When I was a kid, I had a hard time “fitting in” and feeling like myself. I remember getting a negative comment on my report card: “Huong talks too much in class.” And if you know the Asian culture, daddy sure did talk to me about it. From that day forward, I didn’t talk much in my classes and became more shy than I was before. I was made fun of, didn’t have a lot of friends, was “skin and bones” skinny, wore huge glasses, got braces and had asthma.
I know, I was the perfect combination as a made-for-the-movies target for bullying.
I wanted to “be normal” like the other kids. I didn’t want to have asthma so I could run and play sports. Sports was my thing, but being short of breath pretty fast after a sprint was embarrassing and not fun. I also remember forcing myself to eat the same amount of food as the neighborhood kids ate when they came over. Again, I wanted to gain weight and “be normal” like the other kids, but I ended up feeling sick because I stuffed myself.
Needless to say, I had no self-esteem and wasn’t confident in myself.
It wasn’t until I got into dance in high school that my belief in myself and my abilities grew. I also gained muscle, got contacts and took my braces off (finally, after five years) so that helped. After I left my dance life behind, I started searching for what I could do with my life outside of my day job. That was when fashion came into play. I opened a free WordPress blog in 2006, but didn’t post consistently until 2011.
Before Instagram and the word ‘influencer’ was coined, I just shared my faith, sense of humor, new-to-me artists, some of my travels, my poetry, photography, thoughts and more. My first ever outfit post was on September 6, 2012. After that post, my life and wallet belonged to Forever 21, Zara, Old Navy, Target, Express, Payless, JCPenney, Ann Taylor, Victoria’s Secret and lots of J. Crew. I mean, a lot of J. Crew, haha!
And I was on the up and up…until May 2013.
I started doubting myself, questioning my actions and ended up becoming stagnant.
I was afraid to keep going and had so many questions. Most of all, I cared about what others thought of me. From that point on, my self-confidence took a tumble.
On January 12 2017, I took a huge leap to trust God and myself again to do what I love: writing. Coupled with writing, I started to share my love for faith, fashion, beauty, home, travel, personal development and wellness. At first, it was hard adjusting to blogging five days a week with a 9 to 5 job, but once I got the hang of it, I started to really love what I was doing.
Aside from sharing my favorite brands and products, it was important to me that the content I created would be valuable. Talking about finding one’s identity and building self-confidence is one of my main passions so that’s why you see a lot of here on the blog.
That’s when I realized one more thing: what I’m wearing really helps boost my confidence too. That’s not to say that I don’t struggle with it from time to time.
For me, clothes just help me on my “off” days. And yes, I feel that my personal style is part of my identity.
When it comes to being comfortable in your own skin, I feel that some people are searching for ways to build their confidence up. However, they’re really not sure how to do it or where to start.
Today, I wanted to share five of my personal pieces of advice about building self-confidence:
IT’S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT YOU.
I know, this post is about building yourself up, but at the same time, I’m serious. Life is not always about you. When you take the focus off of you and help others, you’ll find that you’ll feel less pressure. You’ll feel more like yourself when the spotlight is on someone else and that’s when you start to feel more confident. Weird, right?
For instance, if you’re a car salesperson and want to sell a car, the focus needs to be on your customer and what s/he wants not on how you sound or look. If you focus on what others are thinking about you in regards to how you’re coming off and if you sound like you know everything, you won’t land that sale. Trust me.
“LOVE YOURSELF” MEANS LOVING ALL OF YOU
The stripes on this jumpsuit reminded me of my own stripes: scars. For mothers out there, scars are earned stripes. For us women who don’t have kids yet, our scars are nothing to be ashamed of. I know what you’re about to ask me. “What about people who get plastic surgery or botox?” Now more than ever, people are getting plastic surgery and fillers. And it may be because they don’t like something about themselves. Or it could be that they just want it for that little extra boost.
With the rise of social media, selfie-awareness is real. And I think because of things like Photoshop and getting the “perfect” body, selfie, whatever, it’s really veered us away from loving ourselves to the fullest.
I was once asked that if I could change one thing about my face, what would I change? I said nothing, but that if I had to choose to change one thing about my face, I’d change my nose. Hear me out. The reason why I would change my nose is because I literally don’t have a bridge and wearing (sun)glasses is difficult. That’s it. I say that because I’m truly happy with how I look. Wearing (sun)glasses on a hot, sweaty day? Annoying.
Am I saying that people who get plastic surgery or fillers are bad or wrong for doing it? Nope. If they’re already confident and want to, more power to them. If they don’t have self-confidence and it helps them, then okay. To me, confidence comes from the inside. Because knowing who you are and loving everything about yourself is true self-confidence.
WHAT YOU WEAR MATTERS
Say whutt? Yep. What you wear matters when it comes to being comfortable in your skin. Personally, I love a good jumpsuit so when I saw this striped one on a last minute shopping trip before my vacation earlier this fall, I knew it would instantly be a power item in my closet.
Once you find a style that boosts your confidence, wear more of that and watch yourself actually feel good! My kind of style is similar to that of my favorite UK blogger, Lydia. Here’s a power dress I love that she wore, this casual dressy look has my name all over it and this super dressy and edgy outfit that’s my spirit animal.
Once you find your style, make it your own and I promise you that you’ll learn how to be very comfortable in your own skin. Style isn’t everything, but it absolutely plays a part in how you feel about yourself.
DO MORE OF WHAT YOU LOVE.
I’m serious when I say this. But doesn’t it make sense that when you do more of what you love, you’re happy? And when you’re happy, you’re more confident in yourself? Oh and the more you’re confident in what you love doing, I think you’ll become this person called an expert. Yeah. That.
And guess what the bonus is? People (like me) like happy people!
READ MORE. A LOT MORE.
The more you know, the more of an interesting person you are. And the more of an interesting person you are, the more people gravitate to you. Am I right? So, what’s one of the top things you can do to become more of an interesting person? Read! Trust me when I say that the more you read, the more confident you’ll be. Why is that? Because when you’re having a conversation, you’ll actually have something to talk about instead of reverting to the usual weather talk. And when you find that common ground with the person you’re speaking with, the conversation is much easier and a friendship can blossom faster than you think!
Experiences like bullying, being mistreated in the workplace and being talked down to effects our self-confidence.
At one point for me, I didn’t know how to deal with feeling inadequate because of those experiences. My belief in myself took a tumble that I actually asked myself if I was dumb. Once I got past feeling inadequate, I started to really feel like I was showing the true me.
However, I learned that being comfortable in your own skin is about accepting who and what you are. That involves your passions, interests and gifts/talents. What other people say and think about you shouldn’t matter to a point where it takes over your life.