The words BUT and YET grate my soul. We all know that those three letter words eradicate whatever was said before it right? Yet those are two of my favourite words and here’s why, without getting too technical. Don’t worry it’s not a language lesson.
More often than not I will say or do something, without putting any thought into it, that shocks people. Not bad shocks. More of a “I’ll never do that, I’m not that brave.” shock variety. Which leaves me puzzled because I take confidence for granted. It’s part of my make up. But it wasn’t always this way and this is where the BUT and YET comes in.
Years ago I’d look at confident women and realized a few things. 1) They were not necessarily the most beautiful women. 2) They were not all high profile women. 3) Not all of them were bold or particularly outspoken. 4) Finance and obvious social standing had very little to do with it.
Guys I studied them. Watched the way confident women walked and talked. Often wondering what they had that I didn’t have and playing the comparsion game. Trying to figure out how I could get some of it. I wanted in on it real bad because I wanted to walk tall and speak without being afraid of making a fool of myself. Which I do quite fine in real life by the way. Videos are still very intimidating. I wanted to walk into a room and not care if the people liked me. I wanted to be able to walk into a room and wonder if I liked the people in it. Not the other way around. And if I ever have to wonder about it then it clearly is not my people. This may sound harsh but I promise you it’s got to do with boundaries and not judgement. I generally like the people In surrounded by.
Only natural, I started imitating the women I admired. I tried to own those qualities. Little by little I changed my outward appearance because I still didn’t realize that it’s actually a mindset. And imitation can only get you so far. You never own what’s not yours to begin with. So I changed my approach. Confidence doesn’t happen overnight.
I took a critical look at the above list, and believe me that list is critical in itself, and had my AHA moment. If not all confident women are not typically beautiful but I still find them beautiful then surely I can have what they have. I’m not high profile, wasn’t bold and if finances had anything to so with it, I would never have honed in on it. Yet here I am.
Can you see where I’m going with this?
This made me look at my reflection in the mirror and start telling myself that “You’re not quite there YET, BUT you will get there.” Those two words started becoming my daily dose of encouragement. Call it a personal challenge too if you will. For every negative thing I told myself, I’d counter it with a BUT. “My cheekbones are not quite defined, BUT my smile more than makes up for that.” Besides it’s my face and I’m stuck with it. “I’m gonna make a fool of myself. BUT what if I don’t.” For everything I wanted, I’d convince myself that I don’t have it YET. It may be a three letter word but it holds so much promise. It makes me believe that I CAN and quite frankly I’ve become arrogant enough to believe that I CAN almost anything. I wasn’t bold enough YET. I couldn’t stand up for myself or what I believed in YET. My wish lists end with YET because I know in my heart of hearts that I will get it. I will achieve it.
The one item on my list was a struggle at first. Being high profile. Somehow I couldn’t quite reconcile with the fact that not all confident women were out there being seen. Running the world. Doing the things. What was the point of it all then? For years I hated being seen as just Mario’s wife. There was no significance in that. No profile. But then do you know what is Moses sister’s name? What about the woman at the well or the one who washed Jesus feet? Does the Bible mention Lot’s wife’s name? I don’t know the names of these women and quite a few more, yet their stories are so profound it made me realize that no matter how many people know my name or who I even am, I can still do things that make a difference. My drop in the ocean can have a ripple effect. I don’t have to be seen or even known to be confident. The trick to doing the things is to be confident. Let that be your starting point because confident people don’t wait for opportunities, they make it happen. Confidence is also not about being seen.
Not all of us will live our lives in the spotlight. Fame is not for everyone and people will not know all our names or faces. A confident woman is kinda hard to miss though. They exude an energy that makes people gravitate towards them. I hope that is the kind of energy I have and that I don’t make people run a mile. If they do, I respect that too. Not everyone will like us in life and that’s fine. If and when you’re confident in yourself it won’t matter and you won’t harbour ill feeling towards those who don’t like you. You’ll more likely adopt an “It is what it is” attitude and not lose sleep over it. Best of all, you won’t need validation from anyone.
These days I tend to forget that what comes naturally to me now is still a struggle for many women out there. Women who have yet to discover their identity and find it difficult to love themselves. My advice to you is that you find words that holds meaning to you. Words that will entice you out of your comfort zone and challenge you. Because what is growth without a challenge or two? It wasn’t easy holding my head up high and believing in myself. Knowing that I hold value. That I matter. My feelings matter. That my voice is not less important than someone else’s. And have you seen me? I mean, I’m not typically beautiful but I happen to think I am beautiful. Not in a competitive way where I think I’m prettier than another woman. My beauty and confidence is about me and no comparisons are entered into.
Let me know how you got to your confidence journey. Do you have any special words that hold meaning or did you wake up like that one morning. In which case, I hate you on principal. 😜