I’ve always struggled with understanding confidence, both in and out of my stepparenting journey. For the longest time, I thought that confidence was loud — someone who doesn’t mind being vocal — like an actor, public speaker, leader, or the head of the family. But the truth is, real confidence is not bravado, even though it can sometimes be outward and bold.
Real confidence is quiet, a self-assured willingness to respect yourself and to grow from that. It’s also being more malleable than anything else.
Confidence isn’t always about being ‘right,’ it’s about knowing yourself and your situation well enough to take a back seat, to let others lead, to guide without forcing, and to let life happen outside of your control.
Here are a few myths about confidence that many stepparents falsely believe:
Myth #1: Confidence Is Constant
One of the biggest myths about confidence is that confidence is constant. It’s not! It’s something that can come or go depending on what situation you’re in and how you respond to it. The ‘big fish in a small pond’ is not necessarily so big when in a new environment. That’s why it’s important to remain humble, to trust yourself, and to focus on learning where you can.
This way, your confidence comes from a wellspring that can be adapted to current environment, rather than dependent upon where you are or who’s around you.
Myth #2: Confidence Is Something You’re Born With
Confidence is not something you’re born with, but something you grow and can develop.
Even if you’ve had little self-esteem up until now, you can certainly learn to love and value yourself, regardless of your situation. This requires seeing yourself as someone worth looking after and someone who has something to contribute. And often, this comes from taking care of yourself, and defining yourself as someone worth listening to.
Confidence can also be worked on, for example, dressing well, improving your self-care practices, etc. Having confidence doesn’t depend on your physical appearance, of course, and you don’t have to be perfect, but it’s important to see and value your own worth. This way, others can recognize and honor it, too.
Myth #3: Confidence Needs To Be Loud
Another one of the big myths about confidence is that it’s supposed to be loud. Ironically, it’s often the quietest person in the room — the one who doesn’t feel the need constantly speak their mind or gain social validation — is the most confident (especially with respect to the parenting journey).
If you’re secure in who you are, what you’re doing, and what you provide to the child(ren) in your situation, you don’t have to be so vocal. You can just know your place without having to cause a disruption or conflict.
But, just because you’re in the role your in (stepparent or non-biological caregiver, for example), doesn’t mean that you’re less valuable.
It also doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to have a voice! Speak and express yourself, with respect to helping your situation, of course. And it’s also a good idea to consider if expressing yourself in a certain way helps you feel authentic and strong, or weak and distracted.
This is be easier said than done, but focusing on this approach (and leading with love) helps you to be more honest and humble, which is the foundation from which true confidence grows. Plus, when you focus on bettering your situation rather than just getting your words out, you can (and will!) be a better stepparent to your child(ren).
More Ways To Grow Your Confidence
There are many myths about confidence and what it should look like, especially if you’re a stepparent or in a blended family situation. The most important truth is to recognize that you will get the best from your confidence when you focus on who you are and what your role is, without trying to be more or less, or without stressing yourself over what you can’t control.
There will be difficult situations and people along your journey, but if you stay true to yourself and lead with love (prioritizing your kid/s first), you will thrive. And so will your family.