Leading You to Love of Self: How to Find Confidence


confident photo


By Raqiyah Mays

I wasn’t always confident. Like many women, I’d dim my light and numb my voice to let others speak. I’d play the back and pretend to be more comfortable in silence rather than stepping to the front. I remember coming up with reasons to not share accomplishments: “I don’t want anyone to think I’m bragging.”

So I became a talented shadow artist. Defined by author Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way, shadow artists are those who are “Too intimidated to become artists themselves, very often low in self-worth to even recognize that they have an artistic dream, these people become shadow artists instead…. Shadow artists are to be found shadowing declared artists.”

I did this for years in journalism. Interviewing those I secretly wanted to be like. Those who were unafraid to be themselves. Fearless in self-promotion. Dazzling in standing out, speaking out loud, doing what needed to be done. I quietly admired them while secretly criticizing myself for not being brave enough to take the leap to be like them and follow dreams unapologetically.

The truth is that even in my new found confidence, where I am now living my dream of being an author, speaking regularly, living in my purpose of motivating, informing and inspiring, I still battle fear. The truth is that nearly every single day, I have to give myself a pep talk to channel the courage needed to step into the light alone, share personal insecurities, and give advice gained from hindsight 20/20 vision. But I’m not alone. With research (yes, I researched confidence) I found that other powerful women are just like me. They too feel fears. They too have moments of self-doubt. They too battle insecurities. It’s normal.

So now, I make a daily conscious choice to remind myself of the famous Nelson Mandela quote: “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,” he said.  “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.”


WBLS’ very own Raqiyah Mays is an author, journalist, and empowerment activist. Her debut “Self-help” fiction novel “The Man Curse” (Simon & Schuster) is available for digital download at themancurse.com.


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