health student life

The power of self-belief: my journey…

Written by Alex Ramsden

When we look at ourselves and our lives, what do we see? Honestly. If, like me, you have a history of thinking in a negative manner and seeing results reflect the thought process, then I invite you to follow me on this journey.

Self-discovery is a big, scary notion that a lot of people never fully understand. This is something that cannot be seen physically, but felt and reflected on emotionally, even spiritually. If you look at yourself in the mirror and see success and self-confidence then please share your secret because I know that a lot of people see the things they wish weren’t there…for years I suffered from scarred acne on my chin and it became a real issue of self-esteem. However, embracing the blemishes and the creases in, not just your face, but your life is a major step on the voyage towards self-discovery and confidence.

Bruising knock-backs

Poor self-confidence became an obstacle for me to navigate. I missed out on a lot, didn’t do what I could have done and, at times, let my insecurity win the battle because it felt like it was inevitable. I didn’t do my A levels straight after leaving school because I had a real fear of the unknown. The world outside your school mates. A first step into the uncertain territory of “Oh fuck, I’m out on my own.” After wasting away two years of my life doing something I hated, I decided enough was enough. I want to do something more academic. I can do something more academic. The shift in positivity didn’t happen overnight, it was a bruising series of knock-backs, frustration and somewhat minor victories that didn’t seem to amount to an awful lot. It’s looking back on this episode in my life that spurs me on to do even better.

The moment you begin telling yourself that you ‘can’ is the day that you start to respond accordingly. I’m saying this from personal experience. It isn’t easy but by the same token, it can never be impossible. I can go to university replaced ‘what if I don’t get the right grades?’. I can work my way into the writing industry conquered the much-used ‘no matter how good I think I am, there are hundreds better.’ It was believing in myself, confident not cocky, that enabled me to pass my A levels, get a degree and sit here writing this.

Happiness culture

It helps to surround yourself with like-minded people, the kind of people who help you to create memories and get actively involved in your life. When you find these people, keep them close. At university, I was fortunate enough to be a part of a happiness culture, born out of self-belief that making friends was important and first impressions were vital. However, the very moment you put yourself under pressure is the very moment when self-confidence is at it’s shakiest.

Courage does not spring up immediately, it needs time to be properly cultivated and grown, plant-like until a time when it begins to germinate naturally. If you find yourself in situations that are new or uncomfortable then making the best effort you can to embrace it can set you on your way. When I first walked into the door of my university halls, the first time I got on a train by myself, even when I started my job- these were all times that felt uncomfortable, nerve-wracking or different. They were also times when believing in yourself that you are destined to be there and that you have earned that holiday, that university place, then you can start to feel the self-confidence bubbling away nicely.

Negative chatter

There are many people who would rather you were knocked back or who believe you are not good enough. The minute you begin telling yourself these things is the minute when the little voice in your head starts it’s negative chatter and the rest of you reacts and responds in the same way. I’m no psychiatrist but I feel like having faith in yourself and instilling faith in others about you is an everyday occurrence and you should be telling yourself that you look great, feel great and are going to make yours, and your friends and family and co-workers, day great.

I’m not really as miserable as my appearance may seem, I am a firm believer in educating yourself in creating happiness, thinking positive, showing empathy and sincerity when needed and in believing that the only thing stopping you from achieving self-confidence is yourself.

If you’d have said to me in the summer of 2012 that I’d hold a bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree, a job, a car, a roof over my head and a positive mindset then I’d have called you crazy. There is a fine line between bragging about your accomplishments and being proud of them. There is a difference between confidence and arrogance. There is nothing wrong with believing that you can make a success of yours, and your close ones, lives.

When you look at your life, what do you see? Family, fortune, freedom. We are very lucky to be who we are.