I have something to tell you.
Sit down, grab a cuppa, & buckle up.
This morning I woke up & wanted nothing more than to go back to sleep.
To simply find a dark place to hide away in.
Away from the world. Away from pressures nipping at my heels & responsibilities I’ve signed up for. Away from my own internal narrative of self-doubt.
But I couldn’t hide. Or rather, I refused to.
Because while getting out of bed was tough, I knew that I needed to move – my mind, my body, my goal-posts. I couldn’t stagnate. I couldn’t let self-limiting chatter in my mind make limitations a theme for the day.
We’re all our own worst critics.
We’re all so hard on ourselves.
Why is that? Where does that little voice inside our heads that tells us we’re not good enough come from? When are we taught to second-guess our motives? I don’t have all of the answers, but I do know that it’s important to acknowledge that we all have bad days. Some are worse than others. And, although they might not happen often, when they do, they can be all consuming.
It would be remiss of me (or any of us) to pretend that life is all about riding the highs. That each day is greeted by rainbows & butterflies with nary a dark rain cloud looming on the horizon.
But that’s what we do online, through social media, & through facades we don in professional settings isn’t it? We pretend everything’s okay, when it’s not. We wear masks & paint on smiles hoping no one else realises that our walls are cracking.
Ready to crumble.
When it comes to confidence & women, research has shown that there’s a big ‘ol gap that separates the sexes. While dudes surely have moments of insecurity & low self-esteem, the weight of these two emotional loads pull women back at much more alarming rates.
I digress though.
Moving on, to why I’m writing this.
Climbing without falling isn’t a true representation of reality.
We’d all like to be happy all of the time right? Ride a dopamine wave around loop-de-loops & throw our hands in the air without a worry in the world.
But the roller coaster ride isn’t all fun & rush-inducing. Nope, life is fast, slow, up, down & everything in between. It’s a wild ride. A broken, yet beautiful, journey that we all travel.
So, here I am. Tippity-typing my innermost thoughts. Before you ask, yes, I’m slightly afraid to share them. Shedding light on anything other than a perfectly crafted veneer is uncomfortable for most of us.
But, fear not, I have great news!
Moments of darkness, confusion, & sagging self-belief aren’t all bad. In fact, it’s taken many a crisis of confidence, in my life to build me into the *mostly* consistently confident person that I am today.
All of those quotes about ‘fall down seven times, stand up eight…’ resonate with us because they are rooted deeply in the fallible nature of humanity. And, seeing that we’re all humans, understanding that we’re inherently flawed is a good thing to learn early.
Like all of us, crisis moments are all unique. No two moments of self-doubt or crisis are the same. They can be as quick as a flash-in-the pan or last days (or weeks or longer) depending on the situation.
And as cliche as it is to say this, the deeper the impact, the higher I’ve risen afterwards.
By using lows as starting points for growth, I’ve learned to ride the rough waves towards a sunny shoreline. And, I’ve taken time out over the course of my professional career & in my personal life to hone skills in utilising techniques around positive self-talk.
No more limitations. No more negative trolls between my ears.
Over the years, the following four tips are the ones I come back to time & time again to get me out of bed, out of a rut, & back into a positive frame of self-reference.
I hope they help you as much as they’ve helped me. Sometimes the simplest things (perspective, conversation & context) are the most helpful weapons we have to fight self-doubt.
1. Take a deep breath Breathing is what keeps us here. It’s what grounds us. It’s what moves us forward. Being able to control your breathing means you control your body. When your body is settled – then you can take care of your mind. Taking a deep breath also means pausing & evaluating your current situation.
You’re allowed to cry. I'm talking big, ugly, feel-it-in-your-soul crying. But once you’ve done that, it's easier to take a deep breath. Then another. And then, find a way to be calm. Sit with your feelings & give yourself the time & space you need to move onto tip number two.
2. Talk to someone you trust Oftentimes I try to solve my problems without letting anyone else in on them. Why? I’m not really sure. But, I think it’s probably got something to do with appearing weak, imperfect, & not enough for others to want to be around me. My goal in life is to spread goodness, not to be a drag on others. So, for a long time, I’ve hidden away things that bother me or that cause me to doubt myself.
Talking to someone, be it a friend, family member, or therapist is a good thing. Most of the time other people want to be there for you. If someone reacts badly to your truth, find someone else to talk to. Find someone who wants to help. I promise, you’ll be amazed at the level of love & support you’ll get by opening up in your own, genuine way.
That then leads us to…
3. Make a plan Making a plan doesn’t have to be onerous & time consuming. It also doesn’t have to be a forever-plan. Making a plan can be as simple as getting up & getting dressed – & from there, going for a walk or writing down your thoughts. The important aspect of planning is that you’re focussing on moving forward, not looking back. You don’t have to solve your problems all in one foul-swoop. But you can start to tackle little pieces of problems in a way that gives you hope, belief, & purpose.
Not all big moments stem from big plans. Start small.
Do what you can with what you’ve got – & move forward at the pace you can move at in the moment.
From there, it’s time to….
4. Celebrate the small stuff This is something I try to do as often as I can. Taking notice of, & then celebrating small milestones gives us a realistic way of approaching our days. Be it at work, at play, or in our pursuit of joy – practicing appreciation for moments that become building blocks is super important to creating a habit of positive self-belief in all of us.
I don’t mean for this to sound trite, but I reckon if we all really celebrated each other & our little moments of victory more often, that our workplaces & homes would be filled with so much more love & our crisis of confidence days would be less and less.
So remember, Team, celebrate yourself.
Celebrate however you need & want to celebrate.
Right, so those are the top four ways that I personally employ to get my head back in the right place – a place of positive self-talk, confidence boosting thoughts, & of forward movement.
Here’s hoping you’re having an amazing day. If not, take a deep breath… & then rock into a future of motion begetting motion. Success begetting success. And, a life of mostly confident self-love!
Thank you for reading.