A Secular Childhood: Letters to My Daughter – no.18 “Self-confidence”

Dear daughter,

I sometimes struggle with self-confidence. I’ve always been an ambitious person and often define myself by my accomplishments. However, once I achieve a goal, it’s never enough. I need more — something bigger and better. I think it’s important to stay hungry, but at some point, you should also be happy with what you have. I always think “if I reach this one goal I will be happy” but that’s not always the case. No matter what I do, I’m never good enough.

Maybe there’s a way to change my thinking so this wasn’t always the case, but I haven’t made an effort to change yet.

Then there’s dealing with your physical flaws. I was cross-eyed most of my life, but two years ago I had surgery to straighten my eyes. Before the surgery, I wondered if I was doing the right thing — going under the knife for cosmetic reasons. It was pretty painful, but the surgery was worth it. It really improved my confidence. Before the surgery, I didn’t even like to look people in the eye. I was embarrassed. Now I look people in the eye and smile. 

I also hate my eyebrows. I have had several microblade appointments in the past couple of years now and l love it. It seems to have the same effect as the eye surgery. I was surprised that dad was okay with it considering it costs hundreds of dollars, but he knows how important it is to me. 

So those are flaws I was able to change and it had a positive effect on my life and self-confidence. But what about the things you can’t change?

I’m overweight, and as long as I’m on psych meds, I probably always will be. Not to mention, women in our family tend to be curvy. My weight sometimes bothers me, but not as much as one might think. Surprisingly, I have been able to accept this flaw. Sometimes I even feel sexy.

When it comes to confidence I try to focus on the positive, change the flaws I can and want to, and accept the flaws I can’t. 

People have inherent worth just in being a unique human being — logically I know this and it’s important to remember. Maybe you feel you accomplish more than someone else in certain areas, but that certainly doesn’t put them beneath you. All that ambition and those goals I have don’t put me above anyone else. We all have positive and negative traits, but as humans, we are equal. 

As you grow up, I can’t wait to see all your traits, qualities, goals, likes, and dislikes, etc. There’s so much that goes into making you a unique person, and I hope you will always feel confident in who you are. I will help in any way I can. You are amazing.



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