A Songbird Sings Again
Kechi was the sole survivor of a Nigerian plane crash. She had 3rd degree burns over much of her body including her face. Her confidence had been robbed by the unfortunate tragedy she suffered. The ability to sing was still there and as fresh as ever but her outer appearance threatened to cover it up forever. I saw past the scarring and tapped into the sweet, talented, intelligent person she was. The problem was she felt others would be put off by her outward appearance. Even worse, she was trapped and stripped of her confidence by the anticipated fickle opinions of others.
Who Sets The Bar For Acceptance Anyway?
In February of 2010 the nonprofit I founded “The Amos House of Faith” was hosting a gala to raise funds to support children and families in the Houston area affected by burn trauma. It is a time when the whole burn community, burn survivors, firefighters, and medical personnel come together to celebrate the success and power of peer support. Kechi was a high school senior and I wanted to give her a platform to display her talent at the event. I remember approaching her and asking if she would grace us with a selection. She titled her head slightly and averted her eyes from me. In a very shy tone she responded “I don’t know”. I didn’t want to push the issue but I desperately wanted to know the reason behind the hesitation. She folded her arms across her abdomen, looked up at me and said in a sad frightened voice, “I don’t know if I can stand before people like this.”
Jump Starting The Confidence of Others
My heart was filled with compassion. I had been in that spot before myself. I reached out and touched her on the shoulder. She looked up at me and a small smile came on her face. I didn’t bother lecturing her about social acceptance issues. All I wanted to do was jump start her confidence. I returned her smile and simply said, “You can do it. Let me know when you make your decision.”
The Rebirth of Confidence
She did make a decision. What we witnessed at the 2010 Bold Brave Believing Hearts Gala brought us all to our feet. The melodic powerful soul stirring song she sang testified to the inner beauty she possessed. It was her decision born out of heart, beauty, and true confidence. She was the captain and no one was controlling her ship.
The Real You Unveiled
Who we really are is normally buried under visible things such as clothes, friends, status, and superficial beauty. Trauma has a way of stripping you bare, disclosing you for the person that you really are. On March 7, 1999 I found myself lying in a hospital bed owning nothing but my integrity. After the fire destroyed my home and ravished my body, who was I then? I was known to be the lady who loved purple, an enviable homemaker, and confidant. But when I owned nothing, and purple didn’t matter, when I didn’t have the ability to take care of my household and couldn’t shoulder a burden for the life of me, who was I then? Despair screamed I was nothing. Confidence had fled. I had to reach deep to clothe myself.
Confidence – The Missing Link
I find confidence is often the missing piece for many of us in pursuit of a successful life. Many opportunities have slipped our grasp because no one was there to tell us we could do it when in fact we could have told ourselves. There is beauty inside of all of us. It doesn’t matter how many people can see it. Until you are aware, it lies buried and ineffective. True confidence is the confidence that comes from what you personally know to be true. It is a self-assurance that is present and functioning rather the crowd acknowledges it or not. Confidence is the level of belief and assurance you have in something. It comes from within the heart. Know for yourself what you are made of.
Refuse to let outside circumstances that are not in your control rob you of confidence. Ask yourself this question:
- Do I have true confidence or does my assurance come solely from others?
Don’t let your self-worth rest on the precarious slope of others opinions.
Every human has been graced with a gift and talent.
- Take a few moments out of your busy schedule today and make a list of what you are confident of.
- On the other side write what you are doing with that knowledge.
- Make a second list noting the things that loved ones and close friends feel confident about you. Do you feel as confident as them?
- Next to that write why or why not?
- Challenge that why not: it will be an exhilarating and liberating experience.
Remember life is most enjoyable when there is heart, beauty and true confidence.
*This post first appeared on Jennings Wire where Justina is a contributing blogger.