Who doesn't like to see confident women celebrated and embraced as role models for other females from all walks of life? We applaud their strength, marvel at their achievements and share their triumphs with our friends and sisters as inspiration that can help lift us all.
But that's really only part of the story we should be telling, says self-esteem expert Jess Weiner.
As the CEO of her own consulting firm, Weiner advises top brands and organizations on how to best represent women and girls and the issues they face today. At Nicole Richie's Pearl xChange, a conference empowering women, Weiner recently explained one of the major problems with how confident women are portrayed in the media -- and it doesn't do us any favors, she adds.
"What was deceiving for me about the way that media, especially, portrays confidence in women is that it feels like it's all effect and no process," Weiner says. "We see her confidence and we hear her accomplishments... But we don't often know the gritty, messy path that it took to get there."
After working for 20 years in the field of self-esteem education, Weiner has learned that this "gritty, messy path" is what's really at the heart of confidence. "Confidence ... is not a destination in life, but a journey of how you get there," she says.
That's something that we don't talk about. Why? Because it's not easily contained in a 20-second sound bite. It's not easily addressed in a commercial. Jess Weiner, brand consultant and self-esteem educator
This is a journey that doesn't stop, either, Weiner points out. While many people tend to use certain benchmarks -- like the number on a scale or how many zeros are in their paychecks -- there is no finishing line for confidence.
"We often think, 'Well, I get to be confident and then I get to stop,'" Weiner says. "A lot of us have that thought in our head, right? 'If I just lose weight, if I marry this person, if I have this job, if I have this outfit, if I have this amount of money in the bank account, then I will feel great about my life.'"
What's missing from this short-sighted outlook, Weiner continues, is the important, ongoing path of self-discovery.
"That's something that we don't talk about. Why? Because it's not easily contained in a 20-second sound bite. It's not easily addressed in a commercial," she says.
Instead, true confidence comes not from the neatly packaged results that we often see around us, but from being able to embrace, acknowledge and make peace with all that it took to get there.
"How do you make peace with your process, your individual process, your story, your body as is, your dreams as they are?" Weiner poses. "How do you make peace with that and how to you enjoy the process of getting to know who you are along this journey?"
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