How to Rebuild your Confidence and Self Belief
One of the first steps to being happy is to put yourself first. Women are notoriously bad at this. However putting yourself first is in truth it is the healthiest and happiest option once you get the hang of it.
We are culturally conditioned to believe that putting ourselves first is selfish. Many of us were brought up to “play nicely and share” and that is all well and good if we are talking about toys and sweets. However if you continually put others before you it is a sure fire way to damage your own self belief and confidence. How do you respect yourself if you are continually showing others that their needs, wants, desires and dreams are much more important than your own?
I love gardening. I have found that generally plants will survive with water and light. However if you discover additional things they need such as soil type, whether they prefer full sun or shade and how to feed them they will thrive. We are no different. Some of us thrive if, for example, we are needed or feel indispensable. However putting everyone else before you is not a healthy way to get that need met. There are much better ways.
Putting others first becomes a habit. It starts out innocently enough. Perhaps you wanted to make a good impression when you started working so you would put in extra hours or did the jobs no one else wanted to do or made sure you always delivered.
Women are the centre of the family. It probably starts when the children are babies. They are helpless and you look after them. By the time they are 15 and still leaving dirty clothes on the bedroom floor you are beginning to feel more than a little taken advantage of.
The same thing can happen with the man in your life. There was a time when you might have been really happy to cook for him but now it might just be nice to get a meal cooked by him or taken out instead.
Here are my top tips for putting yourself first:
1. Take some time to decide what you do or don’t want in your life and tell others. Build yourself some boundaries and don’t allow people to cross them. If you don’t tell people about them they won’t know that they exist. The people who care about you are more likely to respect you for your honesty.
2. Stop minding reading. Are you doing things because you believe it is really important to other people that you do it? One client spent years going to a Christmas family gathering because she believed her mother in law would be upset if she didn’t, only to discover that her mother in law dreamed of spending Christmas in a fancy hotel but didn’t want to disappoint the family.
3. Get rid of the idea that putting yourself first has any bad connotation. Nowhere on an aircraft have I ever seen the instruction “Do not be selfish. Help others with their oxygen masks before putting your own on”. It is not about being cold and heartless it is about respecting yourself and putting you in a position where you have a strong base and are not running on empty.
4. Take time to make a decision about something rather than rashly say “yes” to everything. Practice saying “I am not sure about that can I get back to you tomorrow.”
5. Everyday do something that you enjoy. Have a quiet coffee; admire a view, read a magazine. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you are doing it because you want to.
6. Loose that good girl image of the perfect business woman, employee or mother. You are not super woman you are human. Realise that you cannot be all things to all people and you cannot please everyone. The one person you can please is yourself.
7. Stop doing things just for a quiet life. Ask questions. Why is doing this task now for boss, husband or family so important? What alternatives are there?
8. Be true to yourself and honour your integrity. Listen to the voice within you which says “this does not feel right”. Inside we know when something is right for us. Be prepared to say no and discover how empowering it feels.
Within these suggestions you will find a way forward that is right for you. Do things at your own speed and if possible get someone to bounce ideas around with and come up with a way that suits you.
As you put simple things into practise you will notice how good you begin to feel.
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