How do I believe in myself again?
I work with amazing, successful, talented women. However, there are times, when we start working together, that they haven’t just lost their spark, they have fizzled out entirely and cannot remember a time they felt confident, amazing, or even just adequate.
If you are feeling a little flat, I want to share with you 7 thoughts and ideas to help build yourself back up again, so you can start seeing yourself as others do, to feel the love for yourself that others feel for you, and to believe what I believe, that you are uniquely awesome, just the way you are!
1. Can you walk / talk / read / drive / write / text?
Assuming no impairment, these are generally things you will be able to do. But at some stage you couldn’t do these things. When you were learning you obviously didn’t stop because you can now do them. You persevered. You got knocked down, but you got up again (nothing’s going to keep you down, thank you Chumbawamba!) You kept going until you reached your goal. And then you probably went past that - you learnt to run and jump and skate and cycle, your vocabulary increased, you could drive on motorways, you wrote essays, board presentations and keynote speeches, you can show your parents how to use technology to keep in contact with you. Things we take for granted now, were once huge tasks. You have achieved so much already.
2. Be grateful
List out everything you are grateful for. I mean everything. Oxygen so you can breathe, water so you can keep hydrated, food so you are not hungry, your feet so you can walk, shoes to keep your feet warm, your eyes so you can read this article, your heart beating so you are alive, your friends and family, your computer, your phone, a hot shower, a warm bed, a home, a job, income, books, a cup of tea - everything and anything that you have in your life that maybe you have taken for granted, but without them, your life would be worse - and say thank you! Read your list and wonder at how much amazingness is in your life already.
3. Where are you at the moment?
Accept what you are feeling and name it. Don’t give it more power than it deserves. If you feel disappointed, name the emotion and feel it. Don’t try to not feel it, or to change it. When we do this, we are focusing on the emotion we don’t want and even though we are trying to make the situation better, we are still fuelling our current state. Instead, focus on what you would like to be feeling. Put it in the positive - it isn’t that you don’t want to feel disappointed, for example, it is that you want to feel excited, or that you want a new work project to feel energised. Work out what you want and focus on this.
4. What more do you want?
What do you want? Don’t censor yourself. Write it all down.
Now, I’m telling you, you can have it. What more do you want? Keep going and list it all out. Give yourself permission to say what you really want.
I tell you again, you can have it all. What more do you want? Keep going until there is nothing else to come out.
This is a powerful exercise I do with clients as it allows you to move from what you want at a conscious level, to your more deeper wants and desires, often uncovering things you may not have been aware of, or helping you to understand the ‘why’ or real purpose behind your want.
5. Set yourself some honest goals
Looking at what you want, what you already have in your life, and the resilience you must have, to have got to this point, what is the one thing you can do today to start moving you towards what you want next?
I am a fan of going after your large, humongous, scary dreams, but I am also a fan of acknowledging where you are now, and identifying those smaller goals that are required to help you achieve the bigger goal. Each step should be a little stretch from where you are now, so you feel like you’ve accomplished something when you achieve it. For example, if you decide you want to run a marathon and you are currently a non-runner, your first step might be to invest in a pair of good running shoes, and to start running a half mile a day. Once you’ve achieved this, you can set the goal of running a mile a day for the next 7 days, and then build up. Overall, you will still achieve the goal of running 26.2 miles but it feels far more achievable because you have met yourself where you are currently, and built from there. As Jen Sincero puts it “Discipline is a muscle; you have to build it at your own pace.”
6. Be kind to yourself
We are all a work in progress. You have good days, you have bad days, you have in-between days, and this is all okay. It is part of life and it is shaping who you are. Meet yourself where you are, accept it, and then let it go and move onto focusing on where you would like to be. Don’t force changes, don’t berate yourself because you had a negative thought, or didn’t achieve X or Y or Z, just accept that that is where you are at at the moment, and focus on what you want to do next. Put plans in place and go for it.
7. Tell yourself, “I love you”
I was given this exercise by a coach who was working with me and it was surprisingly difficult for me to do! I had to stand and stare at myself in a mirror and say "I love you". To begin with I couldn’t hold my own eye contact. I then started laughing when saying it. What was going on?! I could easily say [and mean] I love you to my wonderful husband, amazing parents, fantastic friends, but, when it came to myself, the words kind of got stuck in my throat. I was given a 30 day challenge, to keep saying "I love you" whenever I was in front of a mirror. It did get easier. I did stop laughing. I did keep eye contact. I even smiled at myself. Learning to accept and love myself, as I am, really was a very special gift to give, and receive.
Why should I try any of this?
If you are asking this question, I’m guessing this isn’t resonating with you, so maybe this isn’t the right article for you at this time.
For those that do try this, I have witnessed some great successes, I believe, for the following reasons:
You start to appreciate things that you were previously unaware of.
You start to acknowledge that purely where you are and what you have achieved so far is amazing - it may have just been that you have taken your situation and accomplishments for granted up until now.
"Where focus goes, energy flows" (Tony Robbins) - so when you are focusing on the negative that is what you will keep finding; so conversely, if you focus on the positive, you will find more and more positives. When we try to force changing our feelings, I find that we have to concentrate on the ‘undesirable’ feeling to be able to try to change it; if we accept but not focus on it, but then focus on what we want instead, we naturally change how we are feeling, with no friction or resistance.
Believing in yourself is a like a muscle and for those of us that have self doubt, it does need regular exercise! Showing gratitude and focusing on smaller, achievable goals means you are constantly stretching and exercising the feelings of self belief to keep growing. The more you achieve, the more you will want to achieve. The more you then believe you can achieve. Your self belief is growing stronger all the time!
I believe you are totally awesome, exactly as you are! By completing the ideas and exercises above, you can see and feel this is true, and you can start to love and believe in yourself again.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this - please share with me any successes you have and if you want to discuss any of the ideas in more detail, please contact me!