, loving, and expressing yourself is nearly impossible when you’re still constantly developing as a person. I want to suggest a new form of the idea of confidence, I call it not giving a fuck.
This may seem a bit brash, and to this point, I concede. Changing the cliched confidence narrative to a short, profane contradiction of said narrative is bold, but I promise I have a point. At all ages, but especially in our youth, self-definition is unclear. The “be yourself” motto is hard when “self” is in a state of change. It causes confusion and frustration to tell someone to be something that isn’t clear. That’s where my motto comes in: I’ve decided that instead of being “myself,” I’ll be whoever I want to be. Instead of constantly reminding myself to be who I am, which is redundant and unhelpful, I aim to try to be who I want to see myself as in that moment. At school, I am a studious observer. At parties, I am adventurous and flirty. In the end, I’ve decided I don’t really need to give a fuck about who my true self is. I am who I’ve decided I want to be. In this way, I create space for growth. If I come home at the end of a night with friends and decide I feel like I was annoying or rude, I change the thought pattern or behavior I used through the night. I grow. I allow myself to grow by admitting that I don’t really know who I am, and I frankly don’t care. I am what I define myself as. This breeds confidence naturally. Instead of accepting the self that everyone has told you needs acceptance, change what you don’t like, until you love how you are. As long as these changes are for yourself and are genuine, they become a valid alternative to the overplayed “Be yourself” song.
Outside of personality, another place where many struggle with confidence is body image. The slogan here is that we should “love who we are” and be “body positive” all the time. I call bullshit. It is 2018, so I think it’s time to admit that being body positive is an unending journey. It doesn’t matter if you look like a beanpole, an orange, or a pear, it’s likely you’ve struggled with body image at one point or another. Telling you to love who you are would feel unfair, because it’s so much more complicated than that. Let me simplify: stop giving a fuck. If we can look at our bodies and decide to care less about their outward appearance, so many problems disappear. Instead of standing in front of the mirror and agonizing over every flaw, try looking in the mirror, acknowledging the good and the bad, and walking away. It is a conscious decision that we make to care about specific things. If we can say “I don’t like my legs, but I love my abs,” or “I wish my biceps were bigger, but I have great calves,” and just accept that, then, when the things we don’t like change, we are pleasantly surprised, and if they stay the same, it’s okay. The decision to care about things besides what you dislike about your body is challenging, but the reward is worth it. To be able to look at your nose, or your thighs, or your stomach, or your shoulders and say “I don’t like it, but I don’t care enough to let it affect me,” is powerful. We can acknowledge our struggles without giving them power over us.
All in all, the “not giving a fuck” principle is fairly straightforward. If you have a problem, you can decide whether or not it is important enough to direct your attention to. Confidence should be constantly changing with you as you grow. If you become confident in your goth girl stage, but don’t carry it into your art hoe phase, all the work it took to become confident is lost. So, let your confidence be personal, dynamic, and based on what you actually care about. To the rest, I say, fuck it.