I was nervous, but deep down I knew gaining confidence began with faking it first. I took a deep breath and ran my fingers through my hair one last time before I made my entrance. With a wide grin, I opened the school doors and walked in with my head held high, ready for my usual A period class. I walked with good posture rather than my usual slouch. I smile and make strong eye contact at people I pass in the hallways as if I was fully secure. After what felt like forever, I arrived at my class and exhaled. “That wasn’t so bad,” I thought to myself. I smiled knowing that I was one step closer to gaining real confidence.
In an age where social media and influencers exist, it’s common for many of us teenagers to feel insecure about ourselves, whether it’s about the way we look, the way we act, or even the things we like. The only way to fight those insecurities is having confidence – even if it means faking that confidence. Eventually, you’ll gain the confidence you once dreamed of having.
Confidence is something so many teenagers, including myself, struggle with. We are often anxious to express our thoughts and opinions because we are afraid of judgement from others. So many opportunities, such as joining a club, are lost because we are so worried about what other people will think. It doesn’t happen overnight, but when you gain self confidence, it feels like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders.
When I first entered high school I felt so insignificant, but at the same time, I felt like everyone was watching my every move. Until this year, I didn’t realize how many important missed opportunities there were my freshman year. I didn’t join any clubs, or try to make new friends, and sometimes wouldn’t answer questions in class even if I knew the answer. I was so caught up in wondering if people would think of me as a geek, or a nerd if I joined certain clubs or participated in class.
I never observed how much this lack of confidence in myself took away from my life until I was introduced to many things I wanted to get involved in. At the end of freshman year, I wanted to join new clubs, meet new people, and learn new things. I knew it was time to change when I realized how many opportunities there were for me and I needed to gain confidence and try something new.
At first I wasn’t even sure how to become more confident. Some people can gain their confidence quicker than others. Nonetheless, gaining confidence takes a lot of effort. An article named “When to fake it till you make it” written by Amy Morin from Psychology Today, states “research shows that changing your behavior first can change the way you think and feel.” This leads to the concept of “faking it until you make it.”
I had seen a lot on social media about how most of the time, influencers “fake” having confidence and security and it eventually leads to them gaining real confidence. At first, many people may think this method would be inefficient, because it sounds like you are just hiding your insecurities and putting up a front. Kaila Macmanes (‘22) says, “faking confidence is never going to get you that real sense of confidence, in my opinion.”
However, Morin states, “faking your confidence isn’t about being phony or unauthentic. It is about changing your behavior first and trusting the feelings will follow.”
Personally, I feel Morin’s statement is accurate. I tried the faking it until you make it method and in just a couple weeks, I already felt more confident. At first, I started by just talking more in class and having people hear my thoughts and ideas. Seeing people react positively gave me a sense of real confidence. It gave me reassurance that my opinions and inputs were valid. After weeks of just participating more in my classes, I felt like I was ready to participate in extracurriculars my freshman year.
The first club I joined was the math team because I had heard good things about it. I had joined the team very late in the year, so everyone already knew each other. I remember feeling nervous because I didn’t know everyone on the team that well, but I tried to my best to fake my confidence. I did this by coming to the club prepared, and tried to carry myself well by maintaining good posture and such. And once again, it worked. My fake confidence helped me make friends from the team in just one day. Seeing that I was able to make friends so easily gave me some more real confidence and as each day passed, I felt more and more confident.
The ORHS school psychologist, Hannah Cunningham, explained that she’s had to fake her confidence as she is new to the school this year, and also happens to be one of the younger staff members. She stated, “I’m still learning how to advocate for myself, but when I do feel confident or at least fake confident, I feel like my voice is being heard.” She explains that faking her confidence has helped her feel more connected to her work as a psychologist and able to express her ideas more.
Cunningham related faking confidence to the Law of Attraction. She explains that the Law of Attraction is when positive thoughts lead to a positive outcome or negative thoughts lead to a negative outcome. “People think that somehow your thoughts are the type of outcome that happens.” She continued on to say, “having confidence is about having faith in yourself and picturing that positivity and using the fake it until you make it method, will help you gain real confidence.”
With confidence, there’s so much you can accomplish. Jayson Blaisdell (‘22) stated “I just think it’s important to trust yourself, because you need to [trust yourself] before anyone else will.” As someone who always tries to be outspoken, Blaisdell said “[Having confidence] has been so helpful, especially in sports… it allows me to take risks, to reach out, and try new things.”
Soon after I started having real confidence in myself, I noticed myself valuing other people’s opinions less. Having confidence helped me make myself a priority and that other people’s opinions shouldn’t affect the way I live because it is my life, not theirs. I learned to value myself and work at becoming the best version of myself. I started joining whatever clubs I wanted, talking to new people, and always trying new things.
Not only has gaining confidence helped me in school activities and such, but it’s helped me realize how I should be treated by others. Macmanes stated, “you have to value yourself enough to know how you deserve to be treated in friendships and other relationships.” Macmanes statement is accurate and gaining self confidence has helped with knowing my worth. Having confidence allowed me to stand up for myself in any friendships or relationships. This is important because no one should ever continuously walk all over you and mistreat you.
“Being confident seems like such a good feeling and I wish that for everyone,” says Macmanes. I fully agree with Macmanes. Everyone deserves to feel confident but it’s hard to believe in yourself and do what you want, especially when it feels like the world is watching and judging you. A good way you can start is to fake it until you make it. Rather than expressing your insecurities to everyone, act as if you don’t have any. Envision the best version of yourself, and you will become it.
Artwork by Sofia Sarzosa (’22)