Confidence in yourself is absolutely critical to living a joyful life. If you don't trust yourself, you will find people and things to place your trust in, and you'll slowly give away your power.
You'll notice that the happiest people you meet are those that are truly confident in themselves and their abilities. They know themselves, their strengths, their weaknesses, and they accept it all fully and completely. They aren't trying to be something that they are not.
Society wants you to believe that self-confidence is something that comes from the approval of others.
This is why you see so many people attempting to gain self-confidence by hitting the gym every day (for vanity purposes, not health reasons), conforming to society's idea of fashion, spending money on material possessions they are lead to believe they need and many other silly games. They are seeking their validation in the approval of others and so they run in circles trying to please person after person in hopes that they will one day feel like they are enough.
If society can succeed in convincing you that your confidence lies in the approval of others, you are more easily controlled. You can see this is as clear as night and day when you look at advertisements on TV. Almost every single one is attempting to sell you something by showing you how trendy and accepted you'll be after you buy their product. They manipulate you based on your fears of being alone in order to make a quick buck.
If you only feel good about yourself whenever you have been accepted and approved of by another individual, you can never be free.
With this mindset you will always be a slave to your ideas of what you should do and who you should be and you never truly get in touch with yourself.
The path to true happiness lies in self-acceptance and self-validation. What you might normally consider confidence is nothing but a false bravado used to mask hidden anxieties and fears.
True confidence isn't ego.
It is the complete acceptance of oneself, faults and all.
When you release the idea of trying to become who you should be as dictated by society, your parents, your friends, and so on, you gain a new sense of freedom. You stop running around in circles trying to please everybody and for the first time you don't care what anyone else thinks. This is an absolutely beautiful state of mind to be in as you finally start to follow your own ideas and become who you were meant to be instead of fitting into the mould everyone else has for you.
As corny as it sounds, human beings are like snowflakes where no two of us are even remotely alike (I told you it was going to sound corny!). We each have a unique blend of strengths, talents, weaknesses, characteristics, life experiences, and so forth.
We are each so different from one another that it would be incredibly foolish to try and be like anybody else. We are each our own geniuses and we must identify this genius and develop it if we are to ever be fully fulfilled.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "There comes a point in every man's life when he realizes that envy is ignorance, and imitation is suicide."
Think about that for a second... What a powerful quote that is! Jealousy is ignorant because we each have our own individual strengths and to wish you had someone else's strengths is silly. Imitation is suicide because by trying to be somebody else you kill your true self in the process.
You are a unique and talented individual with an extraordinary amount of you qualities. Look inside yourself and try and identify where you might cultivate your own form of genius. Stop trying to be someone else.
Take some time with a journal and a pen and begin searching for your true self. Who are you and what can you become? Find where you could excel if you tried and you will find your true calling, your heart's path.
True happiness lies in the realization that you yourself are enough.
Your acceptance is the only acceptance you will ever need and nobody else's opinion really matters. Recognize your genius and do your best to share it with the world.
All advancement of any kind has always depended upon an individual sharing his unique genius in a way that we could benefit from. It is selfish of you to hold your true self back in order to blend in. Your responsibility is that of shining your light as bright as you can and showing by example that it's okay for others to do the same.
To summarize this entire article I want to share a quote from Marianne Williamson. It's honestly the best quote I've ever come across as it so accurately describes how most of us are living our lives today:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."