Recently I wrote a guest blog post, Thriving Requires Letting Go of the Lies, for Sue’s Over Fifty and Thriving series. The idea for that post was inspired by the book, Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis (my review here). I have since decided to turn the subject into a new blog series: The Lies I’ve Believed.
In the original guest post, I introduced Delilah, my harsh inner critic who constantly reminds me I am not good enough, brave enough or smart enough. Her loud, commanding voice tells me I am better off alone than out in the world pursuing my dreams. She is quite convincing.
But I’m tired of living this way. I’m merely existing rather than embracing an abundant life. It is time to replace Delilah’s lies with the truth.
This week’s lie: Confidence is arrogance and conceit.
Sometimes it is the seemingly insignificant events of life that have the greatest impact. Case in point…
I enjoyed instrumental music throughout my school years. I started piano lessons in second grade and then transitioned to flute in sixth grade. I can’t say I enjoyed practicing, but I did like progressing in my studies. I did the work because I wanted the results.
When I entered high school in ninth grade, we had to audition for our place in concert band. Because of my previous years studying piano, as well as my routine of daily practice, I placed first chair. I didn’t think much of it, and if truth be told, I was petrified of the possibility of a flute solo.
About a month later one of the percussionists in the band – the one whom I secretly had a secret crush for months – starting chatting with me. In the midst of the innocent conversation he asked, “Are you the best flute player?”
I didn’t want to appear conceited and immediately respond, “Yes.” But I also wanted to uphold the truth. I auditioned for the spot and earned first chair. How was I supposed to answer this question?
In my shy, socially awkward way, I think I said something like, “Well, I’m first chair so I guess so.”
I don’t remember much after that … except for the laughing, finger-pointing, and mocking response at my perceived arrogance.
I learned that day that I should never take credit for any talent I may possess. I should always downplay any achievement. After all, who do I think I am?!
Thirty years later I discovered this is not an acceptable response either. Self-deprecation is as offensive as arrogance. And perhaps just as prideful.
I downplayed any compliment, reasoning anyone can do what I do. I shunned recognition for personal success, immediately identifying all imperfections and false starts. Delilah fed me the lines and I reiterated them.
Recently, I’ve come to realize… I admire confident women. They recognize their strengths without over-inflating their worth. They walk with their heads high and shoulders squared. They look others in the eye and speak with authority. The command respect. They are quick to offer their gifts and talents for the good of the community.
Confident women also recognize their weaknesses without dwelling on them. They network with others who can help shore up these insufficiencies. They don’t feel stupid, unworthy, or foolish. They accept themselves without harsh criticism and with a healthy dose of self-love.
Confidence may just be my one-little-word for 2019.
The truth: Confidence is accepting who you were meant to be.