The Confidence Walk
by: Sherri L Dodd
A few days back, in the midst of my chaotic holiday shopping excursion, I decided to take refuge in a pleasant nook of the mall. While gathering my thoughts, I was presented with the resonance of a confident woman. Her black leather heeled boots well preceded her appearance. Once in view, I would guess she was mid-fifties, dressed in form fitting jeans and a flashy, collared blouse. Her boots allowed a couple extra inches on her 5’2” height. She came and went in a flurry with the other holiday shoppers, but her essence lingered on beyond the completion of my rest period. I wondered what beliefs in herself did this woman have to carry herself such an assured manner.
Out of curiosity, how do you feel when you see another woman walking confidently past you? I am sure that you have had privy to a similar scene – she is taking long strides with her shoulders back and chin up as she strolls on down the way. Sometimes you may think she is attractive (but don’t want to admit it), other times you may think ‘what the heck is she so proud of?’ Does it ever irritate you that another woman might think that she is…as my little sister says…”All That”?
Confidence in one’s appearance does not equate to vanity, nor does it equate to being condescending or arrogant. In fact, confidence is something that we, as moms and aging women, should all indulge in on a frequent basis. When we learn to look into ourselves to find what is right with us, we will begin to find the same steadfast gait within ourselves. Instead of becoming irritated with those who exude confidence, we will begin to relate to the feeling. To reiterate a popular cliché, when our faces are toward the sunshine, we will not see the shadows. This can be likened to finding happiness within ourselves instead of pointing shameful fingers at unsuspecting passer-bys.
Building confidence can start with achievement. When was the last time you made a goal and stuck to it? I would like to believe that near the top of your list is the ideal of being fit and healthy. Let’s take this one and run with it. When I wrote Mom Looks Great, I wanted the moms who participated in the fitness program to have the option of this same confident walk as well as many other benefits upon the completion of Phase III, if not throughout the entire process and well into the maintenance stage. I wanted the reader’s kids to notice that their Mom looks great! I wanted ‘dad’ or ‘significant other’ to acknowledge – “Yeah…Mom does looks great!” So what aside from the body does that “looks great” phrase entail?
Looking great is also the spirit within you that transcends your superficial flesh. It is your aura, your charisma and your soul. This is why exercise and nutrition play such a vital role in helping you achieve your goal of looking great. When you begin a healthy fitness program you begin to look great even before the weight drops and the muscles tone. When you live this lifestyle, the changes began almost immediately! You will begin to sleep better at night (diminishing dark circles under the eyes), you will have more energy in the following days (gone are the tired grimaces when someone initiates movement) and deep inside your brain, the endorphins are throwing a jubilant celebration (therein lies your improved moods). This is also what ‘looks great’ has to offer. The resulting weight loss and muscle tonality will come, but long after you already have a shine to your skin and a feel-good smile on your face. Even in these early stages people will begin to notice.
So then what do you do with the flattering comments people begin to give to you? When someone says you look great, do you graciously accept the compliment or do you find an excuse to deflect it? Even in our worst moments, a stray compliment could find its way to us and we need to be prepared to accept it with enthusiasm. From this day forward, every compliment you receive YOU MUST accept with a smile and a thank you. After reading this article you are no longer allowed to counter compliments with self-putdowns such as “Ugh, [this excuse that you are wrong]” or “Oh, [I know you don’t mean that]”. Remember that looking great is not always about the perfect body, the sharpest clothes or the healthiest hair. It is how you are perceived by those around you. Take your compliment and use it as a building block to your confidence.
Thinking back to the unknown female with the self-assured walk, how could you attain that same confidence? Begin with keeping your thoughts focused on your goals and the optimism of attaining them. Follow it up with exercise and nutrition on a consistent basis and top it off with the sheer acceptance of all compliments, whether you feel they are justifiable or not. Feel proud about strutting your self wherever you may be. Sure, some people may feel irritated just like you once may have been, but some will think that mom looks great.
In the end, feel happy for the woman who can convey confidence. You never know the trials she has endured in her life. Whether she nearly folded from a devastating divorce, endured painful suffering from a terrible disease or even struggled for years to lose a detrimental amount of body fat. Whatever her story, she finally feels a sense of victory. And, unbeknownst to you, inside she has also probably gained a true inner beauty that is evident only by those who know her well.
About The Author
Sherri Dodd is the creator and author of Mom Looks Great – The Fitness Program for Moms. She is also an ACE-certified Personal Trainer and a Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant with over fifteen years of exercise experience. She is dedicated to a life of fitness as well as encouraging others to establish healthy habits and a better quality of life.
This article was posted on January 19, 2005