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Text by: Christine Pethel

There is no cosmetic for beauty like happiness.
-Countess of Blessington, (Irish novelist, most noted for her work on
Conversations with Lord Byron, 1789 - 1849)
If I were to tell you I was going to write an article titled "Self-Confidence," and that the main premise would be this: "In order to be beautiful, you need self-confidence," what would you think the rest of my article would be about? You'd probably think I was going to spend a lot of time telling you to build your self-esteem with work "from the inside out." And that to accomplish this, you would need to write in your morning journals, love yourself, be grateful, and practice positive affirmations in a mirror. Well, I'm not. There's already been a lot of time spent in previous months focusing on those concepts. While they're all important, I want this article to be more light-hearted by showing you how beauty comes through your own, inner spunk. Hopefully by the end, you'll be smiling.

It's true self-confidence can be influenced by your positive (or negative) self-esteem, but you don't need to have perfect and healthy self-esteem in order to flaunt a little self-confidence. In her book, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy, author Sarah Ban Breathnach explains her view on the difference between self-esteem and self-confidence.

Many women confuse self-esteem with self-confidence. For me, self-esteem is how we really feel about ourselves in the secret sanctuary of our soul. Do we love, accept, and approve of ourselves unconditionally? Do we believe that we are worthy of the love of others and the best that life has to offer?

But self-confidence is a special elixir that has been prepared to help each of us face and surmount the challenges of life. It's an aromatic blending of invigorating essences: attitude, experience, knowledge, wisdom, optimism, and faith.
© Jessica Ceason Photography

I like to think of self-confidence more like your spirit, pep, personality, energy… your inner spunk — all of those sprinkled with a little bit of sass. In other words, your personal moxie. You don't have to be outspoken and precocious to display your self-confidence. You can be confident in so many different ways. You can be the type that is peaceful and quiet, loud and buoyant, self-assured and poised, or even calm and cool. It comes in all shapes and sizes, because it's your "personal elixir." It is universally true, however, that when you show your self-confidence, people will feel it and be attracted to it. There will be a glow about you, and people will be intrigued by you.

So, how can you find your inner moxie? I say start with your attitude. A positive outlook is absolutely imperative. Self-confidence is, in essence, positivity, and you cannot have self-confidence without it. Finding "happy" in any situation puts a smile on your face and makes you want to dance around in the rain!

Beauty is power; a smile is its sword.
-Charles Reade (English novelist and dramatist, 1814-1884)

Think about what a smile can do. Such a simple act, yet it is by far one of the most infectious and influential. A smile can touch someone's life, as well as change your own.

From time to time, I have spoken at seminars on the topic of self-confidence. After a short time of sharing with the audience all the ways that self-confidence can beautify a person, I usually see by the blank looks that they're thinking, "Yeah, yeah. We've heard this all before. Don't worry. Be happy." It's at that point I know a change in atmosphere needs to happen.

© Jessica Ceason Photography

With a smile on my face, I instruct them to turn to their neighbor, look the person in the eye, and give them a smile. Not just any old quick "just-cuz-I-was-told" smile. A real, genuine smile.

Do they do it? Nope. I get nothing from the audience. They all just sit and stare at me wondering if I'm really serious.

Yep, I am. Go ahead! Smile! Giggles and embarrassment erupt throughout the room. But they do it.

Then I tell them to turn to their opposite neighbor and give them a smile.

Again, giggles erupt, in addition to a few louder laughs that spread throughout the crowd. Then, as each face returns to me, I no longer see the faces that, only moments earlier, looked at me with intense looks, blank stares, deep thoughts, tired eyes, and yes, even a few bored gazes. What I now saw were faces that had smiles, sparkles in their eyes, and a glow about them. You could feel the overwhelming change in dynamic of the room. There was now lightheartedness, and it looked as though everyone wanted to burst into laughter. I'm certain some even walked out of that room with a newfound outlook on life, even if only for a day. All because of a smile… All because someone looked them in the eye and smiled.

Can you remember a time when the act of someone smiling at you made your day? It could have been a pretty woman or a handsome man. Or was it your small child happy to see you? Was it a random stranger on the street?

© Jessica Ceason Photography

In high school, I was not one of the popular kids. In fact, I was very shy and pretty insecure. One day, as I was walking from gym class to History, one of the new, but suddenly popular, kids randomly looked me in the eye and smiled. It suddenly made me stop. "Why was she looking at me? Does she even know who I am? Do I have a booger in nose?" Then I started to think that maybe even though she didn't know who I was, she had smiled anyway. I can't tell you what it meant to me to have someone actually "see" me. Little did she know that she had put a smile on my face for the rest of the day, and I'm sure I smiled at a few people too, hopefully "making their day."

Self-confidence starts with a smile. For some, it comes easily, for others it takes all the courage they can muster to even think of smiling.

So what happens when you just can't seem to gather any sort of self-confidence, let alone smile? I say fake it! Fake it until it becomes genuine.

If we act as if we're confident, we become so.
-Sarah Ban Breathnach (author of Simple Abundance)

Act the part, then you will become the part. You will find your moxie along the way, and in turn, the faith you have in yourself will only grow stronger, and your self-confidence will help you move mountains!

The history of the world is full of men who rose to leadership, by super force of self-confidence, bravery and tenacity.
-Mahatma Gandhi (political and ideological leader of India, 1869-1948)