When I was young I was so damn confident. Like…wrote lists in my journal of all the amazing things about me confident. If you don’t believe me, I still have the journal. I loved being me. I loved everything about myself. And I knew everything I was good at. Somewhere between middle school and high school that bountiful fire of confidence slowly simmered down to a single little flame – a spark at most. This happens to so many of us. Maybe you can’t even recall upon the days you were confident because your flame was put out so early. Family, friends, societal norms, social media, etc. can shoot little squirt guns of water on your fire, but the more likely reason the flames shrink down is because we stopped tending to them. When you stop listening to yourself and begin to listen to and follow the outside world, you stop tending to the flames, and slowly the fire dies out. Not all at once, but over time.
The important thing to note here is that the fire shrinks – it is never put out completely. Some parts of the world will try to take your confidence away. Most parts, actually. When I was young people told me I was cocky, people made fun of me for being selfish, people noticed how confident I was and tried to bring me down to their level. And eventually, they did…because I let them. People see a confident person and want to bring them down to make themselves feel better. The unfortunate part is that when you’re young, you haven’t learned to protect your precious flames yet. So each time we are told to dim our light, we do. Until there is almost nothing left.
Some people will go their whole life forgetting who they really are. Forgetting all the confidence they deserve to have. Don’t let that be you. Take control of your life. Be the creator of your experiences. Be the creator of how you feel.
As I have learned, practiced and cultivated more confidence for myself over the past couple years, I have noticed that there is a fine line that many of us try to balance. We want to be confident and love ourselves but not so much that we make others uncomfortable. We grow our confidence to a point and then hold it in this safe spot to protect others feelings. We put on a limit on how much confidence we can feel and express because we don’t want to be perceived a certain way. Sometimes I want to wear an outfit, post a picture, speak my mind, let my most powerful and abundant self be seen, feel so damn beautiful and I think back upon the days I was told to “tone it down”, I recall upon all of the times I have heard others bash on a woman for being too cocky, too proud of her body, etc. And I feel the urge to “tone it down” again. I don’t want to seem cocky. I don’t want people to think I’m [insert judgemental adjective here]. I don’t want to come across as x, y, z. But, my biggest realization, is that I can’t care about what other people think, and really be ALL of me. I can’t please the world and me. And I choose me. What other people think is not of my concern. Anyone who is confident within themselves will only celebrate my confidence. The only people that will ever, EVER, bring you down are people who have no confidence themselves. I will no longer dim my light in order to please someone else. I will no longer be humble when I want to be powerful. I will no longer hide, I will be seen by those who want to hear my message. I will post the picture I like of myself, even if I’m showing more skin than someone may like. I am going to say the controversial messages and bits of wisdom I have to share even though they might make someone uncomfortable, I will own my power, radiance, intelligence, abundance, gifts, and beauty – and I suggest you do the same.
Learn how to start kindling your fire again. Little by little let the flames grow. And never, ever, ever, try to make the fire smaller. Or try to contain it. Let it grow. Let it expand. Let society squirt their wimpy water guns at your flames. And then laugh and dump gasoline on that fire and let it shine so bright that it’s intoxicating to the world around you. That people around you can feel it’s heat. That the fire begins to spread and make other fires grow bigger too. There is no such thing as too much confidence. Express yourself however the hell you see fit. And don’t ever “tone it down” to please others. The more you own it, the more you flaunt it, the more you share it, the more you express it, the more it grows. The more it will grow for you of course, but more than that, the more it grows to those around you. Your flame will start to re-ignite others. And keep kindling it every damn day. Confidence is like a fire. If you create a big huge fire and then walk away and forget about it, it will eventually go out again. Show up every day, thank the flames. Kindle the fire. Pour gasoline on it. Look at yourself every day and remind yourself of all that you are. Take my 12 year old advice and make a list of all the things you love about you, and OWN it. Lead by example. For your children, you siblings, your parents – everyone. Teach people how to feel confident in their skin again, it’s our birthright. Confident people are happy people. Confident people don’t tear each other down. Confident people want other people to feel confident too. So if anyone ever tries to put out your fire, pour a little gasoline on theirs, they need it.