AP English Language
14 December 2007
I Believe in the Power of Self-Confidence
What is self-confidence? Arrogance, say some. Cockiness, others. I believe self-confidence is something that happens when the person you are and the person you want to be overlap. The more continuous the two become, the closer to the perfect ‘you’ you get. These people, the confident people, don’t alter their behavior; they don’t change their clothes if it’s the new trend or laugh if the joke doesn’t appeal to them. They talk how they want, act how they want, and think how they want. They’re the person they want to be. Their closest friends are the ones who understand and accept them, while at the same time fill the personality gaps they cannot. I’m jealous.
My brother, also a band member, had a whole posse in band. I did not. The band program introduced me to a group of people who had obviously known each other since middle school. Right away I realized how difficult it would be for me to fit into such a tightly knit circle. Inside jokes flew right over my head, but I laughed anyway: maybe the pretense could pass as real, just till I got to know them. Little did I realize there was a spot waiting for me in this symphony of relationship, and all I had to do was take a seat and add to the harmony. I might as well have thrown down my instrument and hollered opera.
Pretense evolved from an escape to a habit. I put on a mask. I became self-conscious, depending on other’s input on my reactions to determine how I felt, what I became. But why? I was afraid, afraid that I would end up playing a solo piece to an empty auditorium, alone.
I grew closer to one of these people, and as I got to know her, I began to loosen up. Eventually, I began to tell her exactly what was happening to me. In a confident manner, she introduced me to a new, alien approach to life. She advised me to stop talking or acting whenever I realized I was playing into others’ appeal. With that motive in mind, I took off, but I soon realized it was more difficult than I had imagined. I took the mask off; now I needed to figure out who, exactly, donned it.
Time passed, and with it came instances where I would shine through. I’m still nowhere near perfect: there are countless days when I feel off-kilter, out of place. But I realized I can turn those days around with a little self-confidence and free will. I also realized that the people I spend time with don’t just accept who I am; they unleash it.
Now I surprise myself with the different emotions I can demonstrate. But I don’t dwell on those moments, either. I live them to their fullest, and then let them go; soon another will come along. Now go, surprise yourself. Try it.
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