I was an anxious, insecure, and unconfident girl in high school.
But I was determined to shed this version of myself in university and adulthood.
So I allowed my peers and society to shape who I was, what I did, and what I valued to become confident and feminine.
Here's how my view of being a feminine, confident woman has evolved from 19 to 29.
I lied about losing my virginity.
In my first week of university, a guy in my dorm asked me if I was a virgin. I said no (I was).
I thought it would make me more wanted, confident, and sexy if I said I wasn't.
That's just one of the ways I tried to fit the "popular" girl as portrayed in the media.
All throughout my early and mid-20s, I thought I had to be wild, loud, and outspoken. I believed that's how a confident and feminine woman behaved.
But the thing is… I'm not naturally like that. I'm actually quiet and reserved around people (unless I'm with a close group of friends.)
And because I didn't fit that stereotype, I felt embarrassed. I felt ashamed of myself. And I felt like something was wrong with me.
So I drank and smoked to achieve that popular girl persona. I tried to be someone I wasn't. I let society and my peers shape who I was and what I did by default.
That's how I could become confident and feminine, right? Wrong.
I had never felt more insecure and unhappy. And I hadn't a clue why at that time.
It was only after starting my self-awareness journey that I realized I felt insecure and unhappy because I was doing things I didn't want to do. I was acting like someone I wasn't. And I was being someone I didn't even want to be.
Since then, I've gotten to know myself on a more profound level: my beliefs, my values, and the life I want to lead. And now?
I'm the opposite of all that I used to do. You'll hardly find me at a bar, club, or drinking. I'm in bed by 9 PM most nights. I love solitude: journaling alone, reading alone, walking alone, writing alone. And I'm okay with being quiet. Once you realize most conversations are built on complaint, criticism, and comparison, you just have a lot less to say.
So here's what I've learned: A confident, feminine woman is a woman who understands herself and is authentic to herself.
"Do you have any other shirts besides crop tops?"
A friend asked me this one night at a bar. I was taken aback, confused, and embarrassed.
At the time, I thought to myself, "I mean… Obviously, I had shirts other than crop tops. Why did he ask me that?"
In hindsight, I always wore crop tops when I was around him and his brother. Why?
Because I wanted their attention. I wanted them to think I was attractive, sexy, and beautiful.
I thought wearing revealing clothes attracted men, so I wore them.
That was one of the ways I sought validation from others.
At the time, I also posted a lot on Instagram and Snapchat, from walking my brother's husky to filtered selfies to a night out at the club.
Why did I document every part of my life for everyone to see?
Because it felt good when I got a like. It felt fantastic when people commented. And I felt worthy when someone watched my stories.
But here's the thing. That feeling of worthiness was dependent on others. Temporary. Fragile.
Then after my last relationship ended, I knew I wanted to build my self-worth independent of external factors.
Since then, I've traded revealing clothes for more conservative ones, and I've swapped the majority of my social media time for other hobbies like writing.
Because I've learned to validate myself. Because I've learned that a confident and feminine woman is a woman who has self-worth, who values herself, and who respects herself.
Now, I'm not saying it's bad to show skin or post on social media.
It's more about the intention behind it.
For me, I was doing both to feel worthy and loved.
So today, take a moment to reflect on why you wear the clothes you do and why you use social media. Is it for validation? Or for yourself?
The intention matters.
"What are we doing this weekend?"
That was the most important question to me during university.
Looking back, I didn't have much of a life outside drinking, clubbing, watching anime, reading manga and books about vampires and werewolves, and exercising (sometimes).
So yeah, I didn't do anything creative, productive, or nurturing. Why?
Well, I honestly couldn't tell you. I guess I just didn't know how, didn't know I could, didn't know I had to do things to take care of my mind, body, and soul to feel confident, feminine, and happy.
I just did what everyone around me did at the time. But now?
I've realized and learned that a confident, feminine, and happy woman is a woman who invests in herself, cares for herself and loves herself.
So, reflect: Do you learn? Do you have a project you're working on? Do you have discipline, consistency, and grit in pursuit of your goals?
Do you exercise? Do you go on walks? Do you spend time in nature? Do you get good sleep? Do you eat well? Do you manage your stress? Do you drink enough water?
Do you journal? Do you practice gratitude? Do you spend time with loved ones? Do you do things that excite you?
Checking these boxes is how you become a confident, feminine, and happy woman.
Today's Action Step
Today, take 15 minutes to reflect on your life.
It's best if you do it the old-school way with a pen and paper to write down your thoughts and feelings.
Think about how you feel after being around certain people. Think about how you feel after doing certain activities. Think about your beliefs and values. Think about who you want to be. Think about how you spend your time and money and if these habits are in alignment with what you value and your future self.
The bottom line is this: If you aren't happy about yourself and with how you've lived your life, you can change.
Start by taking responsibility for your choices. Cultivate self-awareness of your beliefs, values, and intentions. Then, ensure your actions reflect who you want to become.
This is how you'll build unshakable confidence and embrace your unique sense of femininity.
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