The Overwhelming Issue of Self-Confidence | Teen Ink

The Overwhelming Issue of Self-Confidence

October 5, 2022
By miharu_isoya BRONZE, Cumming, Georgia
miharu_isoya BRONZE, Cumming, Georgia
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If all you ever do is look down on people, you won't be able to recognize your own weaknesses." - Bakugo Katsuki

"Move on, he's not worth it."

Throughout classroom literature experiences, we have read through several interesting and sometimes controversial texts. Such are the two pieces of literature I have chosen today that I feel should have an opportunity to be studied together due to the deep meaning and thought-provoking language woven into them; these two texts are “Number Two” from the Chinese religious text, “Tao Te Ching,” and the poem “The Beautiful Ugly” by Marshal Sowell. In high school, a problem that many suffer with is self-confidence, whether it be in their looks, their actions, or their character. These two poems shine a new light on this feeling, showing everyone that this does not matter, that you can find beauty in everything; just open your eyes and look, even through seemingly ugliness. “Number 2” shows how everything is laid out in a sense of partiality, “when people see some things as beautiful/other things become ugly” (Lao Tzu, 1-2). We humans only are so used to following trends and norms that are provided in society that we refuse to look at anything that is remotely repulsive. “Couldn’t ugly just be,/Another form of beauty?/A form not yet recognized by society” says Sowell in the poem “The Beautiful Ugly” (Sowell 29-31). The author in the first poem, Lao Tzu, goes on to talk about other things that have been dealt with an eye of partiality, while Sowell goes on to ask the world the true difference of being marked as “ugly” or “beautiful.” Both these poems use lines that conflict with each other, allowing the reader to be indulged in the story and truly take the time to sit and think about what they are reading. These two poems also address a situation in life that almost everyone goes through, whether male, female, or other. It shows a sign of representation for everyone, no matter who they are and how they look. Several literature pieces in classes dive in toward classics, showing us what happened back then; even the poems written provide their own type of meaning. However, I feel that these two poems being read and assessed in classrooms could be for the betterment of many, empowering those who feel lost and grounding those who are too high off the ground. As a person who has and still is struggling with self-confidence problems myself, after reading these two poems I realized that there is no such thing as “beautiful” or “ugly;” but as long as we choose to indulge in these fantasies and keep these separated with a thick line as opposites, nothing will be able to be seen in the same way ever again. The longer we keep this type of literature away from students, the less equality society will see. In the end, although these two texts are pieces of literature that many may not have even heard of, studying and understanding them in any type of environment will truly be beneficial for people now and for the world many generations to come.

The author's comments:

Self-confidence, self-esteem, self-respect; all of these are phrases my brain tends to completely ignore when it comes to myself. Looking around me, everything in me plummets; why is everyone so much better than me, prettier than me, talented than me. I constantly compare myself with my own friends. She looks so nice always, so pretty, her smile is so good; why can't I be more like her. As something I've always been scared to talk about due to the social stigma and pressure, I want to get representation of it integrated into school classrooms themselves: helping us, and many more future generations to overcome this invisible weapon of self-destruction.

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