Are We Showing Our Daughters What Self-Confidence Looks Like?

I had an amazing weekend in Atlanta for the Mom 2.0 Summit. I have lists and thoughts and more lists of things I want to accomplish after being inspired by so many. I met the coolest people that offered up their expertise and wanted to help us all reach our goals. I felt acceptance when I worried about being the outsider. (The “small-potatoes” blogger outsider.) I met some delicious new friends who warm my heart and who are now stuck with me forever. I even stepped outside my comfort zones and actually survived.

But this weekend also reminded me of things that need my attention. Some pretty important things.

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I’ve always known that it was important to me to raise strong, kick-ass daughters. It has always been important to me that they know how amazing they are. How beautiful they are. More importantly, how smart they are. I want them to be comfortable in their own skin. I want them to be brave. I want them to be happy. I want them to work hard and have fun. I want them to know that they are precious and priceless. I want them to have the confidence to stand up for themselves and be who they were meant to be.

I want them to know that they are loved beyond all reason and explanation. Especially when the world is so hell bent on making them think that isn’t true.

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During the Dove Friday morning keynote panel about confidence, we were all reminded the importance of leading by example. We can tell our daughters all day long that they are beautiful. But if they regularly see us, their mothers, talking bad about our own bodies or show that we are uncomfortable in our own skin, we are teaching them to do the same.

If we aren’t an example of self-confidence, our daughters will not learn self-confidence.

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A couple weeks ago, I wanted an excuse to celebrate my birthday. (Apparently BEING BORN isn’t reason enough.) I’m not good at having the “birthday attention” on me, so I thought having a jewelry party would allow me to have a fun time with my friends without being the center of all the attention. But as the party started, the jewelry person had everyone introduce themselves and then give one word that described me. The words were beautiful, sweet and touching.

But I was coming out of my skin uncomfortable.

I wouldn’t describe myself as having low self-esteem, but there were wonderful things being said about me from some of the dearest people on the planet, and there was a part of me that wanted them to stop. In fact, when the jewelry lady saw how uncomfortable I was getting, she asked me if I wanted to skip it. I was *thisclose* to saying yes. What is it that made me so uncomfortable? Did I feel unworthy? Or just embarrassed?

I’m still not sure, but as I was listening to that morning keynote, I was transported back to that day and my inability to take compliments. As they spoke of the importance of being an example of confidence, I was reminded how much I struggle with that very thing. I know that I am strong and that I can do hard things, but my outward example of confidence is almost non-existent. Perhaps because I’m really not very confident at all.

I need to be more careful. While I know that I shower my daughters with love and support, do they ever see me do the same for myself? I want them to be kick-ass and brave. Am I doing my part to make that happen for me? I tell them they are beautiful and smart. Have I ever embraced those words to describe myself? Not really.

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I’ve been thinking about all the times I’ve brushed off compliments and changed the subject. I keep thinking about all the times I half joke/half complain about my flat chest and large ass. How many times have I complained about going completely gray in my 20’s? (A LOT.) It’s weird to admit that I’m proud of the mother that I am but that I’m not proud of the example I’ve been setting as a woman. It’s time to work on that.

I’ve admired Dove and their self-esteem project with the work that they do to inspire and encourage. I am grateful for their participation (and sponsorship) of Mom 2.0 Summit. Most of all, I’m so glad that I was reminded that we have a lot of work to do to make sure our girls know how wonderful and special and beautiful they are.

These girls are amazing! They can move mountains. They can change the world if they want.

But you know what? So can we.

More in 2014

About 9 or 10 years ago, I started blogging as an attempt to keep myself sane. That’s a lot of pressure to put on one blog named after one of my favorite quote in Drop Dead Fred, but there you have it. Telling some of my life stories helped me to gain perspective and, more importantly, realize that I wasn’t alone. I also wasn’t as crazy as I thought I was. Or…maybe I was, but I certainly felt better after spilling my guts onto the interwebs. With everything I was going through, I used that blog as my punching bag and where all my snark or sarcasm lived and breathed. No one had to know. But the problem with blogging anonymously and then finding yourself not quite so anonymous, I started to feel pretty anxious about people I knew in real life reading my words.  So I scrapped that blog and started a new one. And then another one after that. I believe it was the blog after that where I started to blog a little more “out loud” and where I allowed myself to be a little more vulnerable, even though there were people I knew in real life reading my words. Getting more comfortable in my own skin, I finally felt ready and was able to buy by own little internet real estate and name it Life of Jill. It had been a long time coming.

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With a bit more experience at putting myself out there, especially being a part of Listen to Your Mother, I found myself entering into a world of blogging I hadn’t previously been. Through all the different platforms and spaces of blogging, I had never really attached myself to the blogging community or putting myself out there for different  opportunities. I had watched from afar (well, read about) the different blogging conferences and experiences over the years but that was something *other* people did. But last year, things changed a bit. I went to a couple conferences. I had some of the most amazing fun because of blogging opportunities. I’ve met some pretty fantastic people.

And I’m about to meet some more.

In a little over a month, Sarah and I will be flying to Atlanta for the Mom 2.0 Summit. Amazing at it sounds, I am the More in 2014 winner and still completely blown away that this is even happening. First of all, I get to hug on people I’ve never actually met in person. (And some that I have.) I’m sure there are more going that I haven’t even realized yet. There is so much to look forward to, and tons to be nervous about! Although, more than anything, I’m really excited and so very honored to have this opportunity.

So, thank you Mom 2.0 for all this awesome. I absolutely cannot wait.