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Learning Confidence

Sep 28, 2021

Confidence—is it just another word we use to describe ourselves and each other, or does it have special meaning? There are so many other words that can describe the host of positive characteristics that all women possess: Self-Esteem, Bad Ass, Super Woman, Smart, Ambitious, Funny, and Kind. Do we really believe we are all those things? How difficult are these personality traits to really learn, perfect, and then live by?

Confidence did not come easily to me. Sharing with other women and putting my thoughts and feelings out into the world is scary. It took me a long time to feel confident in all areas of my life. Keeping that confidence is an extremely difficult and ongoing process because confidence isn’t just a word to describe our personality. We need to apply it to all the parts of us that make us whole. And if it wasn’t something taught early on in a child’s development, it can be hard to learn and believe in as an adult!

I can honestly say I lacked confidence for most of my life. As a child, I didn’t have good female role models, and as a young woman, I didn’t attract confident women either. When I would meet women who exuded confidence, I would be both jealous and awestruck. I tried to drain their positive energy and to find ways I could be more like them. Simultaneously, I would hate them because I did not feel confident myself.

Like most of my formative years, when it came to bonding with other women and fortifying lasting female relationships, I would take and take until I pushed them out of my life. Turning forty was a real wake up call for me in many ways, but truly for my female friendships. I wanted more of a connection with them. I was tired of the pettiness, but mostly I was tired of the way I was treating myself.

Learning confidence comes differently to each and every one of us. Throughout our lives, we will be challenged to be confident in different ways. It’s such a sad state of affairs that most of us are taught by other women to be skeptical and jealous of another woman’s success. It’s not unusual to overhear women’s conversations and find they are berating other women. I used to be guilty of that exact behavior because I didn't believe there was enough self-esteem to go around. I believed if another woman got the job or the relationship that meant there was nothing left for me. Until I chose to do the real emotional work on myself and figure out why I was so threatened by other women, I constantly chipped away at women I knew. I didn't have the confidence to know better. 

Thankfully, I do now. To me, confidence isn’t simply believing I can accomplish anything, it’s also wanting others to succeed as well. Confidence is a beautiful thing to have, but to share it with another person is unbelievably selfless—and the true meaning of the word.

The beauty about women sharing their stories with other women is that we are empathetic creatures by nature. We can absolutely relate to each other in ways that help each other see a bright beautiful light at the end of a dark tunnel that shows we are not alone. Women deal with so much on a daily basis that it’s not only crucial for women to support, confide, trust, and love each other but to genuinely help each other. 

To me, that is confidence.

I believe that confidence isn’t only conveyed on the outside, it also refers to how we trust and love ourselves on the inside. Yes of course, we see acts of confidence all the time in our daily lives, and it definitely inspires us to try to do the things that we fear. Internal confidence is another super power altogether. It allows us to be kind humans and to trust ourselves every day, even when life seems uncertain.

Having the confidence at almost fifty years old to present my changing body to the world is a form of confidence I never had before. To trust that I’m worthy of taking up more space in the world while still feeling beautiful and comfortable in my body is so outstanding that I can’t think of any other way to describe it to you other than confidence.

Personally, I believe that having confidence comes in many forms. It’s how we treat ourselves and how we treat each other. I’ve learned throughout my life that in the moment, it’s easier to be a mean girl, but that choice never gave me what I was looking for. Now that I see clearly, I realize that behavior gave me superficial relationships, bonding me with other mean girls. Believe me, if they talk about other women to you, they will most definitely talk about you. Having the confidence to be kind is otherworldly, and I believe that if we truly come together and lift each other up, the world can be a softer place. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it can happen.

Confidence is not a word to toss around like one of those drug store balls we play with in the pool, light and airy for a day or two and then pop! Confidence takes diligence, confidence takes work, and confidence has to be an never-ending skill we hone. Don’t expect perfection. All we can do is our best.

Author: Rachel Lavin