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Daphne’s Dispatch: Self-confidence comes in waves

Self-confidence comes in waves. It's normal. It’s an occurrence that hits you in times when you're around many people your age, such as in college.

The University of South Florida Counseling Center describes self-confidence as “an attitude about your skills and abilities.” Self-confidence within ourselves even means that we accept and trust ourselves while having a sense of control within our lives. 

A myth about self-confidence is that it is linear and follows an all-encompassing path that we are all following. That is simply not true, because our day-to-day experiences affect our self-confidence. Even something as simple as the way someone starts their day can have a massive impact on how they feel as that day goes on. 

Self-confidence is all about control. In college, for example, it can be hard to find control in a daily routine between course loads and managing relationships. By establishing a morning routine with tasks, you will feel accomplished and proficient, boosting your confidence.

Self-confidence also helps us feel prepared for new life experiences, whether that is meeting people or starting a new job. The readiness to attempt to accomplish something that is outside your comfort zone is achieved and if not, our confidence helps us try again.

Self-confidence, as it has its ups and downs, is the sort of trait that can be learned over time. As we enter new environments and experience different friendships and attitudes toward life, we adjust naturally as we take in the new context around us and look to others to see how they manage. 

However, observing our peers' attitudes and habits can also have downsides such as comparing yourself to others, but this is also normal. Especially in college, we’re around people our age with similar interests, and we can become too critical of ourselves and our mistakes. Self-confidence works hand-in-hand with self-compassion. 

Ultimately, the answer to how we navigate this lies in patience for ourselves every step of the way. As written in a Forbes article by Luciana Paulise, “Self-compassion is essential for building self-confidence.” It is about avoiding negative self-talk holding you back from achieving goals or putting yourself out there. Paulise explains that instead of focusing on your mistakes, focus on what you can learn from them and delve into the learning process that strengthens your self-confidence. 

Paulise explains further, writing, “The people you surround yourself with can have a significant impact on your self-confidence.” By surrounding yourself with people who motivate and believe in you, you are boosting your confidence further. It’s almost an internal voice saying, “I’m proud of who I surround myself with.”

When we are in environments with others with similar interests, such as college for example, we become extremely hesitant to make mistakes or quickly sweep them under the rug and wish to never think of them. By embracing failure, you will build resilience, which will give you the confidence to make mistakes that will only better you in the long run. You’ll even feel more inclined to take risks that will ultimately build your self-confidence to do it again.

The days when you feel your self-confidence lacking can serve as a clear indicator that a lifestyle choice can be altered or changed. It is normal to feel extremely confident one day, and not confident the next. Wavering self-confidence is normal and it means you are aware of yourself and the learning process that is self-confidence.

Daphne Graeter is a junior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Let Daphne know by emailing her at


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