Stacie and Francie- circa 1990
Once upon a time, I did NOT have the confidence I have today. In fact, I would have to say, confidence is one of those funny things that I wonder...where does it come from? Do you ever wonder that as well???
It is said we are actually not born with confidence, it is LEARNED. And that got me thinking, and reflecting, and looking at myself versus my perception of my sister's confidence. My PERCEPTION.
One thing I think that is always important to remember when we ever compare ourselves to others is to, of course, remember that it is your PERCEPTION. What you THINK their story is. The second most important thing to remember when comparing yourself to others is this: DON'T. DON'T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS. You're not others. YOU ARE YOU.
(Okay, that's actually the most important thing to remember, and this will come again in this blog!!!!)
So, back to this idea of Confidence. Growing up, I was not overly confident in my early years. I was shy. I didn't speak up because I doubted myself. There were some factors that played into this: I had thick eyeglasses, braces, was a bit pudgy, had been bullied...things that, for the most part, are all somewhat normal and other than the bullying, are physical.
I remember watching how easy it was for my sister. She lit up the room. She made people laugh. She did these funny impersonations of Dolly Parton and Elvis Presley, and she just oozed confidence. I remember going to Disneyland and she got up and did a hula hooping contest, right there on Main Street in front of tons of strangers. And she had no issues doing talent shows at our local fair or competing for things like "Little Miss Friendly." As a child, she was the definition of what I would call CONFIDENT.
As we grew up, I don't believe that changed. I always wondered what it was that made her so confident and what it was in me feel that I was not quite good enough. Did our parents tell us that? Heck no! Did my friends say that? Absolutely not! So what was it???
It was me. I was not at peace with myself. I looked at myself so often and criticized something I didn't like, rather than finding something I loved.
Confidence is the ability to LOVE YOURSELF FOR WHO YOU ARE. God did NOT make a mistake when HE made you! "I Praise You Because I am Fearfully and Wonderfully Made" Psalm 139:14
Recently, a colleague of mine said to me "Stacie, you're a confident woman. Why aren't all women like that?" I was laughing so hard on the inside!!! And I told him, "Yes, I AM a confident woman, NOW, but it took years to get here. For me, my confidence had to be built."
My first step to confidence??? It was 100% becoming a cheerleader in high-school. Not because of the stereo-type you may think of cheerleading, but because, for me, cheerleading affording me the means to grow out of my shell and to find my voice. It became my THING that taught me discipline, accountability, commitment, and gave me a SISTERHOOD of young women that became a support through high school (many of which are still near and dear to my Sisterhood Heart today!) Cheerleading also allowed me to work with a variety of individuals and teachers, and through this, I found my passion for health, fitness, and teaching. Trying out to be a cheerleader took confidence, and I realize that I was brave and am proud of that fourteen year old me.
That was the foundation. I graduated, lost my way for a little while, lost confidence, and when I look at my beautiful Senior picture, I am sad. This girl did not feel "good enough" for so many things.
So, the next step? Well, that took so much longer. I went to college, graduated. Got married. Had a beautiful baby boy. Great job. Lovely life. And yet...and yet...well, that's really enough content for a book. But did I LOVE myself??? No. No, I did not. And if I did not love myself, was I confident? No, no, I was not? And so...
New husband, new home, another baby. Were the first issues solved? If you said No, then good! You are still reading and following along! (I really could have used a great Life Coach about three years earlier...) So, here comes the marriage counseling, and things aren't looking great when our across the street neighbor, who happens to be the wife to a Pastor, comes to my garage sale. I am just start talking to her and tell her how I am feeling. And I tell her I feel I am missing SOMETHING...she says "Stacie, do you believe Jesus died for all people?" I said of course I do! "Stacie, aren't you part of ALL PEOPLE?" I said I didn't feel I was worthy of that. She asked again, "Stacie, are you a part of ALL PEOPLE?" And that was the moment...yes, yes I am part of ALL PEOPLE. "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
It was then that I began to LOVE MYSELF, truly, and see myself so differently, and change in a way that was so positive that I can only explain to you as THIS GIRL GOT HER CONFIDENCE ONCE AND FOR ALL! Okay, actually, no, not quite yet...almost though.
There was one last step. There was something I wanted to do. I had a goal and by golly, I was going to reach it. I had gained weight, and was losing it, and so I decided I wanted to run for Mrs. Washington-America. I was getting close to 40 (I was 38 at the time) and I had ran in the Miss America system when I was 17 and 18 and had always wished I had continued in it. So, with the support of my sister and the Miss Lewis County at the time, (who I call my "adopted sister"!) I decided to compete.
This picture of me, in the swimsuit competition portion, is the EXACT MOMENT IN MY LIFE, read that again, for me it was the EXACT MOMENT IN MY LIFE, at 38 years old, when I can say fully, I AM ONE HELL OF A CONFIDENT WOMAN AND NO ONE WILL EVER TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME! BOOM!!! I remember being on that stage, at that moment thinking, "What the actual HELL?! I did not need to be in this swimsuit in front of all these people to prove anything! I'm F*@%ing AWESOME!" (Yes, I'm not joking, that is what is going through my mind right there...can you see it on my face???!!!!)
I set that goal, I crushed that goal, and from that moment on, I realized I actually did SEVEN things to reach that point. Join me next week when I share the SEVEN easy ways to BUILD YOUR CONFIDENCE.
Anyway, so fast forward to last summer. Francie and I are at the Lake where I live. Francie is
wearing her adorable Fused Bikini and rocking it, confident as heck in her Mom Bod, and I am strutting my stuff in my favorite blue one piece (similar to the one I wore on that pageant stage), even though Covid had me back to a weight that was quite high for me (thanks Covid! but hey, I like a challenge and it's gone now!) I still look at my sister and think "Wow! Francie is the definition of confidence!" You know what? She has her stories and struggles, too. We all do. I also realize she had an older sister that supported her and encouraged her and she learned early on in life that she was awesome because she had that sister telling her she was awesome!
And really, that's the goal our The Sisterhood Coaching...let us be your sisters so you never have to wonder if you are supported, because WE are going to support you, WE will always encourage you! We want you to learn to LOVE YOURSELF, because YOU ARE WORTHY, YOU ARE PERFECT, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE! So, Sister, Go out there and OWN IT!
If you enjoyed today's blog, make sure to join me next week for the conclusion of "Cracking the Confidence Code."
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