Being the Shortest Person in the Room

Growing in Authentic Confidence

I used to be the girl who hesitated while stepping out the front door without a pair of heels strapped to her feet. Why? Height was everything to me: power, authority, elegance, and best of all, confidence. Like those long-legged runway models, I wanted to emulate that in-charge strut even if I was just getting the groceries.

Photo by Sashenka Paatz
Photo by Sashenka Paatz

We’ve all heard the phrase “be the smartest person in the room”, but what if you’re not? What if all you have to offer is being the shortest person in the room?

Being 5-foot-3-and-a-half was the last thing I wanted to be known for, so much so that I bought myself a new 3-inch crutch every other month. I guess that’s where you could say I got my current obsession with shoes, but that’s another issue and besides the point. I wasn’t okay with being me.

While some who aren’t satisfied with their physical features have the option of getting a facelift or a boob-job, that wasn’t an option for me. However, both the permanent work of a plastic surgeon and the temporary fix of a high-heel shoe are accompanied with a certain level of painful side affects. The pain isn’t worth it in either case, because — guess what? — those transformations are not authentic. They make us focus on what others think of us instead of how we feel about ourselves.

Ultimately, only an inward change can truly boost the view you have of yourself. Confidence should never come from the outward appearance. The fact is that the physical doesn’t last long. So the artificial confidence that comes with an aesthetically pleasing body can fall away as fast as you tripping over your stilettos.

Unlike putting on a pair of shoes, growing in authentic confidence takes time. It begins as a tiny bud rooted deep within our behaviour and thought patterns, and as it blooms, that root grows stronger. Cultivating that kind of confidence has lasting rewards, the most important reward being that it isn’t easily choked. Even when the weeds creep up with their lies, claiming that you are insignificant and meaningless, true confidence pushes past with the truth; You have significance and worth, no matter who you are or what you look like.

You know the funny, and somewhat unexpected, thing about true confidence? When you change on the inside, your outside changes too. I don’t mean you suddenly become a fashion icon. More importantly, your way of relating to others becomes more attractive. You become a better listener and a happier person.

So no matter if you’re the most vertically challenged person in the room, people know confidence when they see it. Better yet, you’ll feel it like a runway model strutting their stuff.

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Sashenka Paatz

Sashenka Paatz

Canadian journalist, traveller and nanny with a passion for creativity, organization, teaching and advocating for others.