When I was younger – especially during those nasty, spotty teenage years – confidence was something that was very much for other people. I wasn’t a very confident person at all – Im still not in fairness. My mum telling me to “just be confident” didn’t really help matters, to say the least, like it was something one can just pull out of a hat and “do”. The bullies didn’t help, and neither did the range of haircuts that often resembled brocollis. As a parent, I’m starting to realise that I can’t teach Eden to be confident if I am not.
At twenty nine, I’m now starting to learn what real confidence is and I feel like for the first time in my life, I’m actually becoming confident, rather than just trying to act confident and shut down my inner critic, who often has quite a lot to say, the loudmouth bitch.
I went to an event last week organised by Mumsnet and No7, which is a make up company here in the U.K. The theme of the event was #No7ready – Going Back To Work With Confidence. When I accepted the event invitation, I had a look st the Mumsnet thread on the subject and was surprised to see quite a bit of negativity from people who had taken the description to mean “YOU MUST WEAR MAKE UP TO BE CONFIDENT”! I didn’t take it that way at all.
I’ve always been a total make up noob. Like, there was the one time in like 2012 when I spent $60 at the Bare Minerals counter in NYC and came away with some lovely bits that I knew how to use, but I soon stopped using them and the recommendations of the lovely sales assistant slithered out of my brain, never to be seen again. I’m a tinted lip balm kind of girl (London lips need balm) and have never felt the need to wear a dull face of slap every single day, but I know the confidence to know HOW would really help. You know, for special occasions and whatever.
Apparently the event would feature makeovers and a goody bag “packed full” of No7 goodies, as well as the usual prosecco and canapés. I was excited but nervous as I had chosen to go alone, which in retrospect was a bad idea as nothing sets off anxiety more than being in a room full of people you don’t know and being completely alone. My resting bitch face really doesn’t help matters…
Anyhow, the panel at the start of the event was insightful. We heard from Anna Whitehouse, the lady behind “Mother Pukka”, Jade Parfitt and Alice Olins and Phanella Mayall Fine from the Step Up Club. As well as Carrie Longton, the creator of Mumsnet. I very much enjoyed the panel, and took quite a lot from it. There was a lot of talk of being empowered to ask for flexible working, being empowered to do your own thing and having the self confidence and strength to break into the “mumpreneur” (this word gives me rage – can’t we jsut be entrepreneurs?) world if you want to. There was very little talk of make up, which is what I expected. I came away with a feeling of “I can definitely do this” as someone who is trying to carve out a new path in my workplace.
The “makeovers” were a little shambolic. There were about a hundred attendees and about ten make up stations. I was hoping someone could help me out with my lack of make up knowledge, but because I didn’t run or push, I didn’t make it to a station. I then didn’t want to hang around each station waiting for someone to finish. The canapés were lovely and prosecco is always good…
It’s like me using the Curly Girl method on my hair. I feel so much better for knowing what to do with my crazy hair. I love the curls and it gives me confidence. That’s for me, not for anyone else. My curls are a part of me, and embracing them means that I am embracing an integral part of what makes me Laura. I’ve also realised that my curls are awesome and not the pain in the ass that I had them down as – something to tuck away, straighten or completely ignore. Maybe one day I will learn how to use makeup effectively, but until then I’m working on the confidence that comes from within and being proud of my hair taming achievement.
The main thing I took away from this event was exactly what I had been beginning to realise – confidence is more than skin deep. It doesn’t matter how much make up you put on, how many expensive pairs of shoes you own or how many designer bags you have, confidence is what’s inside. Confidence is loving yourself and believing in yourself and your abilities. Especially when it comes to your career, I learnt how important it is to take chances, don’t be afraid to fall and pull yourself back up again and that your career is long, so don’t freak out if you fall at the first hurdle. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. I think most of those things are applicable for life as well as work.
How do you help yourself feel confident?