If the French woman, bien dans sa peau, with her self-confidence and her stylish looks is our woman to be admired, then how can we learn from her? How is this confidence she so freely exudes attained? Why is it that confidence makes us appear happier, more beautiful and more fulfilled as women?
I believe lives can change with confidence; I have both seen and experienced this. If I am feeling sure about myself then all becomes right in my world. Confidence is that quality that makes us walk tall, that gives us the courage to go the extra mile and to change the small things in our lives that can lead to the bigger breakthroughs. Confidence allows us to concentrate not only on our appearance but also on our intellectual and our emotional well being. Confident is; to be hopeful, sanguine, certain, satisfied, assertive, self-possessed, at ease, self-reliant, poised, together or unperturbed – all these adjectives I have heard or read many times to describe French women.
Confidence is a sneaky little fellow – he can creep up on us when we least expect it and he can desert us in our hour of need without as much as an au revoir or a plus tard. I try and remember that confidence is in my control, not beyond my control; confidence is my friend and my ally. This makes the presumption that we can always find the self-confidence within and at times, however hard we try, this does not happen. Confidence is something we have to work on, like our bodies, to become strong and supple. Confidence is not achieved over night and this quest is a life long process.
How do we build this self-confidence? In the ideal world we would have a blissful childhood followed by a flawless adolescence. Self-confidence would be a compulsory immunization administered at regular intervals by parents and life would be rosy for all players. A girl would be bien dans sa peau from an early age and she would transition through her years with an ample supply of self-confidence. Sadly this is not so and will never be – life is not perfect. To be self-confident we have to love ourselves and be kind to ourselves; destructive self-criticism is out. I think French women understand this, they rejoice in being women. They appreciate what they have, not what they don’t have. We must be optimistic and focus on the positive in our lives not the negative. Negative thoughts are the enemy and should be dealt with quietly, efficiently and with a deathly blow. Confidence is about taking small steps every day and not allowing anyone or anything to undermine them. When our self-confidence takes a battering – and it does and often – it is these small steps, learned over time, that enable us to pick ourselves up. Confidence is about building emotional strength.
As women we have the greatest resource to build self-confidence at our disposal – each other. We must be caring of each other, encourage each other, share with each other and not be threatened or jealous of each other. These things we are too quick to forget and they are not easy accomplishments. A confident woman can compliment another with generosity and affection; a women lacking in self-confidence will be afraid or too timid to speak her mind for fear that she may fall prey to criticism. Complimenting each other is the easiest and quickest way to build confidence but how often do we do it? For whatever reason we forget; we are too pre-occupied or we don’t want to be so forward, appear too eager or look unsophisticated. There is nothing better than the feeling when someone says that you have done your job well, that your children are a credit to you, that your writing struck a chord or that you look lovely; the most simple compliment of all. It is euphoric and we blossom with the rush that comes from praise, yet in our cynical world we are sometimes so reluctant to offer the very thing that we crave the most. Compliments are infectious – the more we receive, the more we feel able to give.
The compliment is a mighty tool and one that we all hold in our hands – as women we must use it willingly and witness our confidence flourish. This just may be the French woman’s secret, xv.