I love the song Brave by Sara Barielles. It’s about speaking your mind. If you haven’t heard it (or if you have), it’s worth watching.
Which got me thinking about self confidence, mainly that of women, but I suppose it could apply to men too. I had this
theory thought sometime in my late twenties that you could sort of draw a lifeline of your self confidence with ups and downs. From the earliest I can remember mine started off pretty decent and really rocked when I started elementary school. Let me tell you I drank my own Kool-Aid as a kid (I’ve been known to dabble in that pastime every now and again). And why shouldn’t kids think they’re the bees knees? I felt really good about myself until around middle school. It wasn’t that I started feeling bad about myself, but that’s when I remember doubt creeping in. And other kids. I have a decent filter, I can be pretty diplomatic. It’s probably around that time when you begin to censor yourself. Gauge your audience.
But back to the lifeline. So it takes a nosedive in the early teen years. I had fun in high school so it was probably trying to climb back up. But then I started college. I didn’t move away. Or even leave home. I didn’t make any new friends and barely saw the few I had. So it wasn’t a typical college experience at first. I didn’t exactly have any direction except moving forward. Things picked up a couple years in when I got into business school. I was interested in learning and getting involved. Interested in my profession. The self confidence lifeline was trending up. I remember being in class with women that were a lot older and thinking, they are so confident so it must just keep going up. Toxic people can bring the line down and what are twenties good for if not to teach what anchors to get rid of? But life goes on and life is good. And that line keeps shooting up. Even when you have a bad day. Or a lot of them together. So that’s my confidence life line theory. And here is what I imagine my line might look like. Sort of.
I also saw a recent video that I think demonstrates this a little. It’s worth watching. It basically asks people, what does it mean like to do something like a girl. Run like a girl? Throw like a girl?
It begs the question, at what point do we derogate being a girl? Because like me at 5, the younger girls in the video haven’t accepted that they are any less and they TRY. And they aren’t any less. And they’re awesome. The even bigger question is how do we change the language and our actions so that it isn’t part of our experience?
There are these campaigns to change things. First, the heartbreaking Dove commercial that shows that women are hard on themselves.
Then there’s the push to stop calling girls bossy or other B words and start calling them leaders. Known as #banbossy and created by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook and author of Lean In.
As a woman and a mother of a young girl, I think about these things and wonder how I can support Cyan to be brave and confident. A leader and a risk taker. How can I help her life line have less drastic dips? We all know life is hard; I wouldn’t expect to change that or protect her from that. If we can help prepare her for it, give her the tools and support she needs, teach her how to be resilient and nimble…I think that’s the best we can do.
But who am I kidding? She’s amazing. I think it’s her who teaches me all of those things. I saw it a few weeks ago as she had her blood drawn. It frightens her, but it’s necessary to manage her Grave’s disease. And she’s overcoming the fear. She is so brave.
This post is very similar to one I wrote earlier, but the sentiment has really stayed with me. So I’d encourage all my ladies to act #likeagirl; and anyone who comes in contact with young ladies, help them be confident, #banbossy; and for everyone, be brave!
If all of this it too heavy handed for you, here are some cute pictures of Cyan at Fairytale Ballet dressed as Merida from Brave. There you go.