Recently, I was prompted by my english teacher to complete ten written entries over the course of a week. (Entries entailing anything from crazy 2 a.m. thoughts to wild made-up stories were acceptable.) For a blogger, that type of challenge is nothing but a dream come true. However, if you run out of ideas, finishing the task might be a tad bit grueling.
And by the end of the week, this happened for me. At a complete writers block, I had no other choice but to finish my tenth and final entry sloppily. Sitting in the cafeteria the morning of the due date, I pulled from the very surface level of my imagination. I titled my paper "What Makes Me Confident" and began listing random things that made me have a high self esteem. But just as I began to write down the second bullet point, one of my friends sitting next to me came up with the idea that I should go around surveying people about what makes them confident.
I thought this was a brilliant idea, and after only about thirty minutes of walking around, I had collected some pretty interesting information.
Not too surprisingly, every single one of my peers stated that their physical appearance made them confident; Whether that be the clothes that they wear, how successful they were at putting on makeup that day, or how their hair looked. And I know I can say that's also true for me- How I look in the morning does tend to determine my level of confidence for the rest of the day.
But what caught me off guard about this small experiment, was the difference between the teen answers I received and the adult ones. (Since I also asked some of my teachers.)
I didn't even expect to see a variance between the two, yet after the first couple of answers I collected from my teachers, it was clear that there was contrast between my generation and it's predecessor. Instead of the typical 'looks' answer I received, my teachers told me that their confidence came from things like, life experience, their personality, and being organized and prepared.
After seeing this data, I couldn't help but wonder what caused the imbalance between the two generations. Was it because we were raised differently? Was is due to social advances? Or is it because of the media and its shift in focuses over the years?
Turns out it's due to pretty much all three of those factors. In doing some research, I found out that one of the reasons why my teachers found confidence in personality and experience, was because they grew up in the generation of firsts. They saw the first woman to become a news broadcaster, the first woman to become a lawyer, the first woman to brake out of the stereotypical teacher or secretary roles. Women of my mothers generation were empowered by who they were, what jobs they had, and the success they made. Because unlike my own generation, they didn't have opportunities at their finger tips; They had to work for them.
And with this, the women of the contrasting society never grew up the same way as my generation. With technology and social media in our reach, the generation I've grown up in has been full of nothing but harsh standards and benchmarks. Magazines, movies, and social media all contributing to the twisted reality that we live in, the reality that by not looking a certain way means a unhappy life.
While I could go on for paragraphs about social media, the main thing is, is that people and what they find their confidence in, has changed. With opportunities readily available for teens my age, and the constant influence of social media, girls all around the world are caring less and less about who they are and what they've accomplished, and more about what they look like to other people. They put on a mask that shows how happy and successful they are, not caring about what they look like underneath.
So with this, what would you say your confidence lies in?