Here’s a tough question: How much time are you spending on yourself? If you’re a parent, there’s a good chance your answer is “not enough.” But… what do poems about confidence and self-esteem have to do with spending time on yourself? Well… everything. When you get stuck in a cycle without self-care, your subconscious is learning that others are always prioritized over yourself. This may lead to negative self-talk, feelings of guilt or low self-confidence. It becomes a vicious cycle.
The first step to taking care of yourself is loving yourself. It’s reminding yourself how incredibly awesome you are! Incorporating positive affirmations into your routine is a great way to remind your brain of your worth and retrain your thoughts to reflect that. Take a look at this curated poetry collection with self confidence, self esteem and self love as the common theme — they are short poems so they won’t take up too much of your time, and are guaranteed to inspire you:
- 1. The Optimist Creed by Christian D. Larson
- Rupi Kaur
- Nikita Gill
- Maya Angelou
- Yung Pueblo
- More one-off poems about confidence
- 24. I Love Being Me by Gemma Hayton
- 25. Strength, Confidence & Freedom by Marilee Morley
- 26. A Quiet Confidence by Rita Umali
- 27. If by Rudyard Kipling
- 28. Self-Confidence by Daya Nandan
- 29. What if I Fall by Erin Hanson
- 30. If I Should Have a Daughter by Sarah Kay
- 31. Self Love by Lang Leav:
- 32. A poem from Naked Human by Christopher Poindexter:
- 33. The Rebirth by Amanda Lovelace:
1. The Optimist Creed by Christian D. Larson
The poem is about inner strength and starts with a motivational suggestion: “To Promise Yourself: To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.” The rest of the poem gives more examples of exactly what you should do to proclaim your confidence with actions. Here’s the full poem:
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words, but in great deeds.
To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true to the best that is in you.
It ends with a bold statement to the reader—dare to think highly of yourself: “To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world.”
Instagram phenom and bestselling poet Rupi Kaur simply has too many quotable verses to pick just one. Her poetry touches on female empowerment and self-love regularly, hitting somewhere deep every time. Here are some of her best words on self-confidence and self-love.
2. I Am Complete Simply Because I Am Imperfect by Rupi Kaur
This piece can be found in Home Body, Kaur’s third book of poems, and is one of the author’s own favourite poems from her collection. Kaur urges you to accept your true self in this modern relatable poem:
we think we are lost
while our fuller
found and complete selves
are somewhere in the future
we get on our hands and knees
thinking self-improvement will
help us reach them
but this finding ourselves bullshit
is never going to end
i’m tired of putting off living until
i have more information on who i am
i’m a new person every month
always becoming and unbecoming
only to become again
our fuller selves are not off in the future
they’re right here
in the only moment that exists
i don’t need fixing
i will be searching for answers my whole life
not because i’m a half-formed thing
but because i’m brilliant enough to keep growing
everything necessary to live a vivid life
already exists in me
“We think we are lost while our fuller found and complete selves are somewhere in the future,” she starts, painting a familiar picture to Gen Z and Millenials who are trying to find themselves. She calls bullshit on it: “We get on our hands and knees thinking self-improvement will help us reach them, but this finding ourselves bullshit is never going to end.”
She ends with the realization that I am whole just the way I am: “everything necessary to live a vivid life already exists in me.”
Kaur shares many small bits of wisdom on Instagram, touching on a wide range of themes that connect directly with self-confidence. Here are a few examples:
3. Self love:
“I didn’t leave because I stopped loving you. I left because the longer I stayed the less I loved myself” – Rupi Kaur
4. You are enough:
“when you are broken/and he has left you/do not question/whether you were/enough/the problem was/you were so enough/he was not able to carry it” – Rupi Kaur
5. Inner strength:
“if you were born with/the weakness to fall/you were born with/the strength to rise” – Rupi Kaur
6. Self-awareness and healing:
“to heal/you have to/get to the root/of the wound/and kiss it all the way up” – Rupi Kaur
7. Beauty and confidence in diversity
“It is a blessing to be the color of the earth. Do you know how often flowers confuse me for home” – Rupi Kaur
8. The Poetry of You by Nikita Gill
This poem is like a love letter to yourself. Each line of her beautiful words could be written on sticky notes and posted around your home, serving as positive affirmations:
“You are not small.
You are not unworthy.
You are not insignificant.
The universe wove you from a constellation
just so atom, every fibre in you comes from
a different star.
Together, you are bound by stardust, altogether
spectacularly created from the energy of the
And that, my darling,
is the poetry of physics,
the poetry of you.”
The first words feel like a response to the negative thoughts that we’ve all had circulate in our brains at some point: “You are not small. You are not unworthy. You are not insignificant.”
She continues: “The universe wove you from a constellation, just so atom, every fibre in you comes from a different star.” The rest of her poetry weaves a stunning picture of why the universe wants you in it.
9. Reading Graffiti #8 by Nikita Gill
This is such a beautiful depiction of self-love. Read this poem every day and it will function is positive affirmations, rewiring your brain to believe how incredibly awesome you are. Everything you were ever looking for has been inside you all along:
“Nobody can love you better than you love yourself. Nobody can forgive your flaws better than you can forgive yourself. Nobody can accept you better than you accept yourself. Just look inside, and you will find all the things you search for in other people’s eyes.”
Maya Angelou is an acclaimed American poet, storyteller, autobiographer and activist. Her poetry seeps through your skin, into your blood stream. It’s impossible not to feel fired up by her words. She is inspiring and empowering. Her words and stories are timeless, and will be shared for generations to come. Here are a few of her poems that provoke themes of self-confidence.
10. Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
This famous poem was penned by one of the most famous authors of the past century. Still I Rise is the ultimate confidence anthem, as she stands strong against racism and hate.
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
This powerful poem is inspiring; Angelou’s confident presence radiates from the first line: “You may write me down in history / With your bitter, twisted lies, / You may trod me in the very dirt / But still, like dust, I’ll rise.” For the full poem, click here.
11. Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou
This poem captures the self confidence and comfort in femininity, even in the face of misogyny.
She gets right to the point in the first line: “Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size.” Although the speaker in the poem is not as skinny as society expects her to be, it does not have any impact on her self-confidence.
Her next line takes it to the next level and, honestly, shows all those who question her who’s boss (spoiler, it’s her). She literally does not care what you think of her: “But when I start to tell them, they think I’m telling lies. I say, it’s in the reach of my arms, the span of my hips, the stride of my step, the curl of my lips. I’m a woman. Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me.”
By the next verse, it’s hard not to feel riled up, understanding that confidently loving yourself is an act of defiance. It’s a statement: “I walk into a room just as cool as you please, and to a man, the fellows stand or fall down on their knees. Then they swarm around me, a hive of honey bees.” She exudes a charming sense of self-love and self-acceptance, symbolizing powerful femininity.
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Throughout the poem, she provides so many colourful examples of why you should love the incredible woman that you are: “It’s in the arch of my back, the sun of my smile, the ride of my breasts, the grace of my style,” as well as “It’s in the click of my heels, the bend of my hair, the palm of my hand, the need for my care.” Empowered yet? The full version can be viewed here.
12. Be Yourself by Ellen Bailey
This is a simple poem written in simple, conversational language that anyone of any age could relate to:
Why would you want to be someone else
When you could be better by being yourself
Why pretend to be someone you are not
When you have something they haven’t got
Cheating yourself of the life you have to live
Deprives others of that only which you can give
You have much more to offer by being just you
Than walking around in someone else’s shoes
Trying to live the life of another is a mistake
It is a masquerade; nothing more than a fake
Be yourself and let your qualities show through
Others will love you more for being just you
Remember that God loves you just as you are
To Him you are already a bright shining star
Family and friends will love you more too
If you spent more time practicing just being you
This poem spits truth in the way your best friend would while trying to convince you how awesome you are—almost angry that you dare to withhold love from her best friend: “Why would you want to be someone else when you could be better by being yourself. Why pretend to be someone you are not when you have something they haven’t got.”
13. Confidence by Anne Bronte
This classic hymn was written in the 19th century. According to Oxford Reference, “Anne acknowledges her depression and weakness, but affirms that God will give her strength.”
Oppressed with sin and woe,
A burdened heart I bear,
Opposed by many a mighty foe:
But I will not despair.
With this polluted heart
I dare to come to Thee,
Holy and mighty as Thou art;
For Thou wilt pardon me.
I feel that I am weak,
And prone to every sin:
But Thou who giv’st to those who seek,
Wilt give me strength within.
Far as this earth may be
From yonder starry skies;
Remoter still am I from Thee:
Yet Thou wilt not despise.
I need not fear my foes,
I need not yield to care,
I need not sink beneath my woes:
For Thou wilt answer prayer.
In my Redeemer’s name,
I give myself to Thee;
And all unworthy as I am
My God will cherish me.
O make me wholly Thine!
Thy love to me impart,
And let Thy holy spirit shine
For ever on my heart!
She begins with a timeless depiction of resilience in the face of oppression: “Oppressed with sin and woe, a burdened heart I bear. Opposed by many a mighty foe: But I will not despair.”
The poem builds and builds up to a final crescendo, urging the reader not to give up. The tone is elegantly desperate, and quite convincingly argues her point.
14. Keep Going by Edgar Guest
This poem was published in the Detroit Free Press in March 4,1921. Guest was known as “the people’s poet” and it’s easy to see why. Over a century later, his words not only still ring true, but mostly don’t sound out too of date. This poem isn’t trying to be mysterious with its intentions. It’s clear in its encouragement and empowerment of the reader, urging that you have confidence in yourself and keep going when the going gets tough.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
And the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than it seems
To a faint and faltering man.
Often the struggler has given up when he
Might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are.
It may be near when it seems afar.
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit.
It’s when things seem worst that
You musn’t quit.
Yung Pueblo is the epitome of a modern poet, with over 2 million Instagram followers who are dedicated and engaged. Many of his poems and prose are about self-love, confidence and growth.
It’s hard to pick just one, so here are several examples of his inspiring words on confidence and self-love:
“True power is living the realization that you are your own healer, hero, and leader. it is when you share your truth with compassion and peace. your power grows when you make progress in your own freedom and wisdom. those who are truly powerful do not harm themselves or others; instead, they use their energy to enrich all they know with love.”
16. You have overcome so much already:
“You have walked through fire, survived floods and triumphed over demons. Remember this the next time you doubt your own power.”
17. Fill your own cup first:
“I can only give to you what I have already given to myself. I can only understand the world as much as I understand myself.” ~ Yung Pueblo
18. Understanding other people’s perspectives:
“It is easier to let go of someone’s opinion of you when you understand that others see you through a combination of their past conditioning and their current emotional state without realizing it, they see themselves first, and through that lens they get an unclear picture of you.” ~ Yung Pueblo
“Self-love is a sincere acceptance of the past, an agreement to make the most of the present and a willingness to allow the best to occur in the future.” ~ Yung Pueblo
20. Personal growth:
“One of the clearest signs of personal growth is greater self-love, self-awareness, and love for all people.” ~ Yung Pueblo
21. Perseverance through change
“Your growth in the midst of a big leap forward; hold steady and allow yourself to bloom.” ~ Yung Pueblo
“a hero is one who heals their own wounds and then shows others how to do the same” ~ Yung Pueblo
“I trust and feel at home around the ones who are not afraid to be vulnerable with themselves, who live confidently in their power and gentleness, who try their best to live without harming others, who are serious about their growth and healing, and who have the humility to say, “I do not know.” ~ Yung Pueblo
More one-off poems about confidence
24. I Love Being Me by Gemma Hayton
This poem is as sweet as sugar. It’s simple, plus easy to read and understand, but its simplicity is what makes it special and impactful.
It’s not clear who Gemma Hayton is, nor the original source of this poem, but we are able to gather some information from the poem itself. We know that the speaker is in a wheelchair. She accepts all of her abilities as they are, and urges those around her to do the same. She loves herself despite any limitations. That is true confidence and self-love. Here’s an excerpt (view the full poem here):
I can’t run the fastest
I can’t swim the sea
I can’t type the quickest
but I love being me
I can’t kick a ball
or even climb a tree
I can’t roll in the grass
but I still love being me
You see, this is my life
as others would see
they don’t know what it’s like
to really be me
So next time I’m about
rolling down the street
don’t think of me disabled
but someone cool to meet
25. Strength, Confidence & Freedom by Marilee Morley
Strength comes in many forms,
It comes in physical aspect,
Or in a silent mind,
Still it is in many forms.
Confidence is being true to oneself,
Being who you are,
Not following a path that is already laid out,
But making your own by mending it with every step.
Freedom is their so you can do so,
To stand for what you believe in,
Guide yourself in your own beliefs,
Yet stand for those who can not.
Strength is power in so many different ways,
Confidence is being to be who you are,
Freedom is a gift not a right.
26. A Quiet Confidence by Rita Umali
out of darkness
you called me
you set free
my crippled heart
my broken soul
a midst the storm
you put me
and granted me
peace and joy
against the turmoil
of the world’s woe
you healed the nightmares
of the past
made whole my life
created a new creation
a beautiful one
Lord you put new hope
in my heart
my spirit drowned
in your love
with a new day
not with fear
but just a quiet
in my God
who will strengthen me
27. If by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!
28. Self-Confidence by Daya Nandan
Building up self-confidence is a vital thing,
For it can put you on the path to becoming a king,
Self-confidence for making decisions and taking chances,
Self-confidence for success in future advances,
You need self-confidence no matter what you do,
For without it you cannot unlock potential so true,
Be it in studying, relationships or winning a fight,
Having low self-esteem is being lost in darkness without light,
Build self-confidence inside, nourish the spirit within,
Let it radiate through your actions and your outer skin,
Embrace self-confidence, let it be your life’s magic key,
For it will open many doors towards a brighter destiny,
Believe in yourself, self-confidence will plant the seed,
And in time it will bare the fruit of courage that you need,
It will aid you greatly, a means to change the circumstances ahead,
Use it wisely and well but never let too much get to your head.
29. What if I Fall by Erin Hanson
“There is freedom waiting for you on the breezes of the sky. And you ask “What if I fall?” Oh but my darling, what if you fly?”
30. If I Should Have a Daughter by Sarah Kay
This is spoken-word poetry performed in a TED Talk. It needs to be watched to be fully appreciated. You won’t regret it.
31. Self Love by Lang Leav:
“Once when I was running, from all that haunted me; to the dark I was succumbing- to what hurt unbearably. Searching for the one thing, that would set my sad soul free. In time I stumbled upon it, an inner calm and peace; and now I am beginning, to see and to believe, in who I am becoming – and all I’ve yet to be.”
32. A poem from Naked Human by Christopher Poindexter:
“Fall in love with expressing yourself. It does not matter how you do it. You understand, creature? Dance until your feet erode into the earth, sing until your lungs cave in, be silent until the world understands the absence of noise is beautiful. express whoever you are because what you are is essential.”
33. The Rebirth by Amanda Lovelace:
“Journey as far outside of your comfort zone as you can possibly go. Evolve so magnificently that you make even butterflies jealous. Take risk after risk after risk.”