I didn’t want to have kids: I was scared I would majorly mess them up. Or, at least I had convinced myself of that before I started dating my husband. When Brandon and I met he wanted 7 kids and I wanted none. He is a man who knew that he wanted to be a dad. We almost broke up over the kid question. The only reason we didn’t call it quits is because I realized that it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be a mom, it was that I was scared. I wasn’t sure if I would be capable of loving, nurturing, guiding and mothering them well. I was afraid of failing. I feared not being able to instill confidence, courage and joy into them.
And when I realized that fear was keeping me from motherhood, I realized that I did want to be a mom. Brandon and I kept dating, got married, and the rest is history.
When my daughter Ellie was born three years ago, I launched into love mode and haven’t looked back since. Ellie is precocious and passionate. She knows what she wants and makes no apologies for it. She is sweet and mindful of others, leads with a smile and usually runs where she wants to go. Together we tackle each day like it is a terrific adventure and Ellie measures her day in jokes and giggles. I want to freeze this moment of confidence in her heart. I want to preserve it, capture it, keep it, but I know I can’t do that for her. Her confidence is her journey, and while I don’t have the power to will her to always see herself the way I see her, I certainly can walk alongside her as she explores and discovers who she is for herself as she walks through the world. As E.E. Cummings wrote, “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everyone else means to fight the hardest battle which any human can fight and never stop fighting.”
Yet, even at three, her confidence is threatened by the world. The day Ellie came home from preschool dejected because she wasn’t a certain preschool classmate’s “best friend” made me want to go whip some sense into said classmate’s sense of friend rankings. I didn’t get involved, not because I didn’t want to, but because I knew it was crazy to meddle in the volatile world of daily-changing preschool relationships. It was, and still is painful when Ellie is sad at night because of something someone said to her, someone who was mean to her on the playground, or another little girl who decided to switch best friends for the day.
Being a young girl in our society has challenges, many, thanks to social media, that never existed before. They present us with new territories to navigate in parenting, but the need to speak confidence into the minds of young girls has been and will always be important. Now, more than ever, our daughters and young women are being attacked with crushing messages and I will not sit silently.
They see messages like:
You’re not skinny enough.
You’re not popular enough.
You’re not fun enough.
You’re not cool enough.
You don’t have enough likes.
You don’t have anything interesting to say.
You don’t have enough friends.
You’re not tall enough.
You’re not short enough.
You’re not athletic enough.
You’re not smart enough.
You’re not fashionable enough.
You’re not rich enough.
You’re not enough.
Young girls are getting these messages from the moment they are aware of their surroundings, with media and marketing targeting their egos to get parents to buy more toys, more clothes, more experiences to fill the empty hole of “not enough.” Scarcity mindset, limitations, self-judgements, people-pleasing, cultural criticism and societal expectations are crushing our children and stealing their confidence. And I am saying “no.”
I say “no” to the lies the world is telling Ellie by being twice as intentional about pouring truth into her and into our home. I may not be able to ensure that she sees herself as the perfect, powerful, purposeful, beautiful little girl that I see and that God sees, but I know that the intentional parenting I am doing around confidence will establish a foundation of self-esteem that will be harder to shake.
This issue is important. Not just for Ellie, my three-year-old, but for all daughters, of all ages. And yes, that includes you, and that includes me. To go even more in depth on this and on how I really am working with these confidence secrets, pop some earphones in and listen the most recent episode of The Confidence Podcast, episode #289 to hear exactly how I, a professional confidence coach, am teaching confidence to my daughter. Listen to the FREE show, “The Self-Confidence Secrets I Want My Daughter to Know” at www.trishblackwell.com/290.
And while a blog post doesn’t do justice to the full explanation of the secrets in the same way I discuss them on the podcast, here they are, all listed out, the secrets that I want my daughter to know. These secrets may seem simple, but just because they are simple doesn’t mean that they aren’t powerful. Simple is exciting because it is accessible to everyone. Little child of God, no matter your age, it’s time for you to shine, baby, shine. God created you perfectly, so step into the confidence of being a perfect you.
THE SELF-CONFIDENCE SECRETS I WANT MY DAUGHTER TO KNOW:
Be proud of the space you take up in this world.
- Stand tall.
- Be the first to say hello.
- Lead with a smile.
- Don’t apologize for who you are.
- Know that you are here for a reason and pursue that purpose.
Speak up, always.
- For yourself.
- For how you feel.
- To yourself about how you feel.
- For others.
- For what is right.
- For what you want.
- For your needs and desires.
Push the limits.
- Stretch your beliefs.
- Always think bigger.
- Believe in yourself beyond what seems normal.
- Speak up and always ask for more.
- Expect the best.
- Anticipate a terrific adventure.
- Work hard and be proud of yourself for your committed ethic.
Love people extravagantly.
- Be proactively kind.
- Remember that people need your love.
- Recharge your love by plugging into God daily as a source.
- Love does and wins; the answer is always: love everyone, always.
- To love others you must love yourself.
Shine, baby, shine.
- Pursue your interests, unashamedly.
- Laughter is a gift of yourself to yourself and to the world.
- Have an internal sense of self worth and self-respect.
- Remember that other peoples actions and opinions aren’t your responsibility.
- Control what you can control (you).
- Have clear goals and embrace risk and failure.
- Do one thing every day that scares you.
- Never settle for less than you deserve, but always be grateful for what you have and for doing your best.
- Most people are more insecure than you think: love on them. Build them up.
Sprinkle confidence into the world by mastering one simple secret as a time. As you do, you will build up those around you, showing them that as you walk with courage, so can they. Confidence is a gift within us all, accessible if we choose to engage ourselves to be proud of the space we take up, to speak up always, to push the limits, to love people extravagantly, and to shine, shine shine.
We are wired for love. So then, we are also wired for confidence, as confidence gives us the capability to connect with others and the world around us in a meaningful, loving manner. Confidence is more than just “feeling good,” it is “living well,” and it is for you, for me, for our daughters, for our friends, for our neighbors and for those we don’t yet know. It is not a “far off” thing for when our bodies are perfect, our bank accounts are bigger and our problems are gone – it is for now, for this moment, for us to feel as we are. Let us live well and shine brightly my friends, and as we do, let us invest in the generation rising up behind us that they might wire this world with confident and compassionate love.