Jessica got braces last week, and I’ve had smiles on the brain. I had braces as a kid, and I remember how impactful it was on my approach to life. It seems silly in a way, but having a confident smile made me more confident in almost every aspect of my life.
I had awful teeth as a kid, but I don’t remember really being bothered by them at all (I got them on in 5th grade on off in 7th, which was before most kids at the time even got them on). As I got to high school and college, however, I noticed that people often complimented me on my smile. It was usually a simple remark, but it made me feel ten feet tall (and for someone who is only 5’2″, that’s saying something)!
Knowing that people liked my smile gave me a reason to smile more. And smiling more let people know I wanted to be around them, and vice versa! It gave me the confidence to test out my leadership skills and then really refine them. I couldn’t have done all that if I’d been off in a corner, hoping no one saw my buck teeth and overbite.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with having bad teeth. But for someone like me who has a HUGE amount of insecurity by nature, having braces helped me come out of my shell and develop into the woman I am today. I still have lots of insecurities, but over the years I’ve learned to smile my way through them. As my dear friend from college liked to say, “Fake it ’til you make it!”
My girls inherited my (and my husband’s) bad teeth. Two of the four now have braces. I am so grateful that they are already happy, confident girls. Hopefully, a perfect smile will only magnify the amazing things they will do in this world!