As published in Sixty and Me
The most alluring attribute a woman can possess is confidence. Confidence turns heads, makes easy introductions and can stop the world in its tracks.
I just spent a week’s vacation with two of my grammar school chums. Each of us is unique, and each of our lives turned out very differently. Also, each of us had the allure of confidence even in our Catholic grammar school.
After my divorce 34 years ago, I chose to carve out my gypsy journey of acting, teaching, writing, and traveling. I raised two sons and kept on dancing as if no one was watching. I’ve had a pretty good sense of self because I was raised by a father and mother who instilled confidence in me. At an early age, I understood and was grateful for the gifts and talents I was blessed with.
I met my friend Charlotte when we were both three years old. She divorced after 18 years of marriage (as I did) because of her husband’s addictions, and she raised two talented and educated children.
Charlotte was strong and beautiful and lucky enough to have fallen in love with a wonderful man 25 years ago. She married him and stayed by his side until his death. She still lives in their home tending diligently and lovingly to their joyful memories.
Her alluring confidence manifests itself in a highly developed social and emotional intelligence. She also derives great happiness from her family, grandchildren, a large circle of friends and her gardening. Charlotte walks like she knows where she is going, what she will be doing at every given minute of the day and carries a sense of urgency about how to live a happy life.
The third member of our clique is Frances. Frances is Phyllis Diller on steroids. She was the funniest girl in school, with a big heart on top. She never doubted the power of her humor, her memory, stray animals and people, and her less than glamour-girl looks. In fact, Frances was our senior homecoming queen.
It was unfortunate that Frances was raised by two dysfunctional parents. They disliked almost everyone who was anything other than Catholic, German or Irish. Frances was rebelling before she got out of high school, acting out and defying parental rules.
After leaving home, Frances spent decades in rebellion. She married three husbands, all of whom she outlived. She was never confident enough to find happiness. She searched for a stable life, finally marrying her last husband for money and not for love.
She lived in misery, surrounded by a shroud of alcohol and cigarettes. As Frances lost the allure of confidence, her belief in self ran out. And yet, there was hope because she had enough confidence to raise three children.
It was sad to see Frances lose her way, even though every so often, she has flashes of the young girl who was the homecoming queen, full of humor and gusto. After difficult days of watching someone you love fall apart daily, Charlotte and I decided to forgive Frances for not being what we wanted her to be.
Maintaining the Allure of Confidence
We all suffer from small deaths: loss of autonomy, individuality or dignity. The enemy is loss of confidence, and that loss leads to self-pity. When we reach the stage of self-pity, we lose respect before everyone’s eyes.
Here’s how we can maintain the allure of confidence for the rest of our lives.
There is nothing more assertive and alluring as self-knowledge. From knowledge comes truth, or as the yogis say, truth to power. Knowing who you are, what your values are, how you want to live your life, etc. instills an overall state of well-being in us.
Whenever I am disappointed, or ask myself if I can be utterly happy being alone, I dig deep into my values, find my bliss, and maintain my autonomy.
Nothing is more exciting in life than staying engaged – socially, emotionally and intellectually. Engagement gives us the ability to stay curious, vibrant and alluring. Engagement gives us the ability to stay present, active and focused. Embracing these ideas is a prescription to staying confident with inner peace.
Life is a process of living, and part of living is accepting our journey, our experiences. Acceptance is integral to maintaining our alluring confidence. Acceptance is a form of recognition that we have been given a life that is connected to everything and everyone in our universe.
By approving this life, we honor our mind, body and spirit. It is then that we can rejoice because we are able to come full circle – from birth to death – giving ourselves permission to create a life worth living.
Our dear friend Frances got off track and lost belief in self and, as a result, lost her confidence and willingness to lead a happy and fulfilling life. What Charlotte and I recognized during our vacation week together was that our individual confidence would lead us through the last decades of our lives. And we felt blessed.
Would you describe yourself as a confident person? Do you accept yourself flaws and all? Please join the conversation below!
Joan Moran is a keynote speaker, commanding the stage with her delightful humor, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. She is an expert on wellness and is passionate about addressing the problems of mental inertia. A yoga instructor and an Argentine tango dancer, Joan is the author of 60, Sex, & Tango, Confessions of a Beatnik Boomer. Her new book, I’m The Boss of Me! Stay Sexy, Strong & Smart at Any Age, is now on Amazon. Check out Joan’s website joanfrancesmoran.com and follow on Twitter @joanfmoran.