I remember believing, I mean truly believing, as a little girl that I could be anything I wanted. I would dress up in the superhero cape I made from a small blanket and save the world. However, as I entered my teenage years I started losing my confidence. I was trying to fit in with groups of girls. I struggled with image and wondered if I was wearing the right clothes, if I was thin enough, and if I was part of the “cool” crowd?
Society is constantly telling women that we are not good enough. We are told that we need this or that product to make us prettier, thinner, or more popular. We are led to believe that we need to stop aging, be a certain size, look a certain way, and only be successful in gender-appropriate careers. While still young, I fell into the trap of self-doubt and mediocrity.
Live a “wholehearted” life.
When I became a mother to two beautiful girls I knew I wanted to give them everything. They were absolutely beautiful. They were confident and full of light. I wanted them to grow up and truly believe in themselves and understand they can be anything their hearts desired. One day I was reading a book by Brene Brown. In the book, she discusses how to live a “wholehearted” life. Brown writes, “What’s essential to living a wholehearted life?
LOVING OURSELVES! We can’t give our children what we don’t have.” I stopped and read it again several times. How can I teach my girls to truly love themselves if I did not? I could tell them over and over again to love themselves, but if I did not love myself they would never hear what I was saying. Instead of telling them to love themselves, I knew I had to show them how to love themselves. I needed to become the confident and brave woman I wanted them to be.
I truly loved myself.
As I looked at who I was at that moment I began to wonder how, as an adult woman, I lost my confidence and the ability to put myself out there? How did I go from a confident superhero as a child to a self-doubting woman who plays it safe? I needed to strip down to my vulnerable place of self-doubt and fix it. I realized I needed to go back to that teenage girl, looking for confidence, and tell her she’s beautiful, intelligent, and perfect the way she is. Now as an adult, I needed to truly believe all those things about myself. I looked in the mirror without any makeup on and found the beautiful person that I was. I truly loved myself. And, I learned to love and be grateful for the very “flaws” that I had learned to be ashamed of for so many years.
As I started to find my authentic self my confidence grew. I had to fight that little voice in my head that told me I was not good enough. Through this process, a desire started to grow in my heart, a desire to have a strong voice. I wanted to share my story and help other women truly love themselves also. I wanted my girls to see and hear my voice so that they could learn how to have a strong voice as well.
Could I seize the opportunity?
As I stood at the crossroads of an advancing career change, my self-doubt came rushing back in. I had to fight off the inner voice and do something big. I have been in dentistry for nineteen years and it is part of who I am. Yet, I wanted more. I wanted to do something bigger with all my knowledge and experience.
This past summer a huge speaking opportunity came my way, I was excited, but also terrified. I had put myself out there and the door was opening, but could I seize the opportunity? As I prepared for the event my two wonderful daughters were continually by my side. They encouraged me when I was beginning to write my presentation, cheered for me after a great practice session, and loved me when I wanted to quit. I knew this was my opportunity to not only have a voice but to show my girls how to develop their voice. This was my opportunity to show my girls to think big, try hard, fail, get back up, and keep moving toward their dreams.
We each have a unique potential and we cannot be afraid to let others see it. We need to quiet the little voice inside our head, the self-doubt, and embrace our authentic self. We need to empower each other, believe in ourselves, and let our little girl superhero come out to save ourselves, our daughters, and our world.