Monday, June 13, 2011

What Would Confidence Do For You?

I used to work with a man whose last name was Murphy, so everyone called him “Murph.” He was in his fifties, and while we worked at the same company he had his 30th wedding anniversary. When I asked him the secret to his marriage, he said it was two words: “Yes, dear.” He told me that to him it meant that sometimes it wasn’t worth the battle, and agreeing with his wife instead of starting a fight was worth more than the opinion would have been. This was one of the great life lessons I learned from Murph, but not the most important one.
It turned out I knew the guy his daughter was dating – we had both gone to WSU and had a mutual friend. I told him that I really liked the guy, and that his daughter had good taste.
“I know,” he said. “When she was growing up, I made sure the most important thing I instilled in her was confidence in herself. I knew if I gave her that, I would never again have to worry about her decisions.”
It has taken me years and a lot of heartache to get to the place where Murph’s daughter already was. This is not something I think I lacked because my parents didn’t give it to me – they always told me I could do whatever I wanted – but somewhere in the middle of society and culture, the idea of instilling confidence in our children has gotten lost, and I was no exception.
I think a lot about what our lives – women’s lives especially – would be like if we grew up having more confidence in ourselves. How many fewer destructive relationships would we have? How much more money would we make? How much more would we stick up for what we believed in if we had confidence, not necessarily that we were right, but that we had a right to our opinion and our feelings? How much less would we worry about our bodies if we were confident that we were loveable regardless of what we looked like? How much less would we agonize over where we were going in life if we had the confidence to believe we could do anything?
I’m getting there, but I’m not there yet. If I had had half the faith in myself as others have had in me, I would have been able to take a lot of shortcuts to get to where I am today. Although I know that we can’t grow into the people we are without some growing pains, I think developing confidence early would help us recognize the value of the other lessons sooner. Now that I know that, I can forge ahead, confident I’m heading in the right direction, and that the lessons will be worth the growing pains.

Love and confident kisses

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