Feeling self-conscious is something I’ve struggled with throughout my life. I was a tall, olive skinned kid who wanted to be short and cute with freckles. I wanted to blend in.
Though I’ve largely overcome the battle with social anxiety, I still have moments of insecurity and know that it’s a feeling that afflicts most of us every now and then so want to share my secret little self-confidence hack with you. It has really helped me when I’ve not been feeling so awesome on my own!
I have a confession. While I was in my marriage I secretly judged women who were single or divorced. I pitied them and assumed they were unhappy. But when my own marriage collapsed I found myself on the receiving end of that same kind of pity.
It was grating because it was completely at odds with how I felt. I felt fantastic on my own, I felt free, I felt like I could finally be a master of my own destiny… but I didn’t realise I would feel so awesome on my own until I WAS on my own.
When I was told the news it didn’t bother me at all. In fact, I didn’t think twice about it. I know I’m a good person: I make mistakes all the time but my intentions are good and I treat everyone with respect.
It was only later when I was talking to my girls about the importance of being comfortable in your own skin that I considered just how differently I handled not being liked now, compared to how I would have dealt with it before my whole perspective on life changed.
I have spoken to many women and men who, like myself, found themselves on the other side of a marriage, facing the new reality of being single. Virtually every one of these people, also like myself, didn’t realise they had somehow lost who they really are through the course of their relationship.
The loss of our true selves usually happens without conscious awareness. In argument after argument we give up or give in just to keep the peace or because we see that real resolution is not possible.
I have a friend who recently went away on holiday with some of her girlfriends. She’d had a difficult year and was in desperate need of some R & R. It should have been a rejuvenating experience but as each day wore on she became more and more agitated.
When she arrived back she called her boyfriend to tell him how rude and uncaring he had been as he hadn’t bothered to get in touch with her once during her whole holiday.
So is her boyfriend a) a self-absorbed a-hole, or b) misunderstood?
Ask people about love and they will give you complex answers about needing to be with someone or the feeling of loss when they’re gone. The truth is much more simple…
I have a friend whose husband left the toilet seat up. It was a small issue, but a continual one. She couldn’t understand why he refused to acknowledge the sense in putting it down.
They had many arguments over it. After years of frustration and conversations that seemed to go nowhere she gave up.
Many of us would say don’t sweat the small stuff, and this is true.
But sometimes the small stuff is an early sign of BIG stuff.
I released my story a few days ago and it feels good. The messages I received were overwhelmingly heart-warming and supportive but I had one email advising I should have written it differently.
This particular message stated I was too kind, I was too thankful, and that I was essentially letting him get away with it.
I’m part of a Facebook group for women entrepreneurs and I recently discovered some members had engaged in unhealthy and completely unproductive judgement and criticism, which left me feeling incensed. So it’s time to set people straight.
I need to celebrate. Two years ago on this very day my life dramatically lurched towards a big change for the better. I didn’t see it as that at first though. At the time it looked like my world had crumbled beneath my feet, and it took months of anxiety and despair to realise I should be saying thank you, rather than stewing in the turmoil of grief and anger.
To commemorate this day I have posted my own story.
I have a client who contacted me in great frustration. She’s a loving parent, dedicated and supportive of her kids’ education, but she was struggling with her eldest daughter. Her child’s school report was coming out soon and she was afraid she was going to be disappointed with her daughter’s results, again. But the biggest thing driving her up the wall was that her daughter didn’t even seem to care! Her daughter had reached a grade where her results were really starting to matter but her yeah whatever attitude was beginning to look like it was here to stay.
The end of school year can be a confidence boosting or confidence battering time for kids. All their hard work is assessed, comparisons are made and rankings are given. If your child excels at academics, sports or the arts then it’s likely they’ll be receiving recognition for it, and it’s likely you’ll be congratulating them on their efforts too.
But is award time really such a big deal? And what about all the kids who don’t fit into one of those high performance boxes?
When life is good and our relationships, health and finances are all flowing with abundance you’d think that would be when our gratitude would flow too.
But often when things are going well we forget to be thankful for all the good that surrounds us. It’s only when we lose something that all of a sudden gratitude becomes so important.
So why is gratitude what we need most when we realise we have less?
Imagine this: it’s lunchtime and your son is at the eating area, finding his way around a girl at the table to reach his seat. As he slides past her he knocks her lunchbox to the ground, spilling its contents everywhere.
He starts to apologise but she yells at him, calling him stupid and clumsy, demanding he get her a new lunch.
What would you advise to ensure the situation is handled in a way that respects her and leaves him feeling good?
It is natural for parents to worry their child’s kindness will be exploited by others. And yes, it is true, if a child is kind at all costs they are likely to be taken advantage of.
However an empowered person is kind and compassionate on one side BUT, in equal measure on the other side, must have unshakable self-respect.
So what is unshakable self-respect and how to get it?
When you see your child disappointed or in tears because of the actions of another child your own heart hurts for them.
It’s not nice to see. And though we might want to, we can’t fight their battles for them. So what is the best way to empower your child so that the words or behaviours of others don’t hurt (or at least hurt a lot less)?
A beautiful friend of mine called me the other day, devastated. She had walked her daughter in to school that morning and they were strolling through the school grounds together when her daughter’s face lit up. She had seen a group of girls she knew so she waved excitedly and said hello to them.
They turned, looked at her with deadpan faces, then turned away again…
Going through an unexpected loss: death of a loved one; the end of a relationship; illness or any other tragedy that changes the path of your life is traumatic. The grief that follows is beyond painful and recovery is a process that takes time.
But how do you know when you’re healed? Does it mean being happy all the time or not thinking about your loss anymore?
In the last couple of weeks the Weinstein scandal has ripped the jaws of Hollywood wide open and now everyone can see into its ugly belly.
So how do we ensure our own children are never put in a position where they feel disempowered or compromised? Because, one day they will enter the work force and sooner or later will apply for a position they really, really want.