Probably one of the most common pieces of advice people will give you is ‘just be confident,’ but for many people that’s easier said than done. What does it really mean to be confident? A common misconception about confidence is that it comes from thinking you are good at something or that you are a good person in general. The problem with this is the measurement we are using to determine that we are ‘good’.

Huntington north high school senior, Emma sitting in a natural environment for her senior pictures with feather and key photography.

Some people base their confidence on the judgments of others, needing the approval and acceptance of their peers, family, or society. By allowing our self-esteem to be reliant on the judgments of other people, we are really making ourselves the victims of the meanest, most judgmental people with no option to ‘win’. This source of confidence will never be enough, and will even have the opposite effect of fostering insecurity. How can you be confident when you’re always on trial?

HNHS senior Josie hoola hooping at the heirs park fairgrounds for a summer themed photo shoot with feather and key photography.

But here’s the secret: true confidence comes from not judging yourself at all. It’s a mental state of unbothered, of non-worry, of accepting yourself as you are, rather than in comparison to others or to an ideal standard. You can only be truly confident if you change the habit of judging yourself, it won’t come from asking yourself if you are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ at something - it comes from not even asking the question. A lack of confidence is really the flip side of judging people. If we spend our time comparing ourselves to others and judging who’s ‘better’ it’s not surprising that they would feel insecure.

Rather than trying to artificially boost confidence by judging others or participating in competition, just opt out. You can start by offering yourself (and others) more empathy and less judgment. *

HNHS senior, Saige laying in a milk bath with floral elements for a portrait with Feather & Key.

This is exactly what Feather & Key photography is all about. This is a judgment-free zone! I’ve built this business on the concept of encouraging and empowering girls since 2010. That’s 100% what I do. A photo shoot can leave you feeling self conscious or it can be a huge boost to your self image and the way you feel in your skin. I work with each senior’s natural body language and guide and coach them into poses that flatter their body shape and personality. I want to bring the best you forward so that you can see yourself the way I see you: amazing, strong, funny, bold, soft, caring… those things that make you YOU.

Huntington North Senior Elizabeth Allred, in downtown huntington for her senior photos with feather & key photo.

*Excerpt from an article I wrote for NE Indiana Teen Magazine: Issue 02 Spring 2018.

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