Recently I caught up with a good friend of mine who had been away studying. As friends do we talked about life and although technology allowed us to stay in touch over the years since graduating there was a lot to discuss. We decided we would play tourists and she convinced me to go to the beach; something I had not done for quite some time. We settled on the boatyard as we would be able to get something to eat and we wouldn’t be rushed to use the facilities to change our clothes once we were done. This was my first time at the boatyard and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The service was great, the food was good and it was definitely what I needed to relax and take my mind off of all that had transpired that week. Added to my first experience, I had recently purchased a swimsuit, so I felt confident to go into the water and have a grand time!
Whenever I’m feeling cute and I think I did a good job of choosing my outfit, I ask one of my family members to take a picture of me. I’m usually pretty confident as I stand in front of them mainly because they are my family and I know that if I don’t stand properly my time for getting my picture will expire and I’d be left with a picture or pictures of whatever pose I gave them to capture. That is pretty easy and really straight-forward. Stand/ pose, smile, review, say thanks.
It is a whole other ball game and a huge leap out of my comfort zone to stand in front of a friend and pose to get my picture taken. I never know what to do with myself. It is an even bigger leap out of my comfort zone to that in a bathing suit. All the confidence in the world cannot sustain the knots I feel when I allow myself to be vulnerable in front of a camera. However I did it and it was great!
A younger me would not have been able to do this. I would have taken pictures of my friend and left it as that. As I was photographed, thoughts developed and I started to doubt myself. I felt like I didn’t look good, I was self-conscious that my legs were exposed and that we were on the beach with people all around us. I later realised that I did in fact look good in my bathing suit, my legs were good and nobody paid us any mind; so much so that we had to wave at a lady who say near us to take a picture of us together.
This scenario of standing on a beach in a bathing suit may seem trivial but confidence has a lot to do with how we view ourselves and how we feel the world views us. Lacking confidence can be a very crippling thing. It takes some people years before they can stand up in front of a crowd and speak, while there are others who are able to command a room from a very young age. There are even those who never agree to be the centre of attention no matter the circumstance.
I had to make up in mind who I wanted to be; stand up and speak or sit and hit away as others around me did what needed to be done? As I got older, I got bolder and my confidence grew. My relationship with Jesus had everything to do with it. He showed me how He saw me and He gave me the voice I needed to be bold, to stand in confidence and smile a genuine smile in front of the flash of the camera. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be times when you get nervous or when you start to doubt yourself because believe I feel that way every single time I take the stage and there are times when I have to encourage myself to quiet the negative thoughts that try to creep into my mind. I have learned though that it is more important to say something in boldness that to sit quietly in cowardice. What are you willing to do? Will you vulnerable to let someone know what you’re going through to encourage or even challenge what is said to be normal? Or will you allow fear and doubt stop you from being an element of change?
Stay tuned for more…