I think Eleanor Roosevelt said it best when she said this about confidence "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself I lived through the horror. I can take the next thing that comes along."
I myself have struggled with having confidence in myself for years because of this constant struggle it has caused me to make some very poor decisions and to basically settle for less (so to speak). It was not until five years ago when I was diagnosed with HIV and my confidence hit an all-time low my lack of confidence started to show in my appearance. It was not until my first AIDSWATCH conference that I started to open up and learn to forgive myself for my lack of confidence. I was lucky to have the support from my daughter and my best friend that only helped me to build my confidence back up by showing me that I am stronger than what I think and pointing out my best qualities that I didn't know that I had. For me and others living with HIV having a support system while rebuilding our confidence is key to not only our physical health but to our mental health.
What I learned about confidence
One of the things that I have learned while rebuilding my confidence is that I have strength inside me that I did not know I had. Finding this strength has led me to become an advocate and use my voice to share my story and fight against stigma. Confidence has showed me how to love myself and who I am (I found out I am a pretty awesome person). Along with my newfound confidence my appearance and outlook on life has drastically changed. I AM ME.