October 8, 2012 | life, relationships

Building Self Confidence

Our internal dialogue is a funny ol’ thing. It takes us on a journey each and every day – bigging us up during our triumphs, sending us into wallowing states of despair at other times, that pesky little voice dictates how we feel about ourselves for better or worse. Many let the words of others weigh in on their personal value but I disagree – people should really be able to say whatever they want about you, but it’s only how you feel about yourself that matters (I’m not saying people should be complete assholes to you but ultimately, how that effects you says more about you than them). What I’ve noticed, especially among women is that the negative voice chatters loudly away under the surface and I got to thinking the other day, why are we so mean to ourselves?

I think it’s the case for a lot of women that no one could ever be harder on us than we are on ourselves. I know so many women with self esteem issues on some level, it’s crazy. Forget something on the shopping list and we’re idiots, our child falls over and we’re bad mothers, mess up at work and we’re stupid, miss a workout and we’re fat, don’t look like a model and we’re ugly – the standards to which we hold ourselves are so high that the slightest mess up has our internal dialogue automatically jumping to how crappy a person we are.

And I say enough of this madness! If someone else were to say those things to you, you’d say they’re mean – so why is it OK to say it to yourself? If you heard another woman speaking that way about herself, you’d tell her not to be silly, that she’s wonderful, that she has all sorts of things going for herself. I see it all the time – especially on Twitter. That’s one of the wonderful things about an online community – see a fellow sister falling and we’ll pick each other right back up. I’ve seen women complain about how fat they are and other women jump to their defense and tell them not to be ridiculous and they rally around that person until they feel good again. That’s a pretty beautiful thing. But why can’t we do it for ourselves?

It’s not egotistical to give yourself a pat on the back. You don’t get points for thinking you’re crap. That’s a very British thing by the way – all this self deprecation. ‘If I get in there and say how rubbish I am first, I beat everyone else to the punch line.’ This is nonsense! It is not an attractive trait to constantly think negative things about yourself and assume others will. I understand this is not a problem that can be overcome easily but how about we start here:

Apologise to yourself for every mean thing you’ve ever said to yourself. Oh sure, this may all be hippy, chakra-aligning, incense-burning clap trap to you, but really think about it for a second. Every time you’ve told yourself you’re not good enough, you don’t deserve something, you’re fat, ugly, a bad parent, sister, friend, worthless, unworthy of love and kindness – apologise to yourself right now for being so mean, for being so hard on yourself. Because you know what, take a look at the sum total of your life and you don’t deserve the grief you give yourself.

Unless you’re a mass murderer, I’d venture to say you’re a good person. Write a list of what you like about yourself. Each day, write a little about what you’re thankful for and something good you’ve done because hey, sometimes we all need a little reminder.

Start learning to love who you are and celebrate your victories no matter how small they are. There’s really nothing more important in life than being comfortable with who you are.

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9 Comments

kathleen @kat_rocket

Unfortunately it is also British culture to smack someone down if they do talk about their accomplishments πŸ™

Ellesbells

For real Bangalore.
The amount of heart ache people could avoid for themselves and others by being nice to themselves is unimaginable.

I know this is a blog that mostly women read but this message should be told to boys too. Men, women, children, if you don’t look after yourself and treat yourself well you CANNOT treat other people well, it is a crock of shit this being selfless thing.
I have told many a young lady this, they won’t listen of course, they will get there soon. I hope sooner rather than later for having the message from me.

I have had relationships with men who have a bunch of issues due to someone else having been awful to them, often the woman will have just had a tough time else where, judged or put down, be it family or stranger.
I think the hard thing is to find the strength to say I am OK after hearing ‘you are not’ for a long time or just once from someone that really mattered. I have to thank my mother for blessing me with the inner confidence that helps me daily to be OK. I am someone that compares myself to others to the point where I can stop myself from progress but than inner voice from my mum saying ‘you are OK’ always wakes me up before the stagnation goes too far.

I said this on twitter today: Be disingenuous at your peril. People will in the end see the cracks. Worst of all, you just hurt yourself.

I think this might the crux of it. Be honest with yourself and the world (that is not to say tell everyone everything but be honest in your path)

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Chloe

I wrote about this myself recently (a whole lot less eloquently) and I’m a hundred percent with this. We’re our own worst enemies and it’s about time we all started to believe in ourselves- we might even find that others respond better to it and we make more progress than we ever imagined in all sorts of areas of our lives.

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