my definition of confidence

Young Woman from the Boni Yaou Family, Djougou, Benin photograph by Alfred Weidinger

One of the most powerful things you can have as an individual is the understanding that absolutely no one can invalidate you or make you less of a human being. No matter what name anyone calls you, you are good. No matter how anyone mistreats you or fails you, you deserve goodness. No matter what challenges you face or shortcomings you may have, you are worthy of love. When you know that, you will not let anyone mistreat you. You will not believe the bullshit they heap on you. Their words and actions may sting, but you will have dignity. And instead of internalizing their evil, you will look the cowards in the eye and see their pain, and you will respond with love. For them and for yourself.

┬áThat’s confidence.

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If You Are Worried About Love

Love Me Tender
If you’re worried about love
choose to trust
that people are not lying when they say “I love you,”
because lying about love takes too much goddamned energy.
Instead of worrying
work on being someone you can love.
Know that no one can diminish you.
No one can make you less human.
No one can make you less worthy.
You are as deserving of love as the most innocent newborn.
Furthermore, you are capable of giving yourself the love you need.
In fact, you are the only person who can do that.
No matter how many times they say “I love you,”
or “you’re beautiful,”
you will never believe them until you know it yourself.
Look in the mirror.
See how much you want to be loved.
Could you give yourself that gift?

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