“What advice would you give your younger self using only two words?”
It was such a thought provoking question that I shocked myself when I immediately spouted out my answer without much thought.
As I thought about it even more, I realized why I answered so quickly. It has taken my almost 40 years of life to completely understand the value of those words and honestly, to be so happy and content with myself that I can have that confidence.
What if I had that confidence at age 10 when the infamous cliques were starting? What about at age 15 when my emotions were on a roller coaster and dating started? How about age 21 when I was staring the real world in the face?
The more I thought, the more I knew that I had to make sure my daughters knew those two powerful words :: BE CONFIDENT.
So how do I teach them confidence?
I tell them every morning how beautiful they are. I compliment them on each of their talents. I assure them that they are the most important part of my life. I role play with them how to respond when that “bully” at school says something mean, or how to react when their friends are leaving them out. I teach them the importance of sticking up for themselves, as hard as it may be. Most importantly, though, I teach them how smart they are, how capable they are of solving their own problems, of conquering their own battles and of figuring out the solution to whatever problem they are facing. By doing this, I instill in them confidence in themselves.
After all, developing confidence doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an acquired skill that takes into account not only your feelings about yourself, but how much you allow other people’s opinion of you to affect your well being.
Unfortunately, our kids are much more vulnerable to what other people think of them than we ever were. It stares them in the face all over social media. Their number of followers on Twitter is a status symbol. The amount of likes they get on an Instagram photo dictates how much they are “liked” at school. The picture of their friends hanging out without them on Facebook makes them question if they are being left out on purpose? More so than ever before, our children need to know how important they are not only to us, but to themselves.
Yes, I know. It’s painstakingly harder to be confident at age 10 than it ever will be at 40, but as they say, knowledge is power. Why not instill such a crucial part of human survival at a young age, rather than letting my daughters figure it out themselves when their life is halfway over?