It's quite natural to struggle with self belief in some way or another. It could be lack of belief in your own intelligence, your body image, your judgement, your own abilities... the list goes on.
One of the reasons we struggle with self belief is because the main thing our brain wants to do is to keep us alive, this can sometimes work against us, making us shy away from anything we don't perceive as having an 100 percent success rate. I don't know if any of you have seen the film 'Home' (SPOILER ALERT If you haven't) Oh and the other Boovs run from anything they perceive as having less than a 100% success rate, until he meets a human girl and learns that you can succeed even if success looks minimal... honestly watch that film.. it's a cryer!
Anyway, self belief is like that, it seems illogical at times, our brain is trying to keep us safe, but it can be our downfall, if 'Oh' didn't have self belief planet earth would have been destroyed. It's that serious people!!!!
But how can we make ourselves believe in ourselves?
1) Learn to fail
That's right we need to learn to fail in order to succeed, or at least accept that failure is only a temporary part of the process. It's like those short stories you were told in assembly. There is a life lesson in there somewhere, pick it out polish it off and learn from it.
2) Set Realistic Goals
I have said this before and I will say it again, as well as setting realistic goals, set yourself up for small wins. Something you know you can achieve - It will do wonders for your self belief.
3) Acknowledge your accomplishments
Write them down - as many as possible!!!
4) Don't compare yourself to others.
It's impossible to fairly compare yourself anyway, we all have our struggles we all have things we are slaying, if your looking at social media you are only looking at someones best bits.
While discussing how damaging negative self-talk can be I will often get the response “you don’t know what it’s like, You don’t hate yourself, your body is normal, my negative self-talk is inevitable because of how I look, you’re so positive about body image – you don’t know how this feels”
And while yes, I don't know how you feel, I'm not you. I have struggled with the relationship I’ve had with my body since I was a small child. I’ve physically harmed my body with self-harm and disordered eating. As an adult I’ve argued with friends and family for daring to take a photo of me and/or put it up on social media and I’ve not attended parties or events because I thought my body was too disgusting and that people would judge me.
The final straw was quite a few years back, discovering that my husband took sneaky pictures of me, ones that would never see the light of day and he said that he felt as though it looked like he was a widower as I was absent from all photos. From then on I read all I could and took courses on how I could improve my body image, my self-esteem and more importantly my self-worth.
I won’t lie to you, it’s something I have to constantly work on and keep in check, there are days when I catch myself saying vile things to myself but now I do catch myself, it doesn’t go unchecked and now we take photo’s all the time, although being comfortable with other people taking photos of me does still make me feel a little anxious.
These are 5 important strategies to start building your self esteem:
1. Make your own needs a priority.
We live in a world where people talk about how selfish people are. Yet most people put their own needs on the bottom of the pile. Ask yourself “What do you need?” I am not talking about the type of immediate gratification that comes with pouring yourself a nice whiskey. What fulfills you? What makes you happy? Where do you want to be in life? It isn’t selfish to take the steps to get closer to those things.
2. Challenge your own negative self-talk
Most of us are good people. Why is it then, that when we are alone in front of the mirror, we give voice to the cruelest of inner critics? Imagine if you said the things you said to yourself to a friend, imagine the look on their face, imagine how damaging saying those things would be to their self-esteem. Yet we do this to ourselves regularly throughout the day. STOP. Start to catch yourself doing it, start to question those things as if you were defending a friend from spiteful and harmful language.
3. Set Achievable goals.
Sometimes, if we have arrived at the point where we want to set goals for ourselves it is because we are eager for change. It can be very tempting to say "I want to be able to do 10 pull ups by the end of the month" but if you are currently struggling to do 1, is it achievable. When we set goals that are way out of reach it can diminish our self esteem when we do not reach them and damage our self trust.
4. Experience Success
Think about how we motivate children. If a toddler attempts walking for the first time, takes half a step, stumbles and falls down. Would you say “well that was rubbish, that wasn’t walking at all” or would you clap and encourage them with “yay, that was amazing, you walked, well done!”
Seek out situations and projects that stretch your abilities but don’t overwhelm them, situations where your probability of success is high. Then praise and celebrate your accomplishment, do not say “oh well, it was easy anyway”. Getting some ‘wins’ under your belt will help you to build up faith and trust in yourself. It’s a great way to get your motivation rolling.
5. Free yourself from the shoulda-coulda-wouldas
You know this bit in the original cartoon version of the Lion King:
Simba: I know what I have to do. But going back will mean facing my past. I've been running from it for so long.
*Rafiki hits Simba on the head*
Simba: Oww. Jeez... What was that for?
Rafiki: It doesn't matter, it's in the past.
Adult Simba: Yeah, but it still hurts.
Rafiki: Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it.
Seriously, don't get bogged down with what you could have done, it's done. Focus on what it taught you and how to apply it to now - do not use it as a stick to beat yourself with!!
This Is me:
I’m Emma, I train women (Offline and Online) who may struggle with their confidence and self esteem. I believe that women need more options that suit different lifestyles and needs, some of us don't have time to stick to a rigid plan, some people are to scared to even set foot in a gym (I have been there).