This week I had a conversation with my longtime friend Diane von Furstenberg (in front of 600 other new friends who’d come to the Skirball to hear us). We were there because Diane released a new book, The Woman I wanted to Be, which takes a look back at her very interesting life — even though she’s at the top of her game and still living it.
During our talk I asked Diane about a claim she makes in the book: that she can sell confidence. I didn’t know if that was something I could subscribe to. Can you actually BUY confidence? She maintained that you could — saying her iconic wrap dress can make a woman feel instantly more confident on the inside just by feeling better about the way she looked on the outside.
“Everything is confidence,” she said. “Whether it’s for work, whether it’s your private life, whether it’s how you raise your children, everything, everything is about confidence.”
I agree. Self esteem is of huge importance in our lives. And so many of us are lacking it.
Even Diane. The next thing out of her mouth was this: “But that doesn’t mean you sometimes don’t feel like a loser. I felt like a loser half an hour ago in the car. It’s an ongoing process. But the biggest advice I can tell anyone is that the most important relationship in life is the one you have with yourself.”
I have written about it before, but Diane’s comments got me thinking about sharing it again: I used to think that only grand gestures and ‘powerful’ people could be important.
I hear similar sentiments all the time. ‘I’m not smart enough to be able to do that.’ ‘He’ll never like me, I’m not pretty enough.’ “I’ll never be successful enough to make a difference.’
‘I am not enough.’
The truth is, there’s not a lack of ability in this world. There is a lack of CONFIDENCE in our own abilities. We are all important. We are all valuable. And we all have something to give. That’s the simple idea behind my ‘Architects of Change‘ philosophy. We can all make a difference and that starts on the inside.
But it takes confidence to believe in yourself. It takes confidence to spend the time it takes to get to know yourself and learn to like yourself.
As women, often times we think we’re being selfish if we take time for ourselves. Instead of taking “me time” to look inside and take our own mental, emotional and physical temperatures, most of us feel like we need to be more focused on parenting, volunteering and careers while our minds, our bodies, our own wants and needs take a backseat.
Diane had a great thought on that too: “You could be a good mother, you could be a good daughter, you could work very hard, but when you go in the middle of the night and you see yourself in the mirror, make sure you can wink at yourself.”
I still don’t believe that you can BUY confidence. I think, as Diane admitted, you have to teach it to yourself. It’s an ongoing process, but it’s worth the work. And it’s not selfish work. By making yourself better, you’re making the world better.
How great is it when you’re happy enough with yourself to show it? Who doesn’t love to be winked at?
I’m going to keep working on my personal self esteem, and I hope you will too. And the next time I catch my own reflection, I’ll be winking. Will you? #PassItForward