Once a week, I’d like to make an encouraging post on the subject of beauty. It’s nice to mix in light, encouraging topics, right? I think so. This weeks encouraging post is geared toward all women who need a confidence boost to get through their Friday.
Maya Angelou, born in 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri, is best known for her autobiographical works, such as I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She is a writer, a poet, a director, a screenwriter, a playwright, a singer, a historian and a teacher. Most recently, she has been teaching at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. You can click on this link if you want to read her 2013 interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Although her poetry is criticized by some and praised by others, I like to look at poems individually. I cannot judge her other poems, but I like this one. To me, this poem describes a woman who draws admiring eyes, not because she is perfect, but because she is confidant. And she is confidant, not because she is perfect, but because she has accepted herself as she is. This acceptance of her entire self, which is so rare to see, makes her stand out from the crowd like a tall and sturdy sunflower in a field of slumped-over daffodils. When you accept yourself as you are, you say, “Okay this is what I have to work with. Now let’s see what my strengths are.” In this way, you get to know yourself which, in turn, gives you confidence.
Imagine that you are an art major and you have to present an enormous painting for a class project. If you have spent all your time worrying about the little imperfections (that line is a little crooked, I don’t like how dark the background is, that person’s eyes are too close together) then you aren’t going to know how to present the painting in a favorable light. In fact, you won’t really know how to present your painting at all. You spent all your time wondering how you could fix its few weaknesses instead of concentrating on its many strengths. And, thus, you really don’t know your painting.
In life, be sure your prepared. Childhood and adolescence are your time to examine and explore your strengths and weaknesses so that you know how to present yourself in a favorable light. From job interviews, to social situations, to everyday life, you need to know how to best present your strengths that you are confidant in. If you know you’re funny, tell a joke. If you know you’re better one-on-one then find someone who needs a friend. If you’re gifted athletically, teach a class at the gym or try out for a team. Play to your strengths instead of focusing on your weaknesses. Extra Hint: Each time you play to your strengths, you gain more experience in that area, which makes that strength even stronger. Then people start to notice that strength and compliment you on that strength and then hire you because of that strength. And then you gain more confidence! What a cycle.
That’s my interpretation. If you have any insights feel free to leave them in the comment below. Sometimes poems mean something different to each person who reads it, but I think that this one is rather straight-forward.
by Maya Angelou