Confidence is a complex thing. I lost mine massively after having children. But I’m pleased to say it’s coming back in bucket loads and to prove it I’m even posting a selfie! (a frigging selfie godammit!). Something I would never have dreamed about doing a year ago. No, it’s not because I’ve washed and blow dried my hair (husband breathes sigh of relief), or because I’ve put some makeup on. And it’s not just so I can show off my new leather jacket (OK, it might be a little bit).
This photo shows the reality of life but also reflects my new-found confidence. It’s proof that I’m comfortable showing you ME (as well showcasing a terribly composed photograph). It’s a scene we all recognise: messy living room, inability to take decent selfie (what’s the best angle to avoid triple-chinnage?), dirty mirror covered in little finger prints, slightly awkward smile. I am happy to share it because I feel happy in my own skin again. If you’re feeling further back on this journey I just want to say ‘hang-in there’, it will get better!
My confidence is back where it matters – inside. I wanted to share this with all of you today (hopefully not in a patronising self-help, Jerry Springer’s last word kind of way), but to speak to (and for) all the women out there who are lacking in self-confidence. I know what it’s like and it can feel crushing at times. Having children, taking a career break (not taking a career break) and making endless sacrifices can make you feel like a dry old husk some days. My route back to feeling like my old self is pure and simple: I finally have found a sense of professional worth through this website and I feel energised, full of purpose and brimming with ideas.
I’ve had a couple of major knock backs professionally. I went for an interview a few years back and all was going swimmingly until the subject of hours came up. The atmosphere became noticeably frosty when I suggested alternatives to the 9-5. Needless to say that didn’t go anywhere as I didn’t want to work somewhere like that (I’ve written a piece on the issues surrounding flexible working – have a read). I then had a seriously confidence-knocking experience quite recently where I helped out someone in a bid to achieve some particular experience I was lacking. After the job was done I was promptly dropped like a hot potato – no credit or thanks. All pretty ego-bruising stuff that really hit my confidence in my own abilities hard. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger so I decided the only way to make a career work for me is to take back control (in a totally non-Brexity way of course). Hence starting this magazine and my plans to work for myself.
This magazine and the community it’s building has lifted my spirits and made me excited about work again. I’ve got big plans for this year and I want you all to join in (watch this space).
Written by Amy White, editor of Social Butterflies