Contrary to popular belief, confidence is not that easy to grow. But I digress before I've truly begun. Let me backtrack: we assume that growth, like life, is supposed to happen "naturally," "organically," and/or "of its own volition." As we watch baby animals, kittens, puppies and even human babies grow, we marvel that from hour to hour it seems, small miracles of growth occur and developmental milestones take place within the blink of an eye.
Yet a whole army of microscopic nutrients and optimal conditions just so are responsible for all this development without which there'd be no growth, or for that matter, life as we know it, at all.
Growth is actually quite difficult though much of it occurs beneath the surface of our consciousness.
When it comes to confidence we assume we either have it or we don't. "Maybe you're born with it." Well, maybe, but maybe it's Maybelline. Don't get me wrong--having legs that stretch on forever and a head full of thick, lustrous hair is nothing to feel insecure about, but the Maybelline folks are on to something - that is to say - perhaps confidence is not something we have to be born with, perhaps it isn't natural, organic or innate for some of us, but rather something we must carefully and preciously tend, like a hot house orchid or some rare, exotic fruit. Maybe, in fact, we can actually find some seeds and "grow confidence" as we'd learn to grow tomatoes, eggplant, and broccoli.
Confidence is a complex phenomenon involving a calm within oneself about oneself and one's skills and abilities. It is not the same thing as bravado, bragging or conceitedness although our culture seems to have tangled these ideas with horrifying intricacy.
Confidence can be truly peaceful; it's like being in the zone, hitting your stride - it's the way you feel when you talk to your most accepting family member or friend--relaxed about yourself and your thoughts, words and deeds, free of second guessing and self doubt.
In the areas where we are not confident, maybe we can begin to plant some tender shoots. Study up on things we're unsure of, and learn. Brush up on stretching and feel that calm confidence in our body rhythms; cook more often and gain confidence in the kitchen. Growing confidence, like growing children and tomatoes, takes great patience, perseverance, all the right conditions and just a dash of daring. If you once had confidence but somehow lost it, have heart, once it makes its reappearance you'll remember it like it was yesterday. Only better.
Aimee Boyle lives and writes in CT. She is a regular contributor to EmpowHER.
Edited by Alison Stanton