A few weeks ago, as we were driving in the car, I noticed my 9 year-old son had been staring at me. When I asked him why, he says to me, “because I love to watch you sing. You have a really good voice and can make it sound like anyone. That must be where I get it from and why I’m such a good singer”. Two things struck me. One, it’s so much easier for me to take compliments from my kiddos and husband than from anyone else. Why is that? Why is it so much easier to take the compliments from our loved ones and let them build us up, but when it comes from others, we feel the need to minimize or deflect the compliment and ourselves? Why is a simple thank-you to an acquaintance so hard? That’s something I’m working on, myself. Allowing myself to accept the compliment without explanation or deflection. I’m giving myself the permission to take it for what it is. I truly believe that compliments from others come from the same genuine place as it does from my family. I don’t know about you, but I don’t just hand out compliments if I’m not truly feeling it. When these people tell you that you look great, they don’t want to hear about all the makeup you had to use to cover your dark circles. When they tell you they love your outfit, they don’t want to hear that it’s getting a little tight because you’ve been lax with your nutrition. When they tell you how strong you look, you don’t have to feel obligated to say, “yeah but I’m nowhere near so-and-so’s level.” Just stop. Stop explaining. Stop minimizing. Stop feeling uncomfortable. Just smile and say thank you. And say it from the heart!
My second takeaway: I absolutely love his confidence. He doesn’t need someone to tell him he can sing. He believes he can and that’s all that matters! All I can remember, even from a young age, is lacking self-confidence and always comparing myself to others. I never had the beliefs about myself that he did until someone planted the seeds for me. I remember singing in the backseat of the car and overhearing one of my mom’s friends telling her, “wow she has a good voice”. And from that moment on, I believed I did. I also remember (again one of my mom’s friends telling her), “Kristen has such a pretty smile”. And from that moment on, I believed I did too. And guess what; I started smiling more!
It’s amazing what a little self-confidence can do. The question is, is it something we naturally have or something that’s cultivated? I believe it’s both. Some people are naturally more confident, but it’s absolutely something that can be worked on and developed. It’s a never-ending process. There’s no finish line, it’s not linear, and there’s not a one-size-fits-all way to get there. The journey is different for everyone. And everyone is different for the journey. It’s our own and that’s what makes is so special. The beauty is in finding out the best way to cultivate your own self-confidence. For some, it lies in compliments from loved ones or other people. For others, it’s found in their own accomplishments. Wouldn’t it be great though, if like my son, we wouldn’t have to hear it from others first to realize it?
This kid of mine! I believe he’s going to teach me more than I can teach him!
He also told me yesterday, “I remember when I was little and I wanted to marry you because you’re so pretty”! Oh my goodness! Is there any bigger compliment than your kids wanting to marry you? I think not!