I remember one time, I was walking off stage after hosting a game show for a live audience, and I about collapsed, I was so relieved that it was over.
“I was nervous the entire time,” I told a coworker standing nearby. “I’m still shaking!”
“What?” she responded, genuinely confused. “You’re like, the most confident girl I know.”
Record. Flipping. Scratch.
Me? The most confident girl she knows? So, like, how many girls do you know? I wanted to ask. Like, three?
But that’s the thing about confidence. Sometimes, it can be difficult to gauge how confident people really are based on our limited interactions with them. That’s why it’s important to have regular conversations with our kids that reveal what they really believe to be true about themselves. And sometimes, it’s less about what they say, and more about being a student of what they do.
Are they trying new things? Do they show resilience after failure? How do they talk about themselves? How do they handle change? I want to be in tune with how my girls view themselves—especially in a culture that has a lot to say about women today.
If I could, here are five things I’d want my daughters to leave my house knowing each and every day:
- Confidence isn’t the absence of fear. You can be afraid and still be confident. Confidence isn’t so much an emotion as it is an action—a willingness to try things that scare us. I’ll never forget how nervous my middle daughter was before her pre-K spelling bee. She cried that morning because she didn’t want to go. But, you know what? She went. And she won. It took confidence to face her fears. Never has the word van been spelled so dang well.
- Confidence doesn’t have to be revealing. You don’t have to show the maximum amount of skin to prove you’re confident. It may get you momentary attention, but it won’t get you lasting fulfillment. Sometimes, confidence is wearing that too-big Braves jersey you love so much multiple times a week because it represents you.
- Confidence includes. The best kind of confidence is inviting. It puts others at ease. You don’t have to remind people how good, smart, or pretty you are. Instead, you speak those qualities into other people. You’re not afraid to be kind to the kids everybody else excludes, because you’re not afraid to be different. You make your own choices, regardless of how “popular” those choices are.
- Confidence isn’t always loud. You don’t have to be IN-YO-FACE to be a confident person. Sometimes, the most confident people are the ones who don’t feel the need to be seen and heard at all times.
- Confidence is contagious. When you’re friends with someone who makes everything a competition, it’s exhausting, and no one wins. Search for friends who allow you to be you. Find friends who are secure in who they are, so you feel the freedom to be secure in who you are.
If you want to teach your kid more about confidence, check out our devotional journal, Press Play: A Kid’s Devotional to Build Confidence That Lasts. In Press Play, author and speaker Carlos Whitaker will take your kid on a journey of discovering who God says they are, so they can root their confidence in His steady truth instead of the unpredictability of life around them.