I am sure when we ask this question of another person, we mean well, admiring a personality trait that we hope to emulate. But I feel like the question itself suggests there is actually a reason that person shouldn’t be confident.
The question I want the answer to, is why NOT be confident?
Now that I am in my 30’s and I feel like I am starting to understand what I am about, I actually cringe at the way I let people treat me in my 20’s, and how much time I spent worrying if I was good enough. What did I think would be enough? If I had become rich and famous and suddenly skinny and popular, would that have been enough? I still don't know. I certainly don't think that I was ‘confident’ and I know I missed out on opportunities because of it.
I recently read an amazing book by my hero, comedy writer Mindy Kaling. It is entitled ‘Why Not Me?’ (Buy it right now!) In her book, Mindy talks about how people often ask her the question, “Where do you get your confidence?” She discusses how confidence is just entitlement, and while entitlement has been given a bad rep, if you work hard and know your shit you should feel entitled. I’m with her.
I often wonder if this is the discussion we should be having with young girls. Instead of telling them “You can do it! Girls can do anything!” How about “Work hard and be passionate!” - because being a girl has nothing to do with it. You shouldn’t be confident because you are a girl and society needs to reassure you that you are just as good as the boys. You should feel confident because you work hard and achieve goals, no matter how small.
For me, confidence comes from knowing what I will accept from others, what kind of friend/wife/family member I want to be and that little voice that says, “Well, why NOT me?”
You can read the excerpt from Mindy’s book by clicking on the image below.