Confidence is probably one of the most attractive qualities a person can have. Yet, ironically, it can be very difficult for people to allow themselves to feel confident. Between influences of the media and the general tendency to compare oneself to others, a person’s self-esteem can plummet without much effort.
Besides formal psychiatric, cognitive behavioral and pharmaceutical therapies, there are simple steps one might take to help combat these feelings of low self-esteem. One such outlet may be in the form of a hobby.
This might remind the reader of the trite age old expression, “Hey, why don’t you get a hobby?” This expression is often used in response to the gloomy Eeyore character trope who is always in some sort of depressed rut. This isn’t to say that depression can be cured by simply finding something to distract oneself from the real underlying root. No, what I’m getting at is an effective yet unassuming method of boosting one’s confidence while still staying true to one’s core identity.
Hobbies can serve various roles in helping to build confidence, and there are several levels to this process.
First, a hobby is an outlet to escape the sometimes mundane, unappealing and even disappointing aspects of our lives. When you’re sitting in your room trying to teach yourself a few chords on the guitar, you are entering a new world, one which consists only of what’s going on in your creative headspace. Many people find this headspace to be a relief from the thoughts that often plague our minds.
Secondly, hobbies are an avenue to finding an applied purpose. One of the common tenets of low self-esteem is a seeming lack of purpose. Sometimes it can be difficult for you to believe that you’ll find your true purpose or passion. However, even if baking or photography (or whatever your favorite pasttime may be) doesn’t become your career, you know that you have a way of bringing joy to people in the form of delicious pastries or bringing new life to moments and places people might take for granted in the form of your art. There’s meaning there that can’t
Moreover, hobbies can physiologically boost one’s mood and, thus, enhance one’s confidence. If fitness becomes your new hobby, for example—and only when done in a healthy and non-obsessive manner—it can generally raise one’s endorphin and dopamine levels to the point where one’s attitude toward life and oneself is made significantly more positive.
Finally, a good hobby brings pride. I’m not talking about the abrasive and dangerous “seven deadly sins” level of pride that tends to be off-putting. I’m referring to the natural pride one should have in oneself for simply being a living, breathing human being with thoughts, dreams and talents—even those that have yet to be realized. When you find that hobby that makes your proud, you want to show it off, not to be braggadocios, but because we are all meant to share our talents with each other in what is known to many philosophers as the human connection, the human experience.
So, share your next published article with your Facebook friends, invite your friends to your hacky sack championship tournament, sing your heart out at open mic night. Most importantly, don’t be too shy to find the thing that makes you happy. Try new things, do what you love, and always take care of yourself!