I want to tell you a story about two women. Let’s call them Stella and Nana. Stella is a young entrepreneur, she sells personalized mugs and shadows as a part-time makeup artist; she loves both jobs; she prefers the freedom of working at her own pace, then there is Nana, Nana just got a job as a risk analyst at a very reputable firm, she is thinking of taking her CFA exams next June; she likes to cook, she’s been told that she is fantastic at it by her boyfriend, she would love to make it a side hustle, if she could find the time.
On the surface both women are fine, of the two Nana is the more accomplished, she graduated summa cum laude, lives in a nice apartment, her boyfriend is about to propose (she doesn’t know that yet), and takes Instagram worthy vacations at least twice a year. Stella just makes enough to cover rent and bills, thrift shops most of her clothes and spends most of her Friday nights bingeing on Chinese fried shrimp, cheap beer and watching make-up tutorials on YouTube, but she’s a happy girl, she comes from a loving family and has wonderful friends.
Different women, same struggle, a lack of self-confidence.
For Nana, it shows up at her workplace; she doesn’t feel as competent as her peers; she finds it difficult to assert herself and voice her ideas during meetings; she is also having issues in her relationship; she is not sure if her boyfriend is suitable for her, but she will settle because she doesn’t think she is good enough for anyone else. Stella needs constant external affirmation, she doubts her skills as a makeup artist; she doesn’t believe she has what it takes to to establish a successful business; she looks at other individuals around her; she sees them thriving, and she feels as if they all have something she doesn’t, some secret formula she is not privy too.
They both represent each of us at some point. In her course on self-esteem, hypnotherapist Marisa Peer states we are all born loaded with confidence, the problem is that something happens to us along the way, that disrupts our self-belief. Some of us are born confident and die confident (lol) some of us struggle all our lives and finally decide enough is enough ,then we just fake it until we make it (God help us).
Truth is, the moment we attach greater weight to external opinions of our being, instead of what we think of ourselves, our sense of self-worth erodes. How people respond to us, how we come across to other people, when these matter far more than they should, then we run into serious complications. Why do we do this? Maybe because we do not trust ourselves, I mean what if we wrongly assess our capabilities or competence, there is probably some price to pay socially, but if we always have to seek external validation as an indicator we are doing the right thing or are on the right path, we risk losing our ability to judge what is best for us in the long run.
Having high self-esteem doesn’t mean that we have all the answers, it’s about being internally convicted that we have the wherewithal to make reasonable value judgments, given what we know to be true. We trust in the efficacy of our decision-making process.Ndidi Ndekwu
What premium do we place on having a healthy sense of self, can we not just fake it and wing our way through life, after all some may say it would be arrogant for us to assume that we know what is best for us, besides no human being is truly confident all the time, you are always wondering if you are good enough, constantly comparing, dissecting and analyzing how valuable you are,always second guessing your position in the dominance hierarchy?
So why don’t we examine the importance of having a healthy sense of self, take Nana for instance, who I mentioned earlier was a great cook, people tell her all the time she should start a catering business, they swear they would patronize her if she charges for her delicious jollof rice, she really wants to do it but the problem is she doesn’t think she is any good. She thinks her friends are just being nice, therefore; she doesn’t believe that this venture would be profitable, so she doesn’t invest in it.
Fast forward to a few years down the road, Tolu, her friend also starts a catering business, and everyone is talking about it, the food is delicious and affordable, a mutual friend remarks, how they can recall, Nana used to make a superb food, they wonder why she never started her own catering business. She responds that she never found the time, but deep down inside she resents Tolu, because she has the confidence to do what, she couldn’t.
Self-confidence is the tool needed to turn our dreams into realities. There is always a possibility that when we venture out, we risk failure; we ARE painfully aware of this, but despite this, we require the courage to act or else our inertia can lead us down a path of regret and disdain as we saw with Nana Without an unshakable belief in self, we cannot dive in and tackle all the challenges that new ventures, obstacles or life will throw at us.
So how do we build our self confidence?
I will discuss this in my next post.