Tag Archives: Self-Confidence

Standing in the Sun

Happy International Day of the Girl! This post felt right to share today.

Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Pennsylvania Conference for Women. I got to be in the same room as female icons like Shonda Rhimes, Carla Harris, Brene Brown and Michelle Obama, to name a few. I can’t really put into words what it was like to listen to these women. I left feeling inspired, motivated and humbled.

Shonda

Yes, that’s Shonda signing my book

Every single speaker (male or female) at the conference mentioned self-care, self-confidence and celebration of self! Carla Harris and Brene Brown really drove home these points (Google them right now). Carla’s opening keynote set the tone for the day: “Do not dim your light for someone else’s convenience, celebrate your successes, don’t hide them.” Later in the afternoon, Brene Brown reminded us that we’ll never belong if we don’t believe we deserve to. She highlighted qualities like bravery, authenticity and vulnerability as ones that will help women have a seat at the table. Sidenote: If you haven’t seen Brene’s TedTalk on vulnerability, stop reading and watch it now. This woman is the best therapist I’ve ever had and we’ve never met!

I felt the conference and my head was spinning. So many thoughts. But there was one word that kept coming up for me: WHY?! Why do we need powerful women shouting messages about owning your power and finding your authentic voice? Why do we as women undermine our intelligence, shrink into the background and forget that we have this utterly brilliant power inside of us. WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?!

I don’t know exactly why. But I do know more women fit the bill for the above then not. Michelle Obama talked about how important it is to give girls a voice from a young age, to let them be heard and to respect them. Both parents need to do this, not just moms. So, if I use myself as an example, I had parents who did this AND a mom who taught me the words to ‘You Don’t Own Me’ by age 7. So what gives?

The female brains are wired differently or at least that’s my hypothesis. We have to rewire our brain and the younger we start, the better we’ll be. So how? Stand in the sun. Standing in the sun is a phrase I’m borrowing from the Shonda Rhimes’ show Scandal. In short, Olivia Pope is going to live on an island with the super handsome Jake Ballard. She’s going to stand in the sun without a care in the world.

I’d like to offer that we women need to stand in the sun every single day. Alone. In our power all along power. You stand in that sun, you feel the rays hit your face and feel how empowering it is. Obviously, not every day will be sunny. You will have moments of darkness. But bring yourself back. Keep reminders of moments when you felt your own greatness. When you nailed a presentation. Or when you tried a new class at the gym. Whatever, wherever, whenever. Post pictures of these moments. Write ‘Own it rockstar’ on your bathroom mirror. Find a way to keep it top of mind.

You will get feedback, that’s part of life. It’s necessary for growth, especially in a professional setting. Take it, action on it and move on. Feedback doesn’t mean you’re broken, see it as an opportunity to increase your power. You are capable, strong, fierce and wonderful, exactly how you are right this moment.

My birthday was last month and every September, I think about how I want the next year to look. Lots of introspection and journaling occur usually while listening to my Girl Power playlist. I am taking this year to stand in the sun, to say yes to joy and no to guilt, overthinking and anxiety. Stand in the sun with me, my sisters.

And remind me when I forget it.

 

 

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Every January like clockwork, my mother and I kick off our weight loss, eating right campaign. We set goals, pack our lunches and track our progress. We’ve been doing this forever as our battle with weight loss has been a lifelong journey. This year, however, something felt different.

zumbaAs I planned out my healthy living 2014 campaign, I wanted to find exercise classes that worked different muscles and were convenient. If I went home after work, the probability was high that I’d be on the couch and not working out. Enter Zumba class, held Mondays and Saturdays, right by the train station. I started in mid-January and am fully obsessed. I had taken Zumba in the past but this class was different, probably thanks to my super energetic instructor Maria. I leave class each week feeling energized, happy and healthy.

Our Zumba class is held in a room that has a giant mirror on the front wall. It’s great to watch the instructor in the mirror, but class after class, I hide behind the pole to avoid seeing myself. I could not bear to see all of me jiggle in the mirror. When jumping and dancing around, it’s very clear where ALL of my problem areas are. I literally cringed for the first couple of weeks. Then I saw the Aerie “Real” campaign.

Aerie, the sister clothing company to American Eagle Outfitters, launched their “Real” campaign for the

One ad that is part of the #AerieReal campaign

One ad that is part of the #AerieReal campaign

spring collection of underwear and bras. The campaign highlights real women, without makeup or Photoshop touch-ups. Their slogan reads “Because the real you is sexy.” I saw this campaign and thought they have a point there. The following Saturday at Zumba, I wore a see-through razor back tank that read “Fun, Free, Fearless.” It was big deal for me, to wear something so transparent that did not cover me up.

Like many women I know, body imagine and self-confidence is a HUGE issue for me. Most days, I don’t feel insecure or worry about my body. I used to work out, at the gym or in a class and feel SO self-conscious in my spandex and tank top. Going to Zumba has taken me out of my comfort zone and helped me to see there’s no need to be self-conscious. I am working out, bettering myself, making myself stronger. There’s no need to compare myself to the Barbie-like instructor at the front of the room. While I still don’t stare at myself in the mirror, I’m learning to care a little less about what jiggles.

The Biggest Loser winner Rachel. Healthy or sickly?

The Biggest Loser winner Rachel. Healthy or sickly?

As a society, we typically focus on being skinny, not healthy. Take the season 15 Biggest Loser winner, Rachel. Yes, she lost a bunch of weight, but now she almost looks sickly, not healthy. Yet, she won the competition and is praised for that. We need to shift popular thinking like Aerie did. Women are beautiful at all ages and sizes. That message needs to be consistently reinforced in our younger generations of girls and to all women. We need to face the mirror and be happy with what we see.

Christina Aguilera’s powerful ballad below reminds all of us that we are beautiful. In case no one else tells you today, you are a beautiful, strong woman!

Introducing The 30 Days of Truth Challenge

Right before the holidays, my friend and mentee Amber emailed myself along with our other two friends, asking us to participate in the 30 Days30truthdays1-300x297 of Truth blogging challenge. In short, you are given a prompt for each day and must answer it openly and honestly. Since I never say no to Amber, I figured why not try it out. I plan to incorporate multiple prompts into one post but will continue blogging about other topics. So this may take more than 30 days. Here goes nothing!

Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.

I think it is too appropriate to put these prompts together since what I hate and love about myself are connected. I hate that I’m a constant over thinker. I cause myself too much stress wondering if the decision I made was right. I think it is my lack in self-confidence that leads to my continuous over thinking. I tend to feel like I’m always doing something wrong, disappointing someone and the list goes on. At work, I often contemplate if I did an assignment right and occasionally jump when my email goes off, afraid to look and see an irate email. Mind you, this has never happened so clearly it’s in my head. In my personal life, I wonder the wording of every text message, fearful I might aggravate my parents or friends. I honestly care too much about what other people think…because I am always trying to gain approval…thanks to a lack of self-confidence. Pretty full circle, right?

keep-calm-and-love-thyself-5Solution to the problem? Manage everyone’s expectations from the start of the job, conversation or whatever else. Accept the fact that I am good enough and whoever doesn’t think I am can take a hike. Realize nothing will ever be perfect. Figure out what triggers my lack of self-confidence. Have confidence in my decision-making skills since I’ve gotten myself this far without a real catastrophe. It’s a work in progress.

Now on a more positive note, what I love about myself. I love how much I care about people, projects and causes. I am invested in every single important person in my life.  If it or they matters to me, I give it 110 percent and will figure out a way to make it work. While there are times when I care too much, for the most part what I invest, I get back tenfold. When people see you are invested in them or their project, they tend to become equally as invested in you. Caring too much can lead to my over thinking but I wouldn’t change this part of my personality entirely. Like I said yesterday, 2013 is about balance for me. So, I am learning to balance my caring nature with the reality of caring too much and the negative things attached to that possibility.

A huge thank you to Amber for introducing me to the 30 days of truth blogging challenge. You should go check out her blog because it’s fantastic. Additionally, our other friend Lauren started her 30 days of truth challenge today too. Great minds think alike! The quote below sums it up.

“If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check.” – Eat Pray Love

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