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Self-confidence is a big deal; it shows how much we like ourselves. It’s essential to have because not having much can hurt you in ways it hurt me. I was never the good-looking kid in my elementary school, and I wanted to be that. It all started with, let’s say, women. Girls in my grade would always make fun of me because I didn’t have smooth skin or I was too skinny, or just my face, in general, looked ugly. Ugly is a strong word; it signifies being unpleasant in appearance. I don’t think ANYONE would like to be called ugly. It’s such a mean word, and it can hurt people. I learned from my years in elementary school; sometimes people can hurt.

I got used to being made fun of; I don’t know why people were basing their judgment of someone’s personality off of their looks in elementary school. Sometimes it’s hard to overcome, and by the time I was in 6th grade, I was done with all the people making fun of me. I knew I had to change. Eventually, I don’t know exactly how it happened, but I started not to care what people say. Their opinions didn’t matter; the only idea that matters is mine. It’s called self-confidence. Not a lot of people have it, and it’s a rare thing among people these days.

I just wanted to tell you that you can have it too. It’s beneficial; I don’t care if your body doesn’t look how it used to, or if you wear makeup every day, or even if everyone thinks your face looks terrible. I want you to mute those opinions and focus on yourself because, at the end of the day, you are you. No one else gets to make decisions for you. You get to decide for yourself. I don’t want anyone to hate themselves because other people said so. They don’t make those decisions for you. I went through a hard time, and I still do every day. Do you know what I tell myself?

Nathan, you’re handsome. You are not skinny. You look great today. I compliment myself because I know how I look. No one else knows you better than you know yourself. So after you read this, I need you to compliment yourself and show the world that you are not what they tell you.

© Nathan Prince. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.