Lessons on Inner Confidence from An Ugly Cold Sore

Confidence street 1

If there is a worst time to develop cold sores, it is the day or week you have meetings, public speaking engagements or activities requiring your very best foot.  I mean you are going to meet or be in front of people. They will probably be judging you, right? You want to present a perfect, confident image-the very best version of you, don’t you? Most certainly, an image without a collection of little, red, raw blisters around your mouth.

Last week taught me that cold sores are a sure confidence-buster. They are almost impossible to conceal and their healing process can’t be quickened. The doctor said they would take about a week or so to clear. Antiviral tablets should help from within and a cream from the exterior, but I shouldn’t expect a just in time miracle.

I had choices to make; cancel the meetings altogether, but am not the type to pull off a sickie, unless it is absolutely necessary. I suppose, I could have made it necessary-at least on this occasion. Couldn’t I? I could have brushed black/brown powder, foundation or concealer over the sores.  However, I gave up the idea because the foundation or concealer could potentially cause more harm, as the skin was raw and delicate. The other option was to cover the sores with plaster, but this would go against the doctor’s recommendation to leave the sores open for aeration. Additionally, I didn’t like the idea of plaster on my face anyway, I thought I would look more dishevelled and worse for wear.  The final option was to pretend that the sores weren’t there, ignore them completely or just fake confidence.

On their worst day, I chose to ignore them. I quickly dressed up, put cream on my face-(no foundation or concealer or powder for fear of infection). As a last-minute decision, I wore red-hot lipstick. I probably shouldn’t have because some of the sores were really close to my lips and the hot lipstick probably wasn’t very appropriate for the type of engagements I had on the day. My strategy was to draw attention away from the ugly cold sores as much as possible.

The image that stared back at me in the mirror is not an image I was used to. I am normally confident but today, I needed a confidence booster to get me through the day. I did a few power poses and  employed the self-affirmation trick I recently learnt from Nancy Castro of The Centre of Confidence. Below are some sentences from the self-talk trick. I quietly repeated them before every meeting;

  • I am smart and confident
  • I am worthy and deserving
  • I am unstoppable
  • I am enough
  • I am because I said I Am!

You guessed it; I had a very good week-I managed to put forward a very confident version of me. The meetings were successful judging by the actions that followed, the feedback I got and the connections I made. On reflection, I learnt two lessons from the experience that I would like to share;

Inner confidence is a choice

With an ugly patch on your face or something physical that beats your confidence, you don’t want go out. More so when you live in a city where everything and everyone glitters like Dubai. This experience was a reminder that  I have what it takes; the power to choose how I respond to any confidence-buster. The best part is that this power lives within every single one of us. Self affirmation, power posing and other techniques can help bring out the power when you need it most.

When you feel it, it radiates outside

I made it to my meetings. Stuck to shaking hands to avoid spreading the virus. For some people, I had to explain- especially when they tried to lean in for a peck. Otherwise, I just carried on like there was nothing wrong with my face. I didn’t feel the need to explain myself or shy away. Instead, I made eye contact,  smiled generously and gave very fIrm handshakes. Then it struck me, that because I was feeling confident on the inside, I had absolutely nothing to be shy about. I was oozing confidence on the outside because I made a choice on the inside. This is certainly something we can all do.

Bringing it all together, we all have moments that knock down our confidence. Whatever the reason or cause, the take away from this blog is that you have the power to take the confidence street and there are techniques and people to help, reach in or out and get help if you need to. All the best!



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