Fear-Less: Building and Maintaining Confidence and Presence

Grace Assogba

How do you build a presence in this digital age when as easy as it is for you to be uplifted and empowered, it’s just as easy to face harsh critique to the point where you don’t want to indulge on social media? How does that transfer over to the real world when you need to maintain your confidence without a mask?

At some level, or some instance, we’ve all faced insecurity, judgment, and doubted ourselves and our abilities. Whether it was through the media, social networks, in real life (ouch), at school, or our jobs, have you ever had to question if you were good enough? Intelligent enough? Could you do the work? Was this your place? At the root of these questions is doubt. But how do you start eliminating that doubt if you aren’t aware of how it subconsciously influences you daily?

It’s funny to me because we see people that we think are the most confident, and we never talk enough about how difficult that journey to finding confidence may sometimes be. Take Lizzo, for example; everyone was on her case for what she was wearing to a basketball game, for even having the courage and fearlessness to be herself, wear what she wants, and to not give a damn. When it came to her, the conversation wasn’t about policing people’s bodies, how the memes and the hatefulness were maybe tearing down her self-esteem, and affecting her mental health. All of these reasons and more left unsaid.

When I look at Lizzo, her work, her videos, her presence…I see confidence. I think ‘what a confident, unbothered Black woman.’ But that’s just the type of thought process and thinking that in the moment, that appearance of confidence and control stays forever, like a tattoo. ‘Oh, she’s so confident, bold, I mean she could do that so she must have thick skin, she can handle the comments.’ That’s not fair, nor should it be. Often this is the same thought process that we invoke on ourselves, not giving ourselves space when we feel bothered, to process, or feel hurt, keeping up the appearance that everything is ok.

Like Lizzo says in her music, the truth hurts. Inner truth hurts, and so when you’re looking for the ‘key’ to confidence, to being a boss, you have to realize that finding that is internal. It’s in building your self-worth through your understanding of where you want to be, not by the things, people, actions, or appearances that give off a perception of confidence. Because if your presence isn’t centered in your self-assurance and security, you’re easily susceptible to the trap of insecurity.

This is not to say that insecurity fades or that these tools that I’m telling you are magic, and if you follow them, you will never feel unconfident. Instead, this is to help you find confidence and to understand how to build your presence by creating spaces, whether mentally, physically, or emotionally that can reinforce self-awareness, reflection, and breed growth. So that when you reach your confidence, as Lizzo and people attack that, things chip away from your self-assured mentality, you understand that leaving twitter is not a failure or does not mean you’re any less confident. Instead, leaving twitter for Lizzo is helping her stay confident and maintain her platform because she’s protecting her mental health and the access that people have to her.

So if you want to not only build your confidence and presence but maintain it, I got you!

1. Find and create spaces of self-development, not self-destruction 

I told myself at the beginning of last semester that if there was ever a space, I didn’t feel happy, accepted, loved, and appreciated I would leave. Sometimes we force ourselves to stay in places that are no longer benefiting us for the appearance of what it may present. Sometimes it’s because everyone else is hyping up where you need to be at this moment of your life, but that’s not what’s best for you. This can also look like doing what you think is right versus what you feel is better. Don’t play yourself, and don’t lie to yourself. Don’t waste your time in negative spaces or with negative people. Challenge creates growth, not doubt, know the difference. As J.Cole said, know the false prophets. 

2. Create outlines for your life, but always keep an update button 

God does laugh when we make plans. When things don’t work out, or people don’t work out, understand that change should be positive. Don’t be afraid to try a different route; it’s often better than projecting failures onto yourself that you’re uncertain of. ‘They must have rejected me because I’m not good enough’. Bye. Please. Sometimes people’s actions are not because of us, but because of them and whatever, they’re going through. When you understand this and apply this to your relationships, professional career, or whatever aspect of life is relevant, you will genuinely be unbothered and look for the next step. There is always a next step. 

3. Love Yourz

Comparison is the thief of joy; I don’t know how many times that has to be said across your timeline. You are your only competition, and that’s not being arrogant or cocky, but it’s about understanding that the only limitation to your success is your willingness to invest in yourself. This is meant to be applied broadly; however, the context may differ. I’m not saying ‘we all have the same 24 hours’ because we really don’t, and equity can do more good than equality at times. What I am saying is you have to appreciate yourself and give yourself more credit because it’s a marathon, not a race.  

4. Say it with me, “The presence of ____ is not the absence of my ___.” 

The most confident people have affirmations and reminders. Oprah does meditation and prayer, and Tyler Perry just built a studio, Will Smith has just started an instagram where he is sharing his life, lessons, etc and Jada created Red Table Talk. All of those things help them to affirm their purpose. Some people work out, and some meditate, some dress up and plan photoshoots. The most confident people always have some form of affirmation; you have to find what that looks like to you, whether it’s material or internal. It’s the meaning that matters. 

If you find these to be helpful, you have tools that you use or want to speak more about this topic, leave a comment or email us at vyntagegenz@gmail.com