• Katharine Schilling

COVID-19 & the Development of my Self-Confidence

Something I came to notice when social gatherings significantly decreased was how I presented myself when there was no one around to perceive me. I’ve often seen talk of how being stuck at home allowed everyone to discover more about themselves, and in this case, I think spending these months alone helped me find self-confidence, something I’ve lacked since I hit my teen years.


The exposure of social media at 13 set me up for failure, constantly shoving the lives of

beautiful, successful women down my throat as a reminder of what I couldn’t be. It was easy to fall into the mindset of never being good enough, as the people I was comparing myself to were far from real and were much further along in their lives than I was. How was I supposed to feel confident in who I was if there were millions of others who appeared so much better? I was a good student and a good daughter, but those weren’t enough for me to feel proud of who I was when my legs were too skinny and my skin wasn’t clear. The uncertainty of growing up is difficult, and teenagers don’t give themselves nearly enough credit.


But why is it that self-confidence in young girls and boys is so stigmatized? My peers

laughed at each other’s self-deprecating jokes but ridiculed those who presented themselves how they wanted to, confidently. Insecurity was admirable, normal given the circumstances, and

being anything else made you stand out. I felt that there was no room for me to feel pride in my

hobbies, or accept that high grades meant that I was a hard worker. If everyone around me hated themselves, then I had to as well. I learned to be doubtful of my capabilities.


Now that I am almost 18 and about to start an entirely new chapter of my life, I realized

just how much of my adolescence I have wasted holding myself back. There were classroom

activities, birthday parties, and extracurriculars that I avoided because I doubted myself and I

never gave myself the chance to succeed. With the current pandemic, I’ve had a lot of time to

think and consider who I am outside of the perspective of others. Why am I not confident when I

have so many things to feel confident about? No one should dictate how you choose to live. Take a step back from your busy life and think about who you are fundamentally when there is no mask you must put on for others, and no one you need to impress.

Now that I am almost 18 and about to start an entirely new chapter of my life, I realized just how much of my adolescence I have wasted holding myself back.

During these last few months, I’ve concluded that it only matters how you view yourself

and no one else’s opinions should influence how self-confident you are. If you can see your

accomplishments, your physical appearance, and your personality on their own, you can truly

understand how far you’ve come during your adolescence and feel proud of that. You don’t need

to live every day as if what you’re doing isn’t good enough— everyone’s journey is different and

there is a spot in the world for every unique individual.


If I could give you a few directions towards developing your self-confidence, I would highlight:


1. You need a support system. The people in your life should be cheering you on and

hyping you up! You do not need unnecessary negativity in your life.


2. Figure out what makes you, you. What are your hobbies? What qualities do the people

around you admire? There is so much about you that you may not know yet.


3. Feeling doubtful is ok. We are not perfect. Allow yourself to express doubt without

suppressing it.


Escaping doubt isn’t easy— it took me years to start making changes in my life. But what

I’ve learned throughout the process is that everyone is capable of feeling confident in themselves if they want to, it just takes time and assurance! You deserve to live comfortably, and you are someone that should be proud of all the different aspects that make up who you are. If you can look into the mirror and assure yourself with something as simple as “you’ve done well today”, you’re already one step closer to being a self-confident, growing individual.