We’ve all heard it. Confidence is the best make up. Confidence is the best outfit. Confidence is sexy. Confidence is attractive. Confidence is bullshit.
I was in middle school the first time people attempted to convince me that the only thing I needed to be beautiful was confidence. People would point to overweight women who were flirting with men and say, “See, you just need to be more confident.”
In high school, I started the think that maybe they were right. I had a beautiful friend named Samantha who was on the curvy side, but still dared to wear a bikini to every beach party. I admired her so much. She inspired me to buy my first bikini and even convinced me to wear it out a time or two. She was a stunning influence. I started to see confidence at work in her and even in myself.
Having it so ingrained in me, I have attempted the confidence mentality many times. Once it was suggested that I “pretend” I was beautiful until I convinced myself I was. So I’d “take on the role” of a beautiful, confident person and see what happened. I have applied this method on occasion and it has made me less anxious in social situations, but the trouble is that “confidence” feels shallow to me–at least this version of it. So instead I’ve started taking the advice of one of my past professors.
My hero Dr. Christine Kern said, it’s not about “confidence” but about “fulfillment.” That I could not rely on my brains or my looks to feel confident, but my purpose and the fulfillment of that purpose. She said men used to flock to her when she was too busy living her life’s passions, 100% fulfilled in who she was and what she was doing.
The only times I feel truly beautiful and worthwhile–regardless of how much makeup I put on or what terrible outfit I’m wearing–is when I’m teaching and when I’m writing.
At first I was terrified of teaching, but the more I stood in front of my 25 -125 students, I came alive. I glow when I am teaching. I am empowered, engaging, and charming as I express to my students how much I love them, the subject, and the readings–and they in turn…listen sometimes. I light up in my classroom and I never feel more capable. This is not always because I am confident, it is because I am fulfilled.
When I write, I sink into a world all my own. I am fascinated by how imagination can work its magic and I travel along with it. When I am writing a story I believe in, I take on a new persona and feel transformed from the inside out. This is the answer of calling–of vocation. This is better than confidence.
Dr. Kern was right (she always is), it’s not about confidence–it’s about fulfillment. It’s about letting yourself become a whole worth-while human being. It’s about being confident in more than your appearance. It’s not about feeling hot because that dress makes your boobs look amazing. It’s about knowing that you are pretty spectacular, even if you don’t feel spectacularly pretty. We are more than one attribute, we are the sum of all parts. We are more than a good or bad hair day. We are complex beings who deserve more than confidence.
This Weeks Facts: Weight: N/A I’m on vacation and not near a scale How do you feel?: Pretty good. Definitely did not lost any weight–probably gained, but I feel more confident this week. Small Victory: I walked up to a gaggle of strange men at a party and struck up a conversation without the slightest twinge of regret (I even only repeated the conversation in my head once, a major improvement to the 40-50 times it usually takes to convince myself I was not an idiot) Biggest Disappointment: I did not exercise very much Thing I appreciated about my body this week: I have short, little toes. They are very cute. Reason I am #embraceablenow: I am very good at communicating. I have good verbal skills and I am proud of my ability to turn a phrase.