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It’s no secret that self-confidence is a life-long journey for women. Throughout my teens and 20s, I was bombarded with perfectly airbrushed images and I felt pressure to look a certain way to be attractive/acceptable. In my 30s, I cared much less and began to embrace myself, “flaws” and all. It’s ironic as this is when the media starts to tell you that you’re too old. Well, with a little help from a great skincare routine and a little shapewear support to smooth out any little lumps or bumps, I feel like I’m having the last laugh by embracing self-confidence in my 30s.
When I was younger, I was painfully self-aware of how far I looked from the perfect images I saw in magazines. I was super skinny, lanky, wore huge glasses, had braces and frizzy, unmanageable hair. As a result, I was very shy and hated attention. Even having to answer a question in class would fill me with dread.
I spent much of my life being an ugly duckling so it was a huge shock when I turned into a swan. Eventually, my braces came off, I replaced glasses with contacts and got a decent haircut. Suddenly I had so much attention and truthfully, it made me uncomfortable. I wanted to hide. Life as a teen is brutal and I went from being ignored to being under the spotlight. The schools in my area all had anonymously posted “top 10” lists where girls’ looks were simultaneously praised and ripped to shreds and guys would lie about girls they hooked up with.
My self-confidence journey took a turn in my 20s. I shed the baggy tracksuits I used to hide in and started to feel much happier in my own skin. However, I was still heavily affected by images in the media and comparing where I “fit in” and where I still stood out.
I acknowledge my privilege as a naturally slim woman, my body type has always been represented in the media but that’s really where it ended. As a woman of colour, I was always comparing myself to the white, mainly blonde women I saw on magazine covers and in tv shows and movies. My dark hair and brown skin were never shown…unless it was a doctor or taxi driver with a thick accent. I wrote a post about why representation matters and the negative effect it has on your self-esteem.
In my late 20s, I started looking forward to the next decade and the peace I wanted to come with it. And with good reason. I really started to grow into myself in my 30s. I have come to accept myself and appreciate my “flaws” as part of what makes me, me. In my 30s, I look to external validation less because I learnt to love myself.
How to embrace self-confidence in your 30s
I wanted to share some ways which you can boost your self-confidence in your 30s:
Realise how strong you are.
You really grow through what you go through. From heartbreaks to awful jobs and bad friends, you have survived 100% of your bad days and that’s something to celebrate. Whenever I’m having a little wobble, remembering the hard times makes me realise I’m much stronger than how I feel in that moment.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
Appreciate that each person’s journey is different and it’s unfair to compare what may be your step 4 to someone else’s step 483. This is something I still have to remind myself often but comparison really is the thief of joy.
Accept your “flaws”.
After spending your 20s wanting to be like everyone else, embrace everything that makes you unique – including your “flaws”. Every quirk makes you a beautiful one-off. I used to be very conscious of my skin after suffering from eczema and it took a long time for me to see it as beautiful rather than something I want to hide.
Wear clothes that make you feel good.
Care less about slavishly following trends. Invest in better quality clothing and wear clothes that make you feel good. Looking back at some of my early blog pictures, I can see how awkward and unsure I looked wearing certain trends. Nowadays, I pay less attention to what fashion dictates and wear what I want. I’m so much happier for it
Feel good in the skin you’re in.
I’ve always been self-conscious of my skin and spent a lot of time and money on the wrong products. I started focusing on products to hydrate my skin in my 30s and my skin feels much happier. My favourite part of my day is now taking off my make up and having healthy, clean skin.
Surround yourself with good people.
Friends come and go in your 20s, the ones you have in your 30s are real ones. The ones who have stuck by you through thick and thin. Invest in the people who make you feel light and bring you comfort instead of drama.
The age of self-care.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself and your needs first. Carve out time in your day and week for yourself. I like prioritising yoga and meditation, which always centre me and make me feel glowy and happy.
And there you have it, my top tips for owning self-confidence in your 30s. If you have any tips to share, please leave a comment!
Photography by Kylie Eyra.