The Confidence Paradox by Georgia Rosenberg, Age 17

We want to be confident leaders, but society sends us conflicting messages.

We are taught to speak up, but not too loudly. We know we must self-advocate, but not over step. We want to be "beautiful," but not promiscuous. 

As girls, we don't go a day without feeling the weight of the many societal pressures that inevitably surround us. It's not shocking to me that one in three girls with an above perfect grade point average deems herself not smart enough for her dream career. As girls, we are constantly reminded that we will never be enough. 

Young girls face pressures from all aspects of life - social, academic, physical, romantic. In the classroom, we are careful not to talk too much in fear of "annoying" our classmates. Whether academic or not, we are reminded that actively fighting for what we want will often be met with opposition and disrespect. Socially, we are hyper-aware of our friendships - or lack thereof. We challenge ourselves as we obsess over our phone notifications and seek validation from the number of "likes" we receive on social media. We are constantly surrounded by countless images of women with impossibly long legs and unbelievably flat stomachs that plague the media. Young girls often turn to unhealthy habits in an attempt to attain this unrealistic version of "beauty." We silence ourselves in fear of going too far. And though we may be told that we can do anything we set our minds to, it doesn't always feel that way. Just look at the 2016 election. It's no wonder we doubt ourselves - society doubts us, too. It's no surprise - there exists a crisis of confidence in girls and young women. 

So how can we fix this pervasive problem? What can we do, as girls, to build our own confidence and that of those around us? LiveGirl is a great place to start. In a community of young women, we can cultivate a positive, nurturing environment. Together, we can see our power, and show each other that our girlhood does not mean we aren't enough. Rather, it means that we are strong, powerful, and brave, and that together, we truly can do anything we set our minds to. I was fortunate growing up to have my two sisters as my self-affirming community. They showed me that with perseverance, passion, and hard work, we can make positive change.  For those of us who don't have sisters, or who simply feel that we lack a space to cultivate our confidence, LiveGirl is our place to do so. 

Society has ingrained in us the belief that a confident girl is to be looked down upon. It's up to us to challenge this pernicious ideology, and to show that we can - and we will - be confident. We must not regulate our pride or sense of self. Our world needs to hear the voices of LiveGirl's confident girls.

Author

Georgia Rosenberg is a LiveGirl Mentor, a senior at St. Luke’s, and a resident of Greenwich, CT.