Today on the blog I’m talking all things self, self-esteem, self-confidence and self-care. I often feel that a lack of the aforementioned leads to some sort of self-punishment under the guise that we are treating ourselves well and nurturing our very beings. Let me give you an example.
Meet Sally, Sally wakes up at the crack of dawn and downs a coffee before dragging herself to the gym before heading off to work. She grabs a green juice and not much else before finding herself at her desk. She feels great! She’s barely devoured enough energy to fuel a pigeon, let alone a fully grown professional women who has just performed a half marathon. Sally likes to exercise, it makes her feel as though she has achieved and deserves that bottle of wine each evening.
First things first, more coffee and then on with the day. Sally is back to back all day, client meetings and meetings about meetings. There’s no time for lunch so she grabs a salad on the go, throws the dressing away aware of the calories within. She finds time to pick up another coffee to keep her switch on during her busy afternoon.
There’s always a 4pm slump where Sally tried to avoid the sweet treats in the office but inevitably fails, oh well she tells herself I’ve been ‘good’ all day.
Sally drops off for a glass of wine with her colleagues to miss the rush on her commute home. When she eventually gets back, she can’t be bothered to bring together a fully-fledged meal and opts for olives, wine and a ready meal. She checks her phone for emails intermittently throughout the evening. Pulls her gym kit together ready for the morning and prepares for a repeat performance.
Sally is hard wired for success, she’s a professional and attractive woman with a social life to match, weekends are an array of chic getaways and awash with star studded restaurants. Which of course, gives opportunity for a new outfit every weekend, she tries to keep her spending under control but can’t help investing in the latest trends in a bid to appear completely on the button. She admits herself that the fashions she picks often feel uncomfortable and tend to be a bit of a one hit wonder. She laughs it off, someone as busy and successful as her can afford to live this kind of champagne supanova lifestyle.
Question is who’d want to?
She often wonders why her energy levels are low and why she needs her caffeine fix. Sally is convinced she is looking after her best interests by training regularly and reducing her calorie intake during the week. She has more treats than you can shake a stick at but rarely feels she has just the thing, you know the thing you find yourself looking for.
Okay, I think I’ve laboured my point enough, Sally isn’t a real person, but I wonder how many Sally’s are out there, I know I’ve had my moments like this too and, I’m not afraid to admit it. Putting myself under pressure to achieve X, Y and Z for I don’t know why really. Putting what others think before how I feel and on occasion not listening to how I feel but more what I think, and lets face it what we think isn’t always right or particularly kind either!
Self-care, is a misconstrued concept and I am desperate to share the truth because I certainly feel the pressure of self-care and often wonder if our efforts of self-care do indeed care for the self. I meet with so many women who grew up in the 80s, 90s or the noughties and our outlook is successes driven, we wear busyness like a status symbol. Running on autopilot, multitasking all of our devices and seldom taking time to connect.
So, what is this self-care thing all about, this isn’t a fancy psychological definition it is just what I have learn it to be.
Self-care is the act of taking care of one’s self, looking after the true essence that makes you, you! Self-care reenergises and recharges you. Sometimes it’s also important to know what self-care isn’t because sometimes different practices will prompt a very different feeling.
Self-care isn’t something you are obliged to do or something you must drag yourself into, it’s not something we don’t enjoy doing. It’s not something that should leave you feeling drained or exhausted. So, with this in mind we can employ different self-care strategies for the different ways we feel – the gym can be self-care but it won’t always be. Being aware of eating healthily is self-care but equally so is having the freedom to do as you please. It’s about knowing where your boundaries are and managing them accordingly.
Here are a few pointers:
Keep it simple, over time you’ll instinctively know what makes you feel better and what does not. Use this observation as your starting point
Self-care is an active choice, consciously plan it in to your day rather than leave it to chance.
Be aware of your choices and notice how the outcome makes you feel. This is great if your new to the whole concept of self-care, I found myself completely clueless and this was my favourite starting point. I’d just ask myself ‘now, so if feel better or worse after that?’
Caring for one’s self can help towards healthy self-esteem and self-confidence and whilst the three selves are naturally intertwined, they are not quite the same thing. Self-esteem describes a person’s overall sense of self-worth and personal value. It encompasses the subjective beliefs one may hold about themselves and is fundamental to health generally.
Here are three tips to improve self-esteem:
Own and hold the things you are good at
Firstly, let me just say how much I love this piece of advice, it can be so powerful to recognise your strengths. Everyone is good at something, start noticing what your good at and what you enjoy because usually the things we enjoy are naturally the things we are good at. You could even start a little journal keeping a note of all the things you enjoy and the things you think you did well that day if you feel a little unsure to start with. That way you can also refer back in the times whereby you might have a wobble.
Build Health Boundaries and Learn to say No!
First step here is listen to how you feel, then notice when you want to say no but actually find yourself agreeing before you’ve even thought. Simply observe. Learn to give yourself sometime, you can usually insert a little, ‘can I get back to you on that one?’ and then you can mull it over and pay attention to what is best for you. Saying no can sometimes feel hard-line but ultimately it’s essential for setting healthy boundaries and respecting yourself.
Set Personal Goals
Goal setting is as individual as you and I so set goals and challenges that you really want to achieve. Achieving them can be hugely beneficial for self-esteem and feeling of ‘I can’. Second to this getting involved with other likeminded people who also enjoy similar things can also boost self-esteem and the sense of belonging.
It’s important to note that self-esteem is the emotional appraisal of ourselves not to be confused with self-confidence. Confidence comes from the Latin ‘to trust’ and so self-confidence is to trust in one’s self. A self-confident person is ready to run with new opportunities and seize the day, confident in their own ability to handle the situations that arise. Confidence operates in the realm of what is known and in its absents there is courage. Interestingly self-confidence doesn’t always go hand in hand with healthy self-esteem, people can often be self-confident but simultaneously feel unworthy.
Understand the importance of Self-Esteem
One of my favourite ways to approach pretty much everything is to go in before you go out. Sometimes you’ve got to go into your internal beliefs and iron them out before you can move forward. Understanding the fundamentals of self esteem and where you stand with your view on you is essential. Knowing that you are worthy in every sense and therefore caring for yourself in that manner is essential. Self-esteem is the foundation for confidence to be built upon.
Work on those externals
Am I contradicting myself here? I think it’s important to also value those externals and allow them there place, sometimes they can provide the lift you need to get you going with your self-esteem, so dress nicely, treat yourself in a kind and loving way. Dress nicely, let your environment be a place the recharges your soul and surrounds you with joy! Be proud of your achievements and value the skills that helped you reach them. Allow your self to lean into the externals but be aware that it’ll be tiring to endlessly achieve and reach, at some point sooner or later all of these attributes will no longer be useful in propping up esteem but useful in aiding its development.
You’ve got to believe it to achieve it, the old saying is true. If you believe you can achieve something with the right knowledge and support the chances are you will. Without that belief the chances are slim.
I love the way all these elements come together and compliment a fuller, richer life. I love the way how cutting right back to basics of good health, physically, mentally and spiritually can slice through the trends and help us see sense, confusion was my sole reason for jumping into my training, I was so sick of the conflab, miseducated by media unsure of what to do for the best and I hope through my blog I am able to share so useful and uplifting thoughts you might find helpful.
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