What is Confidence?

Confidence is not “They will like me,” Confidence is “I’ll be fine if they don’t,” – Pinterest

I’m sure someone more important or interesting said that, but it’s all over Pinterest without a direct attribute to the person who said it, so…(if you know to whom this belongs, please shoot me a quick email so I can properly credit the quote).

On the Fourth of July, our very best friend’s younger brother (21) asked a very honest question of me.

How are you so confident?

Well, I don’t know. I never really thought of it. I wasn’t always. I wasn’t a super confident kid. I wasn’t a super confident teen. I would like to hazard a guess that my confidence finally fell into place when I was around 22, freshly married to the love of my life, and finally living my own life on my own terms (our own terms is probably more accurate). I felt as if I finally came into myself at that age.

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I finally started taking care of my health. I was working out regularly, I was eating well. I was traveling a lot, I was making my own decisions, I was becoming successful. I was happy where I was going and where I’d been. I was finally confident in my own skin, and that’s about the time I began to realize that I really, really liked myself. I matured around that age, and it was so good for me.

So, when I was asked this question, my initial (cocktail-inspired) response was, “Because I’m a badass motherfucker.” Which is entirely true.

The truth is simple. I am a badass, and I’m proud of it. I’m 36. I’m in great shape. I have a great sense of style. I work hard doing what I love and loving what I do. I have four kids. I have the world’s most amazing husband. I have a beautiful home and beautiful friends and a beautiful family, and I live life on my own terms. Why wouldn’t I be confident?

Growing up, I always thought about what others thought of me. I simply did not know that it was all right if people didn’t like me. I didn’t know it was all right to be too much for some people. I didn’t know it was all right to just be myself and not worry about how that made other people feel. I wasn’t confident because I was not myself, and I didn’t own that.

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When I grew a bit older, it occurred to me that I didn’t like who I was. I didn’t like being someone who was playing small and being small and living small just to fit in with other people. People I don’t even care that much for (anyone who knows me knows I keep a small, tight-knit group of people close to me and I’m not that much of a people person outside that). I wasn’t happy with me, and for what? So that I was like the other people?

Why was I wasting my time with that kind of nonsense? It was at that point I began to really come into my own. I was no longer worried about being the most overdressed person in the room. I no longer cared that I didn’t look like everyone else. I no longer cared that I didn’t live life on the same timeline as everyone else. I didn’t care that I wasn’t into the same things as everyone else. I no longer cared if people thought my ideas or my interests or my preferences were too much (I’m thinking that’s where I earned the nicknames fancy pants and princess).

That time in my life was beyond liberating. I realized that I didn’t need the approval of everyone in the room when I walked in. I simply needed my own. With that came a brand-new me. A confident me. I person who lived life on her own terms and wasn’t concerned about anyone else.

But, with that comes a few other life lessons. Confidence is not thinking you’re better than others. Confidence is knowing that you have no need or reason to compare yourself to others. I think that’s something many people forget. If you are looking to become more confident, grow your confidence, find it, whatever, maybe I can share a few words of wisdom that might help you along the way.

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Confidence is quiet

True confidence is quiet. It’s knowing you are amazing, and it’s being fine with the fact that other people might not know that. It’s being happy with yourself and not caring if other people are happy for you. Truly confident people do not feel the need to make others feel down, badly, or uncertain about themselves or their own lives. Truly confident people know that there’s room for everyone to be amazing.

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Confidence does not leave room for comparison

Those who are truly confident do not compare themselves to others because they know everyone is on a different chapter in their own book. They also know that everyone matures, grows, and thrives in their own timing. They are also happy with their own lives, so there is no need to compare (unless we are talking about actual gardens and comparing them, because I have a black thumb and I am always comparing what I did right and wrong with those who have beautiful gardens and don’t kill all the things, but you know what I mean).

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Confidence is happy

If you aren’t happy, you can’t be confident. A confident person knows how to find happiness, and they know that it’s the journey. They know that you can be perfectly happy with everything you have right now, right this moment, even if you have bigger dreams, goals, and a life to live. A truly confident person appreciates the small things now so that they can continue to appreciate the larger things later.

As my sweetest, wisest best friend, Corinna, believes, confidence is happy. If you’re not happy with your life and the way you are living – if you’re not truly happy with the little things, and appreciative of what you have, thankful for how far you’ve come, and you don’t appreciate the moment – you won’t achieve a level of confidence that’s worthwhile.

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Confidence doesn’t care

Truly confident people do not worry about what anyone else thinks about them. It’s not their business. Truly confident people live their lives worried only about whether they are living a life they love and appreciate, and they live for themselves – never for anyone else. While discussing the topic of confidence at a date night dinner last week with our best friends, our exceptionally confident best friend, Geremy, pointed out that confidence is something personal. You don’t have to believe it right away, but you have to keep telling yourself that you’re amazing – and a BAMF – until you do. Don’t worry about what others think of you, but be very careful how you think of – and talk to – yourself.

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Confidence leaves no room for regret

Regret is something I’ve always considered a wasted emotion – a lot like hate. To regret something means that you are not happy where you are in your life, which doesn’t leave room for true confidence. Your experiences might not be ones you care to repeat, but you never regret them. You learn from them, view them as a lesson, and you make positive changes so that you don’t make the same mistake twice. It’s a learning curve. If you find yourself in a place where you regret something, it’s likely a sign that you know you did not learn from the experience, you didn’t use it as a lesson, and you are not happy with yourself. Figure out why, learn from it, and change it. There is no room in life for regret.

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Confidence is generous

A truly confident person is a generous person. Someone with true confidence is always happy to tell you where they bought their shoes/coffee table/couch/dress/got their nails done/hair done/hired a house cleaner/redecorated their office/etc. A truly confident person is happy to share their successes, their advice, their inspiration. They want other people to be equally happy and successful and confident in life, and they are happy to make sure they do their part to help.

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Confidence is never too serious

When you’re confident, you can laugh at yourself. You’re confident, not perfect. You can laugh at yourself. You can poke fun at yourself. You can dish it as well as you can take it, and you sure know how to have fun. Confident people laugh loud, and they laugh meaningfully because they have absolute joy in their hearts.

At the end of the day, it’s important to realize that confidence is highly personal. It doesn’t matter how it compares to others. It doesn’t matter what others think of it. It doesn’t matter if you’re boisterous and confident or low-key confident in a way that makes you happy. What matters is that you know your worth. In all honesty, knowing your worth is all that confidence really is. And, let’s not forget to add some tax to that.

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