You don't have to try so hard. You don't have to bend until you break.

When Cate was three weeks old, she was admitted to the hospital for a few days because she had RSV. My friend Kristi stopped by to visit, and I remember how good it felt to have her there even though I also felt and acted like a zombie. I was unable to process coherent thoughts. I was tired. 

I apologized for my inability to have a conversation, and I'll never forget what she said. 

"Angie, you don't have to perform." 

And it's funny that I felt the need to try. She was there for me. She did not need or want me to entertain her. I wanted her to understand that her presence was appreciated, but I suppose she already knew that. 

I thought of that story after receiving so many thoughtful responses to last week's post about confidence.

Vera commented, "I don't think I'll ever stop the negative self talk... but I try to be nicer and more forgiving." 

And in my email inbox, Solange wrote that her best self is, "right here, right now. Isn't that what it's all about?! Being in full acceptance of self. Right here. Right now. Perfectly imperfect."

To both of them, I say, Yes. Yes to being more accepting. Forgiving. Yes to being just a little bit nicer to ourselves when we don't meet our own, or other people's, expectations. 

In those moments when we allow ourselves to "just be", we're reminded that we don't have to perform. Who we are is enough. At the same time, I believe there are so many things we can DO to point us back to, and reflect, who we really are. The being and the doing are connected, I think. It's like a circle. 

Have you seen this video by Colbie Caillat? It's soooo powerful and worth watching. To me, it says everything about true confidence, and where to find it. 

"Take your makeup off. Let your hair down. Take a breath. Look into the mirror, at yourself. Don't you like you? 'Cause I like you."

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Stop the Madness.

The first time I remember feeling comfortable inside my own skin, I was in my early 20s, fresh out of college and working as a producer at TV news station. The newfound sense of confidence was a noticeable shift, probably brought on by living on my own and paying my own rent, and the daily routine of taking care of myself (and my cat) in my new, grown-up life. 

I also recall that this feeling of confidence didn't last very long. As I worked towards my aspirations, the insecurities creeped backed in. And, if I'm being totally honest, I can see that I've done this confident, not-so-confident dance with myself for most of my life. 

Recently, Megan from Best Kept Self asked me to join their Stop The Madness campaign, a movement to end negative self talk in women. This powerful video explains what it's all about:

As part of the #StopTheMadness campaign, they asked me to fill out a confidence survey, which you can find here. As I answered the questions, I realized that the time in my life that I've felt the most confident is right now. Is it because there's something magical about turning 40? Probably not. I realized that sense of confidence comes from finally understanding what confidence really is (to me) and my desire to stay connected to it. 

The team at Best Kept Self also asked to complete this sentence: My Best Kept Self is ____.

When I sat down and thought about what has to happen for me to look and feel my best, here's what I came up with: hydrated, well-rested, physically fit, open-hearted, open-mind and divinely inspired. 

Today, I'm posting my #BestKeptSelfie on Instagram and it will also be added to BestKeptSelf.com, alongside the faces of other women who want to #StopTheMadness.

Will you join me? Just go to BestKeptSelf.com/stopthemadness and pledge to end negative self talk too. 

Who is your Best Kept Self? 

Listening to: Suddenly I See by KT Tunstall

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