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February 09, 2012

Women, Compliments And Confidence

IStock_0confidencellEarlier this week my teenage son and I were watching a co-ed basketball game and were struck by two observations.  First, the boys were not passing the ball to the girls nearly as much as they were to the boys.  Second, the girls were practically hiding on the court.  My son turned to me with frustration and said, “I hate how girls have no confidence.  Why is that?  And why can’t girls ever just take a compliment?”  I said, “It’s interesting to watch the girls hide and think they’re terrible while the boys think they’re the most amazing players on earth.”  We both laughed for a moment and then talked about this all too common dynamic. 

I was very aware that many of the girls on the court that day would grow up to be women who hide as well.  I know this because I see it every day with women.  I watch women struggle to find their voice, twist themselves into a pretzel to keep a relationship no-one should be keeping and to trust that they are worthy.  And, yes, women struggle with compliments!

Below are a few lessons I’ve learned along the path of life.  I hope women will learn from them as well:
1.    Confidence is attractive.  Knowing in your heart that you are important in this world and standing in that knowledge without conceit or arrogance is very empowering and highly attractive.
2.    Downplaying yourself is unattractive.  Hiding out so others don’t see you is uncomfortable for those around you and toxic to your sense of self and self-esteem. 
3.    The greatest response to a compliment is “Thank You.”  Do not deflect someone’s compliment of you either to fish for more or to manage your anxiety.  Take it in and be appreciative.
4.    Speak your truth or you will lose yourself.  Too many women wake up and say, “I don’t even know who I am anymore.”  Losing yourself is a slow process that occurs one unspoken word or false action at a time.  Eventually they add up until one day you realize you’ve lost yourself.
5.    Feedback is a gift—even difficult feedback.  The critique and upset of others is the greatest mirror of ourselves.  If we want to learn and grow, we have to look at our reflections.
6.    Perfection is unattainable and a set-up for failure.  We will make mistakes.  Others will make mistakes.  The need for perfection is a wound from childhood that will drive you and everyone around you crazy if you don’t let go of it.
7.    Accountability is courageous and necessary.  Owning our mistakes, apologizing for them and not repeating them is like gold in relationships.  Stop being defensive and have the courage to just say, “My bad.  I’m so sorry.”
8.    Control is toxic to relationships—loosen the reigns.  Learn to let go.  Your way is not “the” way…it is “one” way.  Manage your anxieties instead of micro-managing the world.  You are the only person over whom you truly have control –control yourself.
9.    Do not give poor treatment.  The poor behavior of others does not justify your own.  Stay respectful even in anger.
10.    Do not accept poor treatment.  Do not allow others to treat you poorly for any reason.  Set limits when necessary and do so respectfully and calmly.

Over the years, I’ve seen many of these lessons play out in my own life as well as the lives of many other women.  Too many women are trying to prove themselves, win the attention/love/respect of others and be seen as worthy.  Until women learn to accept ourselves, love ourselves and know that we are worthy, we will all struggle in our lives and relationships.  You are worthy.  I am worthy.  We are worthy.  Know it, own it and LIVE it.

Challenge:  Look over the list above with an honest eye.  Give yourself credit for the lessons you live well.  Acknowledge the lessons on which you need more practice.  Choose one lesson at a time and work it until you have achieved significant change.  Then move on to the next.  Pat yourself on the back for each lesson learned.



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Thank you for reminding me that confidence is attractive. I get to forget that sometimes.

What do you do when you have lost yourself?

Dear Tracy: You slowly work yourself back to finding yourself again. Begin to explore what you like, dislike, think, believe, feel etc. Take notice of what bothers you and tune in to find out why. Explore what your strengths are as well as the areas you need to work on. Tune in to your inner voice and instincts. Finally--learn to trust that you know what you know.
Warm Regards-Lisa

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