Think of the word CONFIDENCE. What thoughts or emotions arise?
To those of you who didn’t bat an eye or squirm uncomfortably or even understand why such a word could evoke anything other than a casual self-assurance — good for you! You’re way ahead of most women!
For the rest of you who grimaced, glanced away, or experienced discomfort — I’m totally with you.
Just this morning I was looking at pictures posted from an event I recently attended. As I viewed myself literally through someone else’s lens, those all-too-familiar feelings of discomfort and disappointment crept through my mind and body.
I’ll spare you the details of why I cringe when I see photos of myself laughing or captured at certain angles, but suffice it to say, I wouldn’t have posted those pictures of myself….
And yet when I see pictures of other women, especially those whom I appreciate and love, I rejoice with them in that captured moment of carefree laughter. I’m not critiquing their hair or makeup or size; I’m happy for them because they’re happy!
Just as we typically see the best in those we care for, I believe they see the same in us.
Your husband, kids, family and friends love and enjoy you for YOU — not for what you can do or say or create or even how your look.
WHAT DO YOU ROCK AT?
Despite our insecurities, we all feel confident in some aspects of our lives. Maybe you totally rock at this mom gig; perhaps you have the rare gift of recognizing your own outward beauty; it could be that you cook or bake incredibly well; maybe creating beautiful music or stunning art is your forte; or perhaps you aren’t afraid to try new things or meet new people.
Think of at least ONE THING you are confident in. Now, hold onto that. When you doubt yourself or feel like you can’t do anything well, remember that you are totally awesome in that area!
I’m confident when I travel and explore unfamiliar places. I thrive on the discovery, adventure and beauty in traveling, and rarely get intimidated by new places!
Despite having confidence in traveling and some other areas, I’m totally insecure in so many ways. I’m afraid that since I’ve sucked so badly when I’ve tried something before, it’s pretty much pointless to try again — so sometimes I just don’t.
PARALIZED BY THE FEAR OF FAILURE
Seriously, if you asked me to successfully make a craft worthy of display, self-doubt (and past experiences) would whisper to me that whatever I make will probably turn out horribly.
Lacking confidence in making crafts might seem minimal, but it’s the manifestation of a deeper issue: the fear of failure.
It’s heartbreaking to think of all the experiences and knowledge we miss when we give into the fear of failure and don’t even try!
Well, I don’t want to let self-doubt or the lack of confidence keep me frozen in fear. I don’t want to miss out anymore!
CHANGING MY MIND SET
For the past year I’ve been working on overcoming this fear of failure by changing my thought process about what failure really is. I’m trying to see that failing essentially means to be imperfect at something. Since hardly anyone can be perfect at anything, we’re all actually in good company!
Sure, it’s unrealistic to change my mindset about failure (or anything) overnight. However, it’s totally doable to alter the way I think each day, little by little, by proactively identifying negative thoughts and trying to turn them positive and hopeful.
GOOD OL’ PINTEREST
Another area in which I lack confidence is the kitchen. A typical experience in my house is that I’ll try a Pinterest-inspired dinner recipe — and it’ll totally flop. Not only does it look nothing like the advertised picture, but it’s hardly even edible! (“We’re having cereal for dinner!”)
Does this experience make me a failure of a mom who should never try cooking again? Obviously not, and I make sure my thoughts don’t let me believe otherwise. I choose to see it as a cooking lesson of what to do (or not do). Learn from it and move on!
GET UP AND TRY AGAIN
Maybe public speaking terrifies you but you’ve been asked to lead a community event. Instead of letting your inner critic (that negative voice inside you) tell you all the ways you’ll mess up or the myriad of reasons why you’re not up to this, remind yourself that this a fabulous opportunity for you to be imperfect at and learn from.
You could also borrow some confidence from that area you know you’re amazing at. Use that as a reminder of how competent you actually are.
And if you stutter or mispronounce some words or even trip in front of everyone? Life will go on, I promise. Besides, most of the people there won’t be critiquing you; they’ll just be grateful they don’t have to speak up there!
A close family member actually locked her knees while speaking in church and passed out cold. Did people mock her, shun her, laugh at her every time they see her? Of course not! More importantly, she didn’t let one embarrassing experience stop her from ever speaking in public again. Years — and many speaking opportunities later — she now owns that stage when she’s up there!
While practice may not make you perfect, it’ll at least make you better and more confident.
And ladies, confidence in yourself will kick the fear of failure out the door (where it belongs)!
LEARNING FROM FAILURE
Failing, or being imperfect, is not a bad thing. Not only do we learn what works or doesn’t work, we also discover so much about ourselves along the way.
Staying holed up in our room — frozen by our own insecurities — is a waste of all the incredible things we have to offer!
As a 38 year-old woman, it is high time to embrace myself — with my beautiful imperfections both inside and out. I am who I am, and while I still have so much more yet to become, I’m pretty awesome already. And so are you.
HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH!
Ladies of all ages and sizes and strengths, it’s time we hold our heads high with mighty confidence. We are all exquisite in our own ways, both inside and out. Let’s celebrate ourselves and support each other.
I am loved just the way I am, as are you. I am not everything to everyone — nor do I need to be. What I do need is to challenge myself, try new things, and to know that failing — or being imperfect — is just a normal step along the path of progression.
Truly the only real failure is not trying.
Just like you, I already know all of this. And yet, sometimes you need a pep talk full of reminders you already know but forget to believe, let alone feel.
I challenge you to stop criticizing yourselves and to, instead, focus on the good. Borrow confidence from another area to try something new (or again). View failure, or being imperfect, as a learning opportunity along the journey.
And most importantly, choose not to stay frozen in fear but to act, knowing confidence comes with practice.
Stop the doubting and start believing that you got this. Go and own your awesomeness!