What is confidence?

What is confidence?

Do you ever stop to wonder what it is about some people that makes them exude confidence?

Anybody that meets me will probably think of me as someone who is fairly confident and in fairness I think I am, however looking back  I was anything but.

As a child and teen I often felt like a rabbit in headlights and hated being out up front. I was better in small groups and I would try and blend into the background, pretty difficult to do when you are the only Indian girl (with hairy face, legs and arms – yep that was me and no my mum wouldn’t let me touch it!) in a secondary school of 1000+ students.

I wasn’t part of the cool gang, I wasn’t the pretty one, sporty one or the intelligent one. In fairness I was pretty average on all fronts and in all honesty it didn’t really bother me much! (OK I lie the hairiness bothered me a lot, thank goodness for laser hair removal).

So what changed? Well the hair had been removed, with hard work and a lot of studying I’d got a degree and worked my way up within the world of marketing.  I had nice clothes, great husband and amazing family and friends!

If you’d have asked me then I would have said that I was very confident, after all I was able to work with and manage lots of different marketing agencies and present in front of 100’s of people – surely that meant I was confident?

I was confident but I was still very much bothered by what other people thought.  Will they like me? Am I too much? Do I fit in? Do I look the part? 

Thinking back, a lot of it was cultural and came from growing up within the Indian community (which can be quite guilt led) certain things had to be done,  certain etiquettes had to be followed, certain events had to be attended, certain clothes had to be worn (or not worn), nothing short, strappy or revealing was allowed.

No matter how hard I try, I think some of these hang-ups never really go away as they are so in-grained into who I am. However with age and life experience I think you start to worry less about the more minor stuff as you begin to work out what is important to you vs what isn’t.

With Clare my Personal Stylist and friend in Ibiza (where Clare now lives).

 I’ve always loved clothes and experimenting with how I put things together. I’ve been through many stages including ‘frumpy dress like a bag lady’ after the birth of my eldest.  However throughout all these stages it wasn’t until my mid 30s that I even thought about wearing a bikini!  There was no real reason why I wouldn’t wear a bikini.

I think the voice in my head told me I shouldn’t, it was not appropriate, it was too revealing, I did not have a flat enough tummy!  So many reasons not to wear one.  Ultimately what it came down to was my state of mind. I really wanted to wear a bikini but for illogical and maybe some cultural reasons I never did. 

So what it seems to come down to is not just how we look on the outside but it’s also how we feel on the inside!  It is about the voice in our heads and what that tells us is and isn’t acceptable.  So how did I get from that girl – the one that was not confident enough to wear a bikini throughout her teens or twenties (tankinis all the way baby) to the one that does now? I’ve had two kids, I’m not ‘fitter’, my boobs are heading south, my tummy is bigger, arms are fatter and I have way more cellulite than I have ever had before. So what has changed? 

With my firstborn on holiday in Cannes

I think  4 years of medication and IVF for my first child meant I had to get my ‘head’ in the right place and in doing this I could see that sometimes we do things we think we should do or behave in a certain way because that is what is expected of us, however these thoughts can be altered.  It is hard to go through something like IVF and not see the bigger picture.

Also with positive encouragement from my hubby (“Chet the grandmas are wearing less clothes than you – it’s a pool get a damn bikini”), great friends and Clare, a personal stylist, I have come to see that I can wear a bikini and nobody is going to stare or think negative thoughts or actually even care! The only person that is doing that is me!  

‘Confidence’ is about being truly comfortable and happy in your skin. It’s not about size, colour, beauty, personality or intelligence – it is all about how comfortable you are being YOU.

I think Stephenie Zamora sums it up the best in her article for the Huffington Post. Stephenie’s view is that ‘Confidence’ is about ‘Owning It’.  I like this. It keeps it simple.

When you’re “owning it,” it means that you’re totally and completely at peace with who you are in every moment, interaction and experience. You make no apologies for being awkward, nervous, excited, loud, soft spoken or other… you’re just you.

You radiate charismatic energy whether or not you have an extroverted personality because you are genuinely content with yourself and your present experience.

When you are happy with the person that you are, flaws and all, the confidence will naturally flow from you. Not going to lie though, this is easier said than done. If I’m honest I’m still not 100% comfortable or confident wearing bikinis and still working on this!

Me with amazingly confident friends in Ibiza! In awe of their confidence and achievements.

So my parting words, when you feel happy and good in your body and more importantly in your mind, it will inevitable make you shine on the outside (sounds cheesy but it’s true!) and that is true confidence, irrespective of whether you choose to wear a bikini or not!

With one of the most body and mind confident women I know, incredibly pleased that she also happens to be my daughters Godmother.

A 10 year olds thoughts on CONFIDENCE!

Confidence from my point of view is a word with a big meaning. I’m going to tell you what those meanings are to me.

Confidence all comes down to ONE thing. Having FAITH in yourself. Don’t be worried or scared about what other people will think of you. Don’t be scared to take advice from people who inspire you and remember it’s good to be UNIQUE.

Confidence DOESN’T mean being a loud bossy boots!

You’ve got to have confidence in the right way, not the boastful show off way.

I think I’m confident, but I need to learn when to be quiet and I get rather bossy with my little sister, so I’m still working on how to master my confidence. After all no one is perfect

Like Mummy says, “No matter how old you are you never stop learning.”

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