Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Three Feet of Confidence

I remember standing in the dressing room and being envious of a three year old, wondering how on earth I had gotten to that point in my life.

We (technically I, but it was a team event) were trying on wedding dresses that day when I stopped dead in my boots and realized something was terribly wrong. 
After a long morning of tight and white on me, my impatient niece was ready to give a white dress in her own size a whirl. 
And give it a whirl she did. 

Marlee, then three years bold, spun around to see herself in the mirror. With glowing eyes and striped socks, her smile radiated. 
"Mommy, I look so pretty," she said to my sister as we each adored Marlee's reflection in the mirror. 
Herself, included. 

She was a solid three feet of confidence. Every little bit of her. 
Unbroken confidence. 

I drove to the Original Jean's house that afternoon thinking about my niece's reaction to seeing herself in the mirror. 
She was mesmerized. 
She was impressed.
She was confident

Confidence: At what age do we lose it?

In perfect time, a friend posted this on Facebook yesterday. 
Not yet tainted by outside influences, his confidence made me smile - countries away.
I let his mother know what today's blog was about and asked her if I could use this perfect example. Her response: "Sure!! I can't wait to read it! I was just wondering the answer to that question myself. My other 2 ages 8 & 10 have both lost it. "

Have you ever considered that? At some point, maybe at 7-years-old, maybe at 17, an event happens that beats us down just a little. It may not seem like such a huge event at the time (or maybe it does?), but the impact is great. How do you get that back after it is lost? 

Confidence is certainly something our world lacks but desperately needs. And the vicious trend of decreasing amounts of it does nothing but damage. 
The worst part: 
It starts at home
Parents invest their time and energy into demanding jobs, social obligations, intriguing cell phones or personal fulfillment, instead of investing attention and instilling confidence in their children.
So their children find the attention and confirmation they long for elsewhere. 
The children get into relationships that are totally wrong for them.
They subscribe to activities that are completely bad for them.  
They turn to damning sources like modern day media to learn what or who they should be.
They conform to "normal" (what ever that is) rather than the person God designed them to be. 
Then the gap between the necessity of lessons learned at home and the young adult deepens.
And the confidence to listen to the little voice in their head weakens. 

And just like that, we've lost another person who might have been confident enough to stand up for what they believe in, even if they're standing alone. 

We need more of those. 
Then that child grows up and is loaded with the responsibility of teaching confidence to their children. 
All of the sudden, the poorly taught student has become the teacher. 
Ever taught a lesson you've never learned yourself?

Log onto social media and you're bound to find the greatest form of poor confidence: the selfie. 

I believe that regularly posting photos of yourself is nothing more than an outcry for  confirmation and attention; a confidence booster based on how many "likes" you get from a random sample. 
What's really a bummer is logging on and seeing married women - and even mothers - posting selfies. 
And sometimes...they include their kids. 

I've learned that confidence is far more quiet than insecurities. 
Consider this: The person who must be heard and seen 
is likely the one who relies on others'  validation. 
The confident person rests assuredly on 
their own beliefs, values and goals; 
they need not accreditation from other sources. 

Fathers teach us confidence. 
Mothers teach us compassion. 

The degrading boss. 
The 20 extra pounds. 
The public slip-up. 
The divorce. 
The middle school bully. 
The broken heart. 
The competition.

There are many people who can (and will) suck the confidence right out of you.
And there are few who can put it back. 
Find a way to invest your time into the latter. 
Giving and receiving. 

Confidence is learning to outgrow the confinement of others' expectations. 
Confidence is doing something for yourself for once. 
Confidence is encouraging yourself, and that being enough
Confidence is unplugging and doing what is right for you and your family. 
Confidence is grace: having it and extending it. 
Confidence is spinning around in the beautician's chair and absolutely hating your haircut.
But then realizing it's just hair. 
And it grows back. 

It matters not if you're 6' 3" or 4' 2": 
Today, I encourage you to have three feet of confidence. 

Three feet of 

After all, Confidence is Happiness. 


  1. This is one of the best blogs you have written, and not because my daughter is in it! Well done! Bravo! bil

    1. Thank you, Bil - She was a perfect subject! I hope she never loses the grace and glow she has a four-year-old. So, so special.

  2. Wow, I can't express how much this blog meant to me. I have lived it and conquered, for the most part, those times when confidence was shattered. It can be an ongoing process in this very evil world, so we need to see reminders like Marlee and her 3 feet of confidence. Thanks for sharing Lindsay and friends.