A new range of perfumes by Valeur Absolue, proposes to give you the "Confidence Without" if you've not got the Confidence Within. For the princely sum of £59 (or £79 if you want more), you are promised "Confiance.... Once seduced by a spray of this perfume, self-confidence will be evident. A reassurance in oneself that radiates a positive aura, that's even stronger with the addition of other oligo-elements and extract of Immortelle, chosen for its ability to release beta-endorphines, the happiness molecules".
What? Seriously? One spray and we'll be confident and happier? I had to smell this stuff. Actually, I didn't like it. Maybe that's because I have enough confidence? Or maybe just that it was really heavy. They also promise sensuality, serenity, harmony and other joys.
I'm not here to discuss whether it's right to retail the hope of confidence in a bottle. Isn't that what the entire cosmetics industry is based on? They sell us hope and that hope gives us confidence. Men are not immune. Men are sold all kinds of potions and perfumes, marketed with film star images, just like women. We are all being sold the idea that we're not good enough, just as we are.
I was intrigued, though, by the use of semi-precious mineral stones in the bottle. The claim: "Encapsulated carnelian gem stones, symbol of confidence, provides the visible sign of the brilliant richness of this perfume."
I wanted to find out if this stone was, indeed, a confidence aid. I searched a few sites (e.g. https://crystal-cure.com/carnelian.html and http://www.soularenergy.com/gemstones.htm) and could find no specific reference to confidence, though, http://meanings.crystalsandjewelry.com/carnelian did claim it as a symbol of creativity, individuality and courage. They called it the Actor's Stone, and would sell you a protection necklacefor $30... On the other hand https://www.energymuse.com/about-gemstones claim "Wearing or carrying Carnelian enhances vitality and will provide you with the confidence needed to approach new projects and dreams. It is a wonderful stone to wear on a job interview, as it brings good luck and opportunity, awakening your hidden talents within."
I couldn't find any peer-reviewed research that proves wearing Carnelian makes you more confident. or successful.
As I do have a friend who sells such gemstones for a living, (Carnelian bracelet at a much more reasonable £2.99) however, I won't mock the spirit.
I remain a little conflicted by this. I'd love to think that we can all develop the inner confidence that renders all of this meaningless. As a pragmatist, I also realise that it takes time to build this level of confidence, and I also realise that despite being a highly confident person, I still wear make-up and get my roots done. Is it for me, or for you? It's irrelevant.
The point is, if something makes you feel confident, then use it. Props are good. I recall a former work colleague who always wore a red jacket for presentations because it made her feel powerful and in charge. If I'm giving a workshop, I won't turn up without make-up on. And it's okay. The key is to find the things that will make you feel more confident for that job interview/first date/parent-teacher meeting. As long as that something isn't a glass of wine, or your childhood comfort blanket.
Look in your wardrobe for the killer outfit that makes you feel strong and powerful and don't be afraid to use it. Buy another one. But don't let it stop your search for the inner confidence that comes from knowing that you actually are good enough, just as you are. You are. And that's #confidencewithin