How to Be Confident


How to Be the Confident, Sexy Woman Men Say They Want

By Mary R. Dittman, M.B.A.

For years, men have reported that confidence is one of the traits that makes a woman “sexy.”  A woman may be beautiful, but if she’s insecure and needy, that will diminish her sexiness in a man’s eyes.

We all want to be more confident.  From my college students to the groups of professionals I speak to, one of the most requested topics I speak on is confidence.  It seems we all want to feel more confident!

What is confidence?  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “confident” as, “Full of conviction; certain; having or showing assurance and self-reliance.”  

I like this definition because it’s based on self-reliance, not on external circumstances or the opinions of others.

As single women, it can be difficult to feel confident - especially when you’re over 40.  If you’re like me, and you’ve never been married, “never being picked” can be a blow to your confidence.  If you’re divorced, you may feel the sting of rejection or the discouragement of failure.  

I’ve heard women in their late 40’s and early 50’s talk about how the aging process is tough because as we age, our looks change.  In a culture where youth and beauty are worshipped and women are bombarded with unrealistic images courtesy of filters and Photoshop, we can lose confidence in our physical presence.  This is especially true if you “always had your looks to fall back on.”

I was working with a friend of mine a few years ago who had hired me to do some marketing consulting work.  She was a Vice President at a Fortune 500 company, and was a very successful and effective marketing expert herself. 

As I sat across the desk from her, I had a sort of out-of-body experience.  She was explaining her ideas on a new initiative, and I was aware she was older than when we’d first met.  She had gained a few pounds, had some more grey hair, more fine lines and wrinkles, and kept her reading glasses close by.  But I was struck by her tremendous sex appeal. 

Watching her be in her zone professionally, she was so full of enthusiasm and confidence, I could see why her fantastic husband had fallen for her!  In fact, she was well over 40 when she married for the first time!

Her sexiness wasn’t from hair extensions, Botox, lip injections, or colored contacts.  It wasn’t because she dressed like a siren (she doesn’t) or because she is rail-thin.

Her sexiness is rooted in her confidence.  She has conviction and certainty and is assured of her ability to do a good job.  She knows her value is in who she is and what she brings to the table.  Her value is NOT based on her dress size or how many likes she gets on her social media posts.

As single women, we should actually have an advantage when it comes to confidence.  Merriam-Webster says confidence comes from self-reliance.  As singles, we have to be self-reliant because we don’t have a husband to rely on. Many of us don’t even have a boyfriend we can count on!

I think the mistake we make is in wanting to “feel” confident, versus “being” confident.  Feelings can be misleading.  Have you ever “felt fat,” only to discover the number on the scale was lower than you’d expected, or those “skinny weight” jeans fit just fine?  Sometimes you “feel” like your hair looks horrible, but you get a ton of compliments that day.

I was confiding to a friend once that I hoped I would “be okay” if I never got married.  Her answer: “Well, you’ve never been married and you’re okay now.” 

That really helped me!  While I would prefer NOT to be single, I’ve done well.  I bought and sold my own home, I’ve provided for my retirement, I’ve created my financial security and have zero debt.  I’ve navigated health crises, emotional crises, and career crises alone.  I’ve survived breakups, breakdowns, and breakthroughs.  I’ve dealt with the death of my stepmom, a close friend, and the loss of several important relationships.  I’ve been betrayed, deceived, stalked, harassed, and abused.

And, I’m okay.

Confidence doesn’t mean you never feel insecure or unsure.  I get nervous when I’m giving a talk (even though I’m a college professor).  I hope others will like me when I join a new group.  I feel sad when the guy I was interested in disappears.

But, I have the assurance that I can deal with those situations because I’ve been through them before.  I’ve messed up on stage, I’ve been rejected from groups (sometimes publicly), and I’ve watched men choose other women countless times.

And, I’m okay.

You’ll never have a One-Derful Life without confidence!  It’s not about preferring singleness, it’s about having the assurance that comes from relying on yourself.  Because that’s what you’ve had to do.

Nobody else can give you true confidence.  If your confidence comes from being married, what will happen when your spouse dies or leaves?  Confidence isn’t something a man gives you, it’s something you already have that inspires a man to have confidence in you.

How can you be more confident?  Look at what you’re doing that works.  Are you going to work every day?  Raising children?  Paying your bills?  Engaged in community service?  Relating to family and friends? 

If you truly have nothing in your life that you can look at and feel good about, you don’t need to be thinking about a man right now!

Having a One-Derful Life is about being rooted and grounded in the certainty that you are okay right now, even if you don’t have the relationship you desire.

Question: Do you feel confident?

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