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Learning and Teaching Confidence

Many of the women in my family are leaders. Leaders in the church, at their workplace, in their sororities, and in their families. With leadership comes much responsibility, integrity, accountability, communication, and confidence. Overall, I would say I am a person of integrity, have self-accountability and have possessed responsibility since I was a child. My communication skills could use some work as I continue to work on my tone and assertiveness. Then there is confidence. Even the mention of the word has me cringe as I am currently in a season of learning and teaching confidence.

The dictionary defines confidence as “firm trust,” “the state of belief in someone or something,” “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one's appreciation of one's own abilities or qualities.” All of these definitions feel different when read and spoken aloud. Do I have a firm trust in myself? Yeah sure, why not! Do I believe in myself? Yes, of course I do…right? Do I have a feeling of self-assurance and appreciation of my own abilities and qualities? Well let’s pause there. Truthfully speaking…I do not. If anyone asked me if I was confident in something I would immediately say yes. If you asked me if I had self-confidence I would fervently say of course! However, my mouth speaks from a place of illusion, a state of fantasy. Do I inherently wish I had confidence in many and most things? Of course I do and let the truth be told, I don’t. As the infamous saying goes, actions speak louder (and more truthfully) than words.

I have been going back and forth about the next steps in my career and life. As I am emerging into a new season of hope, manifestation, and peace, I realized I am scared. What if people really knew my truth, would they still perceive me to be credible? What if I do get the job, am I going to remember how to differentiate a cough from allergies versus a virus or even cancer? Do I still believe in my abilities to use a stethoscope and hear a heartbeat of normal rhythm versus one of atrial fibrillation? In theory I KNOW, without a shadow of a doubt, that I am able and can do all these things plus more. But the voice that creeps up at the glimpse of a white coat or stethoscope tells me otherwise. Putting my career and knowledge aside, another situation just played out recently. The more in tune I become with my body and nature, the more times I am aware of the heights of my creative abilities. I was asked to execute a creative task at work. I did it flawlessly, without any problems or hesitation. When I presented the artwork to my coworker she cried. I looked at her with a confused look. She stated “you did everything I imagined plus more and I did not even give you my idea or direction.” I said to her “Ok, well what’s wrong with it?” She said “what do you mean? It's perfect.” With rebuttal I asked, “well something must be fixed. Don’t you have any feedback?” She looked at me and touched my shoulder, “Dominique, this work speaks volumes, why aren’t you confident in your artwork?” I just smiled, went the other way, and said to myself “ok God, I hear you,” as I immediately thought of my daughter.

My daughter is 10 years old and has verbally expressed her lack of confidence in many areas from academics to social and extracurricular activities, so much so her gymnastics coach just had a meeting with me about her regressing in skill levels simply because of lack of confidence. When confidence became a topic for her a few years ago I couldn’t understand where this insecurity was coming from. In fact, I blamed her dad and “his genes.” Surely, my genes didn’t express insecurities! Everyone in my family were leaders, successful, educated women…who I now know, after ancestral divinations, real life personal experiences, and reflections of my daughter…lack confidence. I am learning and teaching myself and my daughter how to build and maintain confidence. No matter the hurdles that may come our way or the negative talk from the outside world, the inner possession of confidence, that truly knowing without a shadow of doubt that WE got this, we CAN do this, is something that no one can take from us, even if they tried.


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