Often when the subject of personal growth and development comes up the concepts of self worth, self confidence and self belief will drop in there somewhere. When you are in the season of being down on yourself or struggling to see wood for trees these concepts can seem entirely unobtainable and in way ethereal. In this blog I am going to demystify what these concepts actually mean, give you tangible ways to nurture each one and give you the kind of pep talk that will leave you wanting to take over the world!
Let me start by saying that self worth is an inside job. Your feeling of worth should only ever be measured on your own merits and not be based on external factors, this is a one-way street to disappointment. We live in a society (particularly Gen Y) that bases worth and value on achievement and perceived success and ensure that comparison is inevitable with the heavy use of social media platforms. Self worth is about who you are as a person and how you feel about that and not about what you do or achieve and how others feel about you. Nobody is you and that is your superpower to own, to foster and to enjoy.
So where do we start with encouraging this feeling of self worth. As hard as it might be it starts with letting go of comparing yourself to others, to what they seemingly have, what they are doing, and where they are in their journey. When you look at pictures or captions on social media and they seem to have everything or you see another mum on the school run and they have put makeup on and an outfit that you lust after; remember this is a snapshot and you are looking at it through your filter on the world. In reality you have no idea what is going on behind closed doors or in their own head. Your self worth is not causative. What I mean by that is this. Just because someone you see or know has exactly what you “want” does not mean you can’t or you won’t. One does not negate the other.
Focus on who you are, what you stand for, what your values are and how you feel in your own company. This is what makes up your self worth, others peoples opinions or others peoples haves and have nots are not part of the equation.
Self confidence to different to different people and that is ok. I like to think of self confidence of holding a positive view of who you are and how you show up in the world. By that definition it is easy to see how linked self worth, self belief and self confidence are and how together they really are the three pillars of self.
Having confidence in your ‘self’ creates an awareness and acceptance of your strengths and limitations and loving yourself whole heartedly. No one is perfect and the likelihood is that no one except you expects you to be.
If you have an inner self critic that likes to throw its hat into the ring at any opportunity to pull you down then give this exercise a try. Give your negative inner voice or critic a name, I am being utterly serious! I named mine Dave. If I find that Dave pipes up trying to drag me into self doubt, apathy and feelings of inferiority, I will say and out loud, “Shut up Dave, no one is listening’ (apologies if you know a Dave). I appreciate this may sound a little woo woo or even ineffectual, but I promise you it will catapult your brain into a different headspace immediately.
So what is your experience with self belief? Do you seek opportunities, create goals and go after it with the knowledge that you will make it over the line? Or do you look at ideas and chances and talk yourself out of it before you’ve started because no point starting something you can’t make happen right?
Both of these are examples of self belief but they are opposite ends of the scale. To have a strong sense of self belief we need to develop those beliefs and seek examples to reaffirm our ability to succeed.
We have a tendency to focus on our short comings or the things that didn’t go completely to plan. You need to flip this around and draw your attention to the mini wins, small achievements or goals you have achieved. Celebrate them, revel in them and enjoy them because you made them happen. Give your self belief the space to grow.
I hope you have found this a helpful starting point to developing the three pillars of self and will start to action the strategies to nurture your own pillars.