BY TARYN JEREZ
From grade school to the golden years, women are faced with a broken record of messages about their physical beauty, brains, personality, and proposed value in the world. The reality is, you can find a myriad of news stories and articles sharing studies of girls and women struggling with their self image.
Imagine how the world could change if, instead, the spotlight shined on women as they clung to their confidence like a badge of honor because they knew what it took to get to that place of self worth and appreciation. Where the story of a confident woman isn’t told under the guise of conceit or cockiness but admiration, knowing the strength it takes to grow and push oneself towards self acceptance and love.
There is power in other women’s stories and this month we’re rounded up some amazing ones to share what they’ve learned over the years about embracing confidence.
Crystal Congleton, 41
“Flaws are beauty. Real skin has texture. All bodies are beautiful and valid. I have to live with myself at the end of the day. And that’s exactly what I want to do! LIVE! In color and out loud. The expectations of others are none of my business. I AM that quirky girl you didn’t understand in high school, but that’s okay though because I understand and love her now. Some days you have to create confidence and sometimes that means looking to other women who inspire me like Amy Poehler or my daughters. Doing things like building up other women on social media, getting your hands dirty, turning on a song and dancing in your underwear! I recommend Lizzo, Lady Gaga, or nearly anything ‘80s!”
Maggie Pendalwar, 31
“I was told that I had a less than 15% chance of being able to conceive without IVF and a 30% chance of being able to carry my own child. I used to hate my body, but by some miracle I was able to conceive two months before we started IVF and delivered a perfectly healthy son. My body owes me nothing, but I definitely owe it some love. I may never feel 100% confident in my skin, but it’s the only one I’m getting so I’m trying to unlearn some toxic behaviors and show my body the love it deserves. Motherhood has been its own makeover for me and I’m just embracing this season of my life. There is some truth to ‘fake it until you make it.’ Do the things that make you feel confident, and you really will become it.”
E’laina Barron, 33
“Confidence is my alter ego, something I don’t always recognize within myself but I’m able to tap into. The beautiful thing about an alter ego is that you can create it and decide who you want to be or how you want to present yourself to others. I believe that oftentimes lack of confidence stems from a combination of uncertainty of self and misalignment with external beliefs. I have found myself in constant comparison with others, whether it was looks, personalities, qualifications – I never seemed to measure up. Once I got clear about the vision of the “Ely B” I wanted to be, I was able to work on aligning myself with that version of me. It’s taken a lot of releasing negative beliefs and replacing them with more self-affirming ideas.”
Keela Johnson, 63
“My daughter Brooke has unexpectedly taught me more about confidence than I could have ever learned on my own. I couldn’t be prouder of my amazing and super confident daughter! She recently shared one of her favorite quotes from a well-known book, The Confidence Code: “Confidence is the stuff that turns thoughts into action.” My entrepreneurial spirit agrees with this quote wholeheartedly. But… where do you find this confidence? Waking up and feeling grateful, feeling happy, loving yourself, trusting yourself… these things breed both confidence and success! It’s one big cycle!”
Bermarie Jerez, 29
“I learned a valuable lesson from my mentor-we tend to think if we HAVE money, we’ll get to do what we want, and then we’ll be happy. If we have more time, we’ll do our makeup, then be more confident. She challenged me to change the order. Focus on what you want to become. If you want to be confident, do what confident and successful people do and then you’ll have the life you dream of. I’ve learned that confidence can’t come from outside factors or material possessions. Your looks will change, your body won’t be the same. You have to learn to love the parts of you that truly make you, you.“