I was all set to post about this new red dress from Ashley Stewart today when I got online and started browsing my Faturday Night Live Facebook feed.
Maybe it was fate or maybe just coincidence but either way, I started to notice a trend in the posts on my newsfeed. Several of the people I follow had commented or shared something about confidence.
Such a tricky subject. And such an elusive little devil.
Throughout my life, people have commented about my confidence. Sometimes I can tell they are genuinely drawn to my self-assuredness and maybe even curious how they can become a more confident person. Other times, it feels a little like a back-handed compliment or a passive-aggressive suggestion that maybe my confidence is unwarranted because of my size or some other silly standard to which I don’t measure up.
When asked about my confidence, I have a hard time giving a concise answer. I attribute part of it to my upbringing. Parents and Grandparents who told me I could do or be anything. But that’s the way a lot of parents and grandparents are, right? The catch is that you have to believe them.
And I guess I did.
Admittedly, some of my confidence also came from my ability and my successes. I was a fairly high achiever when it came to academics, athletics and the myriad of other things one gets into in their formidable years. This can be a slippery slope though. If ALL of one’s confidence stems from society’s definition of success, what happens when failure occurs.
And it will. Trust me….eventually, it will.
Over the years, I’ve tried to hone in on what confidence is and where it comes from. I’m sad to say, I don’t have all the answers. However, I have been able to key in on 3 things that I think everyone needs to understand about being confident.
And, of course, I’m going to share them with you!
Confidence does not mean NEVER feeling insecure.
Here’s a very recent example of this. I can usually go out for a fun night with friends and rarely give thought to what others are thinking about me – about the way I dress, the way I dance, the way I laugh too loud and so on. But sometimes, insecurities creep in. And the problem is, they never announce their arrival, they’re just like – BAM! In your face!
Saturday night, while celebrating a friend’s upcoming wedding, I was at a popular hangout for college students. As I maneuvered my over-sized rear end through the crowd of very pretty, cookie-cutter co-eds and very young, eager frat boys, I got the distinct feeling that a group of them were talking about me. Fact is, I don’t know that for sure but insecurity slapped me in the face and shouted, “they’re probably wondering why a fat, old woman is in their midst and why on God’s green earth she’s wearing a tutu!”
It was a sucky feeling, yes, but here’s the rub. It was temporary. That temporary insecurity does not negate the fact that I am still a confident woman. The trick is where you place your focus. I could have focused on that group of college kids for the rest of the night and missed out on a great celebration with friends. But I didn’t. I shook it off (with my best T. Swift impression) and refocused on what really mattered. My friends. The people who love me – fat arse, tutu, and all! Consequently, it was arguably one of the best evenings I’ve had in a long time!
2. Confidence doesn’t mean everyone likes (or agrees with or approves of ) you and what you do…
It just means that you’re okay even when they don’t.
You’ve probably heard that quote in some form or fashion before. But it’s worth repeating. If you equate confidence with popularity, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Truthfully, some of the least confident people I’ve ever known were popular people.
If your self-worth is coming from what other’s think, then know this. People are fickle. It’s the equivalent of building your house on sand rather than rock. At some point, the foundation is going to give way and you’re going to be left with a collapsed structure. (And yes, I stole that illustration from the Bible.)
The point should be made that this is also the problem with finding confidence in your ability or your looks or anything else that is temporary.
3. Confidence is a journey but also a choice.
Am I more confident now than I was when I was 16? Yes. (Which is funny considering that I am over 100 lbs. heavier, 36 and single, and not a millionaire yet. )
This tells me that confidence is a journey. BUT, I believe that it is also a choice.
A while back, I made the choice that I was going to be the type of person who pursued her dreams and goals. I made a bucket list and I set about the task of checking things off. I firmly believe this simple action has greatly increased my confidence.
I can’t necessarily explain the science or psychology or whatever behind it but there is something about accomplishing a task (that you specifically set out to accomplish) that bolsters confidence. Whether you actually make a checklist doesn’t really matter (unless you’re like me….bless your little, Type A heart!) but it’s the act of setting and achieving goals, big or small.
The added bonus here is that not only does it give the confidence level a boost but it enables you to look back on life with fewer regrets.
Confidence doesn’t have to be so elusive.
My sincere hope is that by living a confident and happy life (regardless of my size or success or bank account or surroundings) I can get more people – especially women – to follow suit.
Love & Confidence,