Ladies, Let's Talk About Confidence.
Updated: May 29, 2020
This was my favorite post I wrote for Campus Ace. Originally published in July of 2018, this post covers four aspects of life where I believe confidence is critical. Spoiler: It really covers all aspects of who you are.
Ladies, continue to be yourself unapologetically.
Originally published: 8/3/2018
Confidence. A trait so desirable and powerful; an air so seamlessly respected. It is simple in essence, but a hidden caveat lingers: Confidence is difficult to attain and more challenging to convincingly wear.
The girl in the red dress is noticed by her ensemble but remembered for her ability to own what she wears.
I believe every woman has the capacity to channel this. And you know what? So do you.
This past week, when I asked you all on Instagram one word to describe women, the top 2 responses were resilient and strong. (Yeah, we kick ass.) These traits perfectly portray confidence.
I am so proud to be a female today with the strides we’ve taken for our forever known but growing acknowledgement of equal capabilities.
I’ll touch on an inherent struggle still being waged there, but I really want to address another obstacle that is very relevant in the life of a college student.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room… or in your pocket.
Like I have discussed before on this blog, social media has given us a window of judgement with one way glass.
This organic judge and be judged reality can spread to multiple aspects of our lives. I’ve spoken with friends about this before, and there is always an agreement on this.
The bottom line: fear of judgement hinders confidence.
So, ladies, I want to share with you what I’ve learned about being confident in four specific topics: a future career, a relationship, your appearance, and who you are.
4. In Your Future Career
During my freshman year of college, I listened to a panel of incredibly talented women in business. While there, a successful and self-assured woman told her story of the first official meeting she had in a new position. Upon entering, she was met with 20 men in suits and not a single woman in sight. Once the meeting began, she didn’t say a word the entire time.
With opinions flying and no acknowledgement from the group, a competent, smart young woman felt too undermined & intimidated to speak up.
Following the meeting, her boss, who was also there, confronted her about her silence, telling her she was there for a reason. “You’ve been given this opportunity—now it’s time for you to take your seat at the table.”
With just this small statement, it conveyed exactly what she needed to hear. It didn’t matter if she felt intimidated because she was given the opportunity based on her proven abilities.
I carry this bit of advice with me every day.
As a female finance major, I know there will be times I will feel small or belittled; I already have.
(If you have not met a douche frat boy that says big words to sound like he knows what he’s talking about, consider yourself lucky.)
What I try to remember is that I am just as, if not more, capable and intelligent as anyone in my career path.
Work hard and prove people wrong. If you take your seat at the table, you will look and feel incredibly confident.
"You create the world, blink by blink. It is entirely yours to discover and yours to create." - Sophia Amoruso, #GIRLBOSS
3. In a Relationship
To be confident in a relationship, you have to be self-assured.
For some reason, and maybe it’s just what I’ve perceived, but this fantasy can get painted in your head of someone who will come into your life, tell you you’re beautiful, finish your sentences (sandwiches?), and give you a sense of meaning.
In theory this sounds amazing, but if you’re seeking to find yourself through someone else, you will never find it. Actually, you will probably find yourself incredibly dependent on that person.
You might not think that's a bad thing, but that’s a pretty vulnerable place to be.
As a female, I believe it is important to keep a strong hand in a relationship. This means remaining true to yourself—what you want, what you expect, and what you’re comfortable with.
If your partner doesn’t respect who you are or what you stand for, then they are not the person for you.
Be confident of the unique, beautiful person you are and never settle.
I have always been true to myself, and I couldn’t be more happy in my own relationship of almost (update:) 6 years.
To Cole, I love you infinitely. Thank you for your constant care and respect.
“I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.” - Marilyn Monroe
2. In Your Appearance
With the pressure of perfectly lit and angled photos, reality has become distorted.
False lives and hollow likes are convincing enough to make us feel like we need to make our lives just as amazing and aesthetically pleasing. (I do love a good aesthetic...)
I mean, if I don’t look fully photogenic, how could I feel good about my appearance?
With social media to amplify this, it’s not easy to remain confident in our own skin. There are many days I look in the mirror and am not happy with what I see.
"Wow, my face is just not cute."
"Oh yeah, there’s that blemish that won’t ever heal…right in the middle of my face."
"Thank you mirror for reminding me that my upper body is totally not proportional to my lower body."
Those thoughts, although degrading, are real thoughts I have about myself sometimes.
When I catch myself thinking this way, I remind myself I’m me, and I’m always going to be.
This face and body is more than what I see, it represents my parents and the ancestry I love. My face was crafted with my Greek great grandmother’s face kept closely in mind along with Irish blood splattered across as freckles. I should be proud of this—not insecure.
One time a woman approached me in a store, asking if I liked my freckles. Thrown off by the question, I responded with, “Yeah, it’s really all I’ve ever known,” followed with unsure laughter of where the conversation was going.
She went on to tell me she represented a company that removed freckles, and, handing me her card, she so sweetly told me I should contact her if I ever wanted them removed.
I threw the card away right after she left.
In that moment where a complete stranger confronted me about “fixing” my appearance, I actually was the furthest thing from insecure.
Thinking I needed “fixing” made it seem like something was wrong with me, when I knew I was meant to look the way I do. I couldn’t have been prouder to flaunt my freckles because they are mine and they are beautiful.
What did I learn from my organic reaction to that instance? There isn’t one form of beauty, as if I needed to conform myself to that. It takes many forms.
I am that. You are that.
The key is to remind ourselves of the power in individuality. My appearance is unique, and it is only mine. There is something incredibly special in that truth. Taking pride in that—that is confidence.
"Normality is a paved road: It's comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow." - Vincent van Gogh
1. In Who You Are
All three of the topics I discussed have had confidence rooted in knowing who you are. But, what if you are unsure of yourself, don’t know who you want to be, or have lost sight of the person that you thought you were?
I’m not going to lie, that is a pretty big question to try and tackle as a 20-something year old.
Well, let me tell you what I’ve learned from my own personal experiences with self-doubt. Combating it begins with belief in yourself. Have faith in the person you are because you are smarter and stronger with every day that passes.
Try new things, meet new people, go back to old things that you left behind, look to your faith, take comfort in the people you trust. These things will help you discover who you are.
After having a full semester off to strictly think all day, I think I can say I know who I am... but it took all of those things along the way to show me that.
You don’t just learn from happiness, but from disappointment, frustration, and heartache. You have to put yourself out there to get hurt and to be loved.
Confidence is knowing. You know after you learn. Learning comes from experience.
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."- Dr. Seuss
I don’t have all the answers as I will forever continue to admit. I still have so much to learn. However, I hope you can take something away from the things I have found to be true. Time is fleeting and life is forever changing.
I want to be the one stable thing in my life—to not look back and regret the person I was or the decisions I made.
If you are truly confident in your own ability and are willing to work to prove it, how could you ever fail? The person you will become is your reward.