I am on the West Coast right now. My older brother just graduated from university today. Now my family and I are enroute to my little brother’s high school graduation from Fountainview Academy, a small boarding academy in British Columbia, Canada. I graduated from the same high school two years ago. A lot of my friends will be back for this graduation–it’ll be a mini high school reunion.

I went to grad last year as an alumni to see a few of my close friends graduate. I had lost quite a bit of weight at that point. This will sound extremely vain, but it was nice to be seen by my friends in a “new and improved” body. When I started binge-eating and gaining the weight back, I became terrified to see old friends. “They will notice I’ve gained weight! They will think I’m so fat!”

This upcoming mini reunion has stressed me for the past six months. Over and over again, I would tell myself, “Just lose the weight by the time grad comes around. Just eat less and exercise more.” But my life was completely out of control. The more I restricted, the more I binged. As grad approached, I tried even harder, but to no avail.

Now we are on our way to my old high school, and I weigh as much as I did when I graduated two years ago. All the weight I lost I have gained back. And yes, as hard as I try to have a positive attitude, it is still discouraging.

However, as we were driving, I had a thought: people don’t think about me as much as I think they do. One of my favorite quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt says:

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what other people think if you realized how seldom they do.”

This quote always puts life into perspective for me. Basically, everyone in the entire world is too worried about themselves to even give you a second thought! Like really, how much time do you spend thinking/talking/judging your friends? I guarantee it’s not even close to the amount of time you spend thinking/talking/judging yourself.

So you gained a few pounds. Or maybe you gained 30 pounds like me. People aren’t thinking about you. I swear. Give yourself a break. Trying to impress the world is so exhausting–I know, I’ve been trying basically my whole life. So much effort for such a pointless task.

Can you imagine how nice it would be to do whatever you want and not worry about what other people are thinking of you? Guess what? You can. So go conquer the world and do amazing things! I believe in you.

Another thing to remember is this, “Confidence is beautiful.”

Ladies, there is nothing worse than a man or woman who is constantly seeking validation from the world. Find validation in yourself, in your achievements, in your hard work, in your compassion, in your talents, in your passions, in your loyalty, etc, etc, etc.. Don’t look for validation from others; if you do, you will never feel validated. Confidence is beautiful.

I used to think that confidence was a trait you either had or you didn’t. Nope. It is a learned trait. Act confident, even if you don’t feel confident. I promise, it will improve your interpersonal relationships, your work relationships, and completely alter your outlook on life. As you practice acting confident, you will learn to be confident. And there is nothing more glorious than a confident woman.

So there you go. Two important points to remember:

  1. No one cares.
  2. Confidence is beautiful.

As an added bonus, here are a few tips on being confident:

  1. Stand up straight: hold your head up high and keep your shoulders back. A good posture does wonders. Plus, it’s really good for your health.
  2. NEVER talk bad about yourself. EVER. No: “I’m so fat,” “I’m so dumb,” “I’m so ugly,” “I’m so…..” Just don’t.
  3. Start quieting the internal negative self-talk. It’s far easier to stop talking bad about yourself to others than it is to stop talking bad about yourself to yourself. If you start thinking a self-deprecating thought, take a deep breath and say at least one positive attribute you have. Say it out loud if you can.
  4. Smile. Every time you look in the mirror, smile at yourself. It might sound funny, but just try it and let me know how it makes you feel.
  5. Tell yourself: I can do this. Because you can. And even if you can’t, you can try. Putting in your best effort is what counts.
  6. Affirm yourself. Spend a minute every day telling yourself what you like about yourself. Even if it’s hard to think of something to say, don’t stop until you have at least one thing: “I have nice teeth!” “I have nice-looking eyebrows.” “I’m a talented musician!” “I’m a compassionate person.”
  7. Be thankful. Spend a few minutes every morning or evening (or both) thinking about what you’re thankful for.
  8. Have a good attitude. Be happy, be positive, be creative, be kind, be thankful, be aware, be meaningful, be friendly, be you, be in the moment, be curious, (I could go on, but you get the point).

Keep your head up. I’m rooting for you!