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If Losing Your Job To The Pandemic Destroyed Your Identity, Here’s How To Find It

        “If I’m not (insert job title here), then who am I?”

This is the type of question some adults are asking themselves as they struggle through the darkness of losing a job to the pandemic.

Some never realized how tied their identities were to their careers until they lost them. They feel lost mentally and emotionally, as if they’re experiencing a bad breakup. The present is surreal, the future is uncertain, and they’re unsure how to define themselves.

Christa Black, a freelance copywriter from Ashland, Kentucky, said her work shaped her identity.

“I finally felt like a ‘real’ writer, because after several years of trying, I was actually being paid to do what I enjoyed and was good at,” she said. “I started to feel less like an artist and more like ‘a professional.'”

But when the pandemic hit, the work faded away. Black’s income decreased to little to none. She soon felt that she had lost her identity, that she was no longer a professional and that she didn’t fit in with the creative community from which she had come.

That might be because sudden unemployment is a threat to “narrative identity,” said Jonathan Adler, a professor of psychology who specializes in identity and narrative psychology at the Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts.

“Identity is the story of our lives that weaves together the way we reconstruct our past, make sense of the present and anticipate our future,” he said.

That narrative identity is the confluence of you and the culture in which you live. We grow up in a sea of stories about what a typical life’s journey looks like and what moments we’re supposed to hold onto, Adler said, so we take the templates available to us and tailor our experiences to those master narratives.

“We use our stories as the foundation for everything else that we do,” Adler said. “So when you rock the foundation, everything else on top of that crumbles.”

Through some inner work, however, you can take back your worth.

How our identities influence our jobs

For some, jobs provide merely a paycheck. For others, occupations also supply a sense of meaning that holds weight when they think about their sense of selves.

Our perpetually “on the grind” culture defines who we are by what we do for work.

“The first thing we ask when we meet a new person is, ‘What do you do for a living?'” said Nicole Hind, an Australia-based psychotherapist behind the online community, blog and practice Unveiled Stories.

“It’s as though we equate ‘goodness’ with ‘work’ when in fact goodness is so much more than that. It’s important to note that this is particular to our modern industrialized society: the idea that work is all of who we are and that we are not worthy humans if we don’t work.”

Additionally, people who feel motivated and engaged by and passionate about their work might have experienced psychological benefits from finding their calling, Adler said.

In the idealized college-job-promotion-passion trajectory, becoming unemployed isn’t part of the vision. “All of a sudden the end is totally open and uncertain,” Adler said.

Our narrative identities serve two additional functions that make us feel good. They provide a sense of unity, so that we feel we are the same people over time. They also provide a sense of purpose, so we know the meaning of what we’re doing and what our lives are about.

People suddenly faced with job loss are now challenged by a story with a cliffhanger and interrupted senses of unity and purpose — all of which can lead to anxiety, depression and anger.

 

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What to do about it

Finding your identity begins with questioning yourself about three themes that construct life stories and tend to be the strongest predictors of well-being, Adler said.

“It’s not so much what happens to you [that matters]; it’s how you tell the story of what happens to you,” Adler said.

The first is agency, a characteristic of the main character in your story (which is you). Maybe your effectiveness at your job provided your sense of agency. Though no one is in complete control, how much are you in the driver’s seat of your life versus batted around by the whims of external forces?

Give yourself the space to grieve the losses, Hind instructed.

Don’t rush into proclaiming why you’re stronger because of it. Instead, acknowledge what you’re feeling physically, emotionally and mentally. Recall positive moments, too: the times when you advocated for what you believed in or hit a goal.

Summer internships have dried up because of the pandemic. Here’s how to get ahead without one

“People who do what’s called exploratory processing — which means deeply trying to make sense of their experience before creating a redemption sequence at the end — actually do better than the people who just do redemption without exploring the challenge,” Adler said.

Then find something else to prioritize, like a new venture or hobby. Revisit your core values and what really matters: What parts of your job were important to you? What fueled your passion? How can you express those during this period?

You can stay invested in those values whether you’re employed or not, Adler said.

For example, Black, the freelance copywriter, has found her roots again in creative writing. “It has helped me get back in touch with my creativity and given me something enjoyable to focus on while I emotionally recover from everything that came along with the pandemic and its fallout,” she said.

In this way, the underlying value of her job might be fulfilled.

Figure out your own definition of success, Hind said. What do you admire about your role models? Is it their “success” or their skills, compassion, kindness or wisdom?

And our stories aren’t just about ourselves. Communion, secondly, entails a sense of being connected to, nurturing and feeling cared for by quality relationships. Engage with the connections that matter to you.

“Step away from ‘job’ as being the only and step towards appreciating [yourself] and others for everything: the way you take care of someone or the meal you cooked today,” Hind said. “What [do] my everyday life, my interactions and my values say about who I am?”

Taking action and finding community foster the growth leading to redemption — stories that start out bad but end well.

“There’s a lot of research on the theme of redemption. It’s sort of a classic American master narrative,” Adler said. “We have the Puritan settlers finding freedom. We have ex-slaves’ narratives about liberation. We have the rags to riches stories.”

The outcome of finding yourself

Reclaiming your identity requires both a quick shift in mindset and a journey of changing your thought patterns and behaviors — just like setting an intention to lose weight, Adler said.

“That’s something that takes place over time, but it actually happens every moment of every day. You can’t just diet and exercise on the weekends,” he explained. “Changing your narrative identity is like that — it’s a cumulative process that builds up over time, but the intention … is something you do in the here and now every day.”

When we’re focused only on work as a measure of success and what defines us, we lose touch with many other areas, Hind said.

We might devalue our contributions to our families or forget to be present with them, ourselves, pets and other sources of joy. We say we “don’t have time” for leisure and then wonder why we’re so anxious all the time or need a drink to unwind. Then we wonder why we’re unhappy, Hind said.
Just as a threatened identity might have upended every area of your life, a solid identity can also flow into different domains and increase your confidence.

By Kristen Rogers       June 18, 2020
source: www.cnn.com


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Give Yourself More Credit for Doing These Things

Let’s do a roll call: who here has been giving themselves a hard time lately? If this is you, it’s time to cut yourself some slack! You may not realize it, but there are countless things you accomplish every day that are absolutely praiseworthy.

No, really! If we don’t give ourselves credit for the small stuff, how can we feel comfortable patting on ourselves when we accomplish something massive?

The next time you start doubting yourself and your capabilities, reflect on this list as a reminder of all that you do that is right as rain. And give yourself some credit – you really deserve it.

1. Catching Some ZZZs

Getting enough sleep every night is not an easy feat! Whether we’re a working parent of triplets or someone who is struggling with managing their anxiety levels, the fact that we get as many ZZZs as we can is a huge accomplishment.

2. Facing Small Challenges

When is the last time you had a day with absolutely nothing worth worrying about? No deadlines or housework or difficult social interactions to manage? Take as much time as you need… but you’ll probably find that most days contain these minor challenges. The fact that we get through a handful of them each and every day is a bigger deal than you think.

3. Taking a Much-Needed Break

When those minor challenges start to add up and we decide to take a well-deserved break, that is called self-care. It is absolutely essential that we establish boundaries for ourselves and what we can handle – just like how it’s essential we establish the same kinds of boundaries in relationships. Reward yourself for not putting too much on your plate to handle.

4. Being a Good Friend

Did you let a friend use you as a support today? Did you offer a kind word to a loved one having a crummy day? Did you text a funny meme to a friend who needed a pick-me-up? These small signs of affection and caring mean a whole lot to the person on the receiving end.

5. Letting Someone Else be a Good Friend to You

Were you the person who needed that pick-me-up today? Being open to help and support is just as important as offering it to the important people in our lives who need it.

6. Thinking a Positive Thought about Yourself

Disappointment, judgment, and criticism are such powerful factors in our self-talk every day. But, if we are able to find one nugget of positivity in the way we speak to ourselves, consider it a victory. Even if it’s simply “I tried today”, take it as a win. You were nice to yourself when you needed it.

7. Having patience with your growth

Living in such a demanding and busy society can take its toll. We can end up expecting a whole lot more from ourselves than we can reasonably give. It is important to remember this fact when we take the time to reflect on our overall progress with personal goals or development. Consider a person you really admire: did they obtain the traits you love overnight? No! They struggled and stumbled and learned along the way – just like you are doing. It’s all a part of the process.

By: Katie Medlock      October 7, 2017
 
source: www.care2.com


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What Loving Yourself Can Look Like

There are many misconceptions about self-love. Some people assume that loving yourself is a cop-out or an excuse to do whatever you want—as in miss work just because, or spend money on some big purchase that’s going to set you back (i.e., spending money you don’t have). Some people assume it means not taking responsibility for your actions, or slipping into excess, or obsessive behaviors. Some people assume self-love is a synonym for hedonism.

I totally understand why these myths abound. After all, we’re more used to punishing and berating ourselves than we are to leading with self-kindness. It’s hard to comprehend approaching ourselves with love. Because doesn’t that mean we’ll get out of line? Doesn’t that mean we’ll be lazy, and inefficient, and careless?

We’re afraid of putting down the whip and removing our shackles. It’s similar to the fears we have about giving up dieting: Left to our own devices, will we just eat everything in sight? Will we sit on the couch allllll day long eating ice cream and stuffing our faces? (“Health” publications and diet ads create the assumption that we will…)

We worry that somehow self-love equals a lack of self-control. We’ll go wild. So we need to restrain ourselves with clear-cut rules and consequences (e.g., you eat dessert, you pay the price with an extra 30 minutes at the gym).

But self-love is more about having our own best interests at heart. It’s about being supportive and intentional. It is about respecting and honoring ourselves and making decisions that fulfill us on a deeper level. It might be about seeking pleasure sometimes (because that’s a good thing). But overall it’s about doing what serves our health and well-being. For instance, drinking a glass of wine might feel pleasurable. However, over time, you realize that your drinking has actually become an escape, a way to numb yourself from emotional pain. The loving action is to find a healthier way to cope with your heartache.

Below is what self-love means to me. These are my personal views and examples. Your perspective will likely look slightly different.

  • Self-love is getting quiet and contemplating my needs and wishes regularly (though, of course, I’ll forget and need reminding).
  • It is prioritizing my health, such as going to the dentist several times a year, and having an annual skin exam.
  • It is letting others be kind to me. It is letting others love me.
  • It is staying in bed longer when I need the rest.
  • It is not spending time with people who bring me down or are dishonest or thrive on gossip.
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Self-love is using the present as an anchor when the inner-critic gets too loud, when my thoughts turn too dark.

  • It is taking a walk, not because I need to burn calories or punish myself for a big meal. But because it’s beautiful out, and it feels good, and it awakens my senses
  • It is being honest about my dreams and my feelings and my thoughts.
  • It is being OK with being sad or anxious, instead of bashing myself for these feelings, instead of saying that I am weak.
  • It is acknowledging that I don’t have to be like anyone else—I don’t need to be as productive as she is. I don’t need to adopt her dreams. My dreams don’t need to be “big” or anything other than what they are. I don’t need to hold the same opinions or priorities as he does. I don’t need to look like them. I don’t need to go along with something I dislike or don’t believe in. I don’t need to try the latest social media app if I’d rather devote that time to something else—like being with my loved ones, or relaxing, or sleeping.

Self-love is forgiving myself for making a mistake or a bad decision (as hard as this is). It is exploring what went wrong and trying to learn from it. It is wondering how I can move on and how I can make the next decision more helpful.

Sometimes, this comes naturally. Most times, I fumble and feel a bit lost. Sometimes, I feel like years of progress have been erased in a few moments. But that’s just because self-love is a process. And this is natural, too. We will disconnect from ourselves, and we will reconnect. The key, I think, is to be open. To be open to beginning and trying.

 

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS    Associate Editor 


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Start Accepting Yourself, You’re Worth It

Do you ever feel like you are simply never good enough? As a serial perfectionist, I’ve struggled for years with self-acceptance. On the one hand, never settling keeps me striving to continuously better myself. But, as many of you know too well, the thirst for self-improvement is nearly always companioned by a shadow of self-deprecation and self-loathing. There is nearly always that cruel inner voice behind every small triumph, whispering with critical malevolence, making you feel horrible in even the best of circumstances.

Many of us are overly self-critical. A lot of adults, young or old, men or women, struggle with self-acceptance. Something so theoretically simple as loving, forgiving and nurturing yourself eludes so many of us. Why? Because we are taught to be perfect. We are taught to strive for the perfect bodies, the perfect wrinkle-less face, the perfect grades, the perfect house, the perfect lover, the perfect life.

We have made the ultimate goal of living perfection rather than joy and self-fulfillment, which is such a mind-wrecker. Know this: true perfection is impossible. It’s time to accept it. But, to be the happiest, best version of yourself, self-acceptance will make your imperfectly perfect life so much more beautiful. Here are a few tips I’ve learned on my journey to encourage your own self-acceptance:

Accept your successes.

I have the tendency to undervalue the work I’ve done and any progress I’ve made. A lot of people, especially women, I know have this tendency. Yeah, it sounds like I did something awesome, but when you think about it, it really isn’t THAT impressive. Stop belittling your success. Be proud of what you have accomplished and take full credit for it. You deserve to feel proud. Pride in your work is one of the first steps to being comfortable with who you are.

Self-acceptance is not arrogance.

I never want to appear arrogant. I find it a distasteful quality. However, in my quest to avoid arrogance, I sometimes practice so much humility that I become incapable of accepting the compliments and niceties of others. I martyr myself in my humility, boosting others up while pushing myself further and further down. But it’s not doing anyone any favors to dismiss compliments or positivity. We should all accept more positivity into our lives. Allow yourself to receive what you’ve earned and know that you truly deserve it.

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Forget about the past.

Many of the self-acceptance issues I have struggled with arise from the ghosts of my past—namely the body dysmorphia I suffered as a professional dancer. Self-acceptance means being content with yourself in the present. Forget about your past. Stop defining your present by the ghosts behind you. You, in this very moment, are enough. You are worthy. Accept yourself as you are, not as you were.

Stop seeking the approval of others.

The only approval that matters, in the end, is your own. In the wise words of Chance the Rapper: “I don’t wanna be cool. I just wanna be me.” Be who you want to be. Stop focusing on what others want. Sure, you can try to please others. But in order to accept yourself, you have to make yourself a priority. Screw what everyone else thinks. As long as you are happy and no one else is being caused any pain, putting yourself first should be something we all strive for.

Spend time alone.

It’s easy to fill your schedule with dinners, drinks, work, family functions, et cetera. But, without some alone time, you are effectively hiding your true self from yourself. Everyone needs alone time to check in with themselves—to see how you feel, to process any new or outdated beliefs, to reassess how you are generally doing as a modern human. By avoiding alone time, you are perpetuating the fear that you are not enough on your own. Know that you are enough. Take yourself out to dinner and enjoy it. Go solo on a movie date. You’ll soon learn that when you’re solo, you’re more awesome than you could ever begin to imagine.

The key to self-acceptance is knowing that you, as you are right now, are enough. Yes, it takes a little bit of courage to begin to truly accept yourself for who you are, but every step brings you a little more self-empowerment, bit by bit. Self-acceptance can be a slow process. With every two steps of gain, it can sometimes feel like you are dragged a step and a half backwards by those mean voices inside your mind. But remember, even if you go backwards, you are still moving forward—steadily, steadily. Keep on, because the journey to you is so worth it.

By: Jordyn Cormier         October 17, 2016
source: www.care2.com


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How To Make Friends With Your Inner Critic

Today it’s my pleasure to introduce you to licensed counselor and intuition coach John Harrison. John has written a fantastic guest post about the benefits of negative self talk. Yes, that’s right! John shows us how to make friends with our inner critic and let it guide us back to authenticity.

by John Harrison, LPCC      Sharon Martin, LCSW

We all experience positive and negative self talk.

We’ve been alive long enough to have experienced viewpoints of ourselves that are negative, self deflating, and undermining and those that tell us we are limitless creators, lovers of life, and the masters of our own destiny.   One set of beliefs tells us we “aren’t”.  The other tells us we “are”.  How do we know which is the affirming view of our own reality?  Who are we, really?

Most of my clients come to see me looking for guidance to help them “get on the right track”.   One person in particular has a stretch of weeks where her life is really coming together for her.  She’s engaged, excited, and feeling she’s turned that corner.  Then, to her disappointment, she’ll have one of her negative interactions with her family.  They’ll tell her she’s being selfish.  They’ll suggest she’s wasting her time with her career and that “if she’d just change” she’d be able to find someone that would want to date her.

After these run-ins with her family she’ll come to my office completely devastated.   The self doubt creeps in.  “What if they’re right?  Am I being selfish?  Can I ever be happy with my decisions?”  She really feels that each time she has a setback she is starting over from scratch.  I know that it feels that way to her.  But she’s doing just fine.

Your inner critic doesn’t define you.

Although we all contain negative self talk, we are actually much more than this “self chatter”.  Sure, we carry the doubts and fears of our parents, our families, the experiences of failure from growing up.   We hear those “voices of the past” as we move into adulthood and even now in our current life experiences.   But this isn’t actually who we really are.  There’s a part of us that knows the “right way”.  A part of us that knows joy and peace.  So how do we tap into this?  How do we tune out the negative self talk and ignore those crippling, shameful voices that tell us we aren’t enough?

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You don’t turn them off.  You can’t completely stop that negative self talk.  But you can actually use those awful feelings you get when your negative self talk is at its worst to give you guidance.   You can learn from your negative beliefs, self talk, and feelings.  The negative feelings caused by negative self talk are the first indication that you aren’t in alignment with your true self.   Why?  Because you are worthy just by being alive.  You deserve to feel good.  You deserve to be confident, healthy, and thriving.

Self affirming thoughts and beliefs feel good.  They feel right.  And if you want to feel good, this is all you need to pay attention to in knowing you are “on the right path”.

You don’t need permission to feel good.

You are supposed to feel good.  You are supposed to be happy and get what you want.   Feeling good, alive, and engaged in life is what life is all about.  Sure we’ve all been taught in one form or another that we get love and acceptance as long as we “play by the rules”.  But I’m going to tell you this:  You are deserving of what you want because you are.  Period.  You don’t need permission to feel good.  You don’t need to be ashamed to feel happy and get what you want.

Your negative self talk can guide you back to yourself.

You have an internal GPS.  A guidance system that tells you when you are “off” and when you are “on” and where you want to be.   If you use those negative beliefs of yourself, or that negative self talk, to signal you that you aren’t where you want to be, the negative voices and stories in your mind can be a powerful ally.  Stop trying to look for proof that your self defeating beliefs aren’t your reality.  Stop trying to prove yourself and look for external affirmation.  Give yourself permission to accept that you can demand and get what you want because you say so.  And I’m assuming that you want more good in your life.  You want to be happy, content, and be in love with your life.

And here you are.  Living your life while going through the ups and downs.   But you’ve made it this far.  You know that for every self defeating belief, there is still a part of you who continues to seek something better.  There’s a “you” that’s constant through all of this.   The you that knows the contrast of life.  The pain, the shame, and the love and excitement of being happy and alive.  All of it.   The truth is you want to be happy, engaged, and in love with life.  But as life does, it gives us the negative experiences that bring those voices of doubt to the forefront of our conscious minds.  But “you”, the real “you” continues to tell you through negativity that you aren’t living your truth.   This is your intuition.  Your internal GPS.  It loves you.  It doesn’t lie.  All you have to do is listen to it.

John Harrison is a licensed counselor and intuition coach who works with individuals and couples helping them get “unstuck”. He shows them how to empower their lives, helping them see they are their own greatest asset. John counsels individuals and couples in Cincinnati, Ohio and coaches people from all over the country showing them how to use their “higher self” to get the lives they want. You can find out more about John and his services at johnharrisoncounseling.com.


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Learning How To Love Yourself

The most important relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself. Yet, how often have you heard yourself say, “I am my own worst enemy”? If your goals involve raising your confidence, ending depression, moving beyond diets or overeating behaviors, or just plain wanting to live a happier, fulfilled life, you have to know what self-love looks like. Learn how to define self-love and then how to bring it into your own life!

Oscar Wilde once stated, “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” Love is a mystery and not easily definable. However, it does have certain characteristics. Self-love is a consuming passion for your own happiness. It is an ongoing choice you make to be glad to alive, here on Earth, in your own body.

Self-love occurs when you decide who you are and what you want is important. It is an inner state of being which develops as you decide it is all right to build a kind, sensuous, and meaningful partnership with your self. Self-love involves deciding to connect with your dreams and then supporting yourself with encouraging thoughts and empowering self-supportive actions.

Defining Self-Love
Self-love is not so much a feeling as it is a decrease of self-doubt and self-disapproval. It involves an ever-growing sense of balance and belonging. Respect, responsibility for self, and feeling good are important values. Self-love means that your well-being matters to yourself unconditionally and in practical terms. The following are some characteristics of self-loving people:

• Self-loving people focus on feeling good.
• Self-loving people allow themselves to be happy and to share this with others.
• Self-loving people tend to treat themselves well.
• They see enjoyment of life as a primary goal most of the time.
• They do not remain in mistreatment by others.
• They are caring towards others. (Because it feels good to do so).
• They put themselves first. Even those they love are a “close second.”
• They find a thought that feels good, and practice it.
• They let themselves succeed.

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Basic Principles of Self Love

• Who you are is more important than what you are.
• You are valuable. Nothing can change that.
• What you want always matters.

How to Develop and Nurture Love
Increasing your love of self involves an intention to become more self-loving and then following up this intention with reinforcing actions. An intention involves a conscious decision to be happier and more fulfilled in your own life. You make a new decision to be alive . . . and then accept personal responsibility to make your life a better, more enjoyable experience. It may take considerable effort to pry yourself out of a life that feels less than joyful, but it is entirely possible to have the kind of life you want for yourself. Below are some practical ideas of how to begin expanding your love of self:

• Acknowledge and verbally praise yourself.
• Have fun more often.
• Learn new ways to relax and release tension.
• Practice conscious, deep, full-bodied breathing several times each day.
• Think inspiring thoughts.
• Instead of always focusing on the problem, decide to focus on desired outcomes.
• Fill your life with beauty, such as times of silence, beautiful music, flowers.
• Raise your confidence by taking daily small, achievable actions steps that support your goal.
• Acknowledge your efforts and your successes.
• Reward yourself daily.
• Listen to your intuition and then follow it.
• Let yourself succeed.
• Nurture yourself by imagining desired outcomes to life’s situations.
• Offer yourself affection in many, many different ways.
• Choose to think thoughts that bring inner peace (rather than worry).
• Remember and feel gratitude.

Love may be a mystery. The good news is that the art of increasing self-love is not so mysterious. In fact, it is something you can learn through knowledge and practice. Imagine your self-love as a seed inside of you. Even if it is just a tiny, unnourished, seed right now, you have the ability to grow that seed into something spectacular. The growth of your self-love is not going to happen overnight. However, by taking certain actions, your seed will most assuredly grow. Today, make a commitment to yourself to nurture your inner seed of love. Ask yourself, “How can I be more loving to myself today?” Use your imagination and come up with several possibilities. Then, follow through with your thoughts and put them into action. Do this every day, and watch as you begin to create the loving life you deserve.

By Annette Colby, RD, the Official Guide to Energy Healing


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6 Everyday Opportunities To Build Self-Confidence

BY VIRONIKA TUGALEVA     MARCH 16, 2015 

When we trust ourselves, anything is possible. People who take the time to honor their talents, speak their minds, and bring their best ideas into fruition get feelings of fulfillment that can only come from living an authentic life.

This, at the core, is what self-confidence is really about — trusting yourself, standing by your own side.

As you know from your relationships with other people, trust is built one day at a time. With each deep conversation we have and each struggle we overcome together, we gain more confidence in each other.

This is exactly how self-confidence is built, too: one day at a time.

Here is a list, by no means exhaustive, of everyday opportunities to build self-confidence. I guarantee you that if you take yourself up on these every single time they come along, you’ll feel a sense of deep personal power and integrity in no time.

1. Look with love.

When you look in the mirror, you have the opportunity to choose love over judgment. Next time you’re looking at yourself, divert your attention away from the hairs, blemishes, wrinkles, or whatever you obsess about and, instead, look into your eyes with the same depth you’d look at someone you love. Then, give yourself a big smile. It might be strange or awkward at first, but over time, you will build trust and intimacy with that person in the mirror. Like all great relationships, you have to start somewhere.

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2. Slow down and spend time with yourself.

When you’re just rushing through your to-do list, you get no quality time with yourself. It’s important to take as much time as you can, every day, to slow down and be completely present. There are so many ways to do this. You can practice mindful eating, take a bath, do yoga, or take a walk in nature. Whatever you do, allow yourself to do it fully and enjoy every moment.

3. Journal.

Reflecting on your thoughts every day is the equivalent of taking the time to have a deep conversation with someone you love every day. By journaling, you build the habit of trusting yourself and of being trusted. Over time, you will naturally be drawn to your journal in hard times, as well as in times of inspiration. You’ll also allow yourself to be more honest about what you want and what holds you back. This valuable self-awareness is essential toward making important life choices and growing as a person.

4. Stop being scared of saying no.

When you say “yes” to every request people make of you, you stretch yourself too thin and give less than your best. Learning to say “no” builds integrity and strengthens your relationship with yourself, as well as your relationships with others. If someone asks you for a favor and you can’t do it wholeheartedly, let them go find someone who will. You both deserve that. Sometimes “no” is really the kindest word.

5. Sleep on it.

If someone triggers you, take some time to cool off before responding. By choosing to communicate in peace instead of in conflict, you save yourself from the inevitable anxiety anyone can get when she says or does things in times of high emotion. In the long run, you’ll free up all that mind space you devoted to ruminating on your mistakes to ruminating on your brightest ideas.

6. Do something nice … quietly.

When you see the opportunity to perform an act of kindness, whether it’s picking up a piece of trash or helping someone carry something down a set of stairs, do it. Then, keep it to yourself. You’ll feel good about what you’ve done and, as a bonus, you’ll get to feel proud of yourself for it, without needing to wash down that pride by seeking approval from other people.


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12 Things Not To Be Ashamed Of

“Never be ashamed of yourself. Be proud of who you are and don’t worry about how others see you.” – Kristen Butler

In today’s critical society, the lives of others are often measured and compared to “the norm”. So much so, that it comes down to the point of people actually being ashamed of how they live their life, or even who they live it with.

Who ever made you think that you had to give away your power of being a uniquely beautiful individual?

The truth is, you do NOT have to be ashamed of your life, how you live it, or who you live it with. The important part of life is that you are creating happiness in your own life as well as in the lives of others. You shouldn’t have to cover the life you live just because someone else may think or tell you that you shouldn’t, or don’t need to be living in that fashion.

Here are 12 things you should no longer be ashamed of:

1. Taking time for self-care

In a hectic world, it’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of doing things for others. You can spend an entire day making sure everyone you know is happy and well taken care of.

But what about taking time for yourself?

Self-care, or more commonly referred to as “me time”, comes in many forms. You can go extreme and book a 5-night vacation to somewhere sandy and warm, or you can do something a little more subtle and treat yourself to your favorite meal, read your favorite book, or get a massage. Self-care is vital to well-being!

2. Showing or expressing your emotion

Feeling sad? Maybe a little angry? You could even be ecstatic! Whatever you’re feeling, don’t be ashamed to express it. People who regularly use cognitive therapy to understand what they’re feeling become more competent in managing their emotions. As a result, they are less susceptible to manipulation and negative moods.

3. Who you spend time with

Not all your loved ones are family. Sometimes these people include your friends and romantic partners. In other words, you get to decide who you let into your life and who you spend most of your time with.

According to Jim Rohn’s law of averages, you’re most like the five people you spend the majority of your time with. If this is true, wouldn’t it be wise to proudly spend time with the people who you want to be around that will make you a better person?

4. What you do for work

In a society obsessed with what you do for a living and how much money you make, following your career aspirations can sometimes seem difficult. Just ask any liberal art college student how many times they’ve heard, “You’re getting a degree in that? What are you going to do? How are you going to pay your bills?”

When you’re constantly bombarded with attacks on your choice of career, it’s easy to get discouraged. Always remember what drew you to a certain field in the first place, and why you feel that you’re positively contributing to the world through that career choice.

5. Forgiveness

Holding grudges is bad for your relationships and health. It can easily wrap you up in the past instead of the present, and produce a multitude of health issues.

Never be ashamed to forgive anyone. Forgiving is important to move forward in life. Sometimes people think forgiving means it makes it okay. That’s untrue. Forgiveness means you are allowing yourself to let go. You free yourself from the bondage, and in fact, receive more of a gift from it than those who you forgive!

mirror

6. Being hopeful

There’s a common saying that a person is made truly happy by three things: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for. The dreamers among us know all about hope and how common it is to have that hope challenged by people who tell you to “be realistic” and prepare for the worst.

But to those challengers we say, “You may call me a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” Hopeful, positive thinking even has multiple health benefits including increased life span, lower levels of stress, and improves coping skills. So in difficult times, keep calm and hope on!

7. Positive Thinking

Not every day may be a good day, but this doesn’t mean that you have to let life kick you while you’re down. It’s impossible to predict when a bad day is going to come around, but thinking positive throughout those bad days will make you more resilient next time you’re challenged with one. With this ever growing resilience, you’ll be cruising down the best possible path you can take with your life.

8. Being true to yourself

One of the biggest deathbed regrets people express is not living a life true to themselves. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the expectations other people have for you and your life, but it will always boil down to what you want to do with your life.

Embracing your unique self and loving that self is one of the most courageous things you can do. Don’t worry about what others think. As that ridiculously catchy Bon Jovi song goes…it’s your life. It’s now or never.

9. Your past

Trials and tribulation ultimately create experience and wisdom. There are a lot of bumps along the road of life, especially in the first couple of decades. Don’t let those minor bumps turn into mountains. There are going to be moments that you wish you can do over, but the power of hindsight is that you learn from your past mistakes.

As time goes on, you’ll be able to make better, more informed decisions, allowing you to create a happier and healthier life.

10. Your natural self

In her wildly hilarious memoir, Bossypants, Tina Fey references a laundry list of beauty standards forced on women, including Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, small Japanese feet, the arms of Michelle Obama, and much more.

Men and women are both subjected to this kind of social standard, and can often become ashamed of how their body looks, based on what other people think about it. Even if you try every cutting edge surgery or serum, no one can be a perfectly sculpted specimen. Give those strict beauty standards a kick to the curb and embrace your natural state, while aiming to be the best version of you.

11. Your eating habits.

From animal protein lovers to the vegans and beyond, people can be very sensitive about their food. Some people swear by their diets, while others jump from superfood to superfood trying to find their next nutritive fix.

Whatever it is you’re chowing down on, don’t let others discourage you for being consistent with your own beliefs. Listen to your body. It will tell you exactly what food it needs, and if you ever get stuck on what to eat next, there are many resources available online to create a perfect meal plan for your individual needs.

12. Doing your best

We all want to live happy, fulfilling lives. To do so it takes a conscious effort, a lot of energy, and sometimes even a lot of time. Striving to do your best is always an admirable feat and should be revered, not frowned upon.

Anyone who tries to make you feel ashamed for striving may simply be ashamed of themselves for not striving to be their own optimal self.

Step into the freedom of being your unique self. You can be free from living in shame, regardless of what anyone thinks. Know that you are making a positive impact in the world, and that everything outside of that is strictly superficial. Shine ON!


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5 Ways to Make Yourself Believe in Yourself

To do well in life, you must believe in yourself. You are the one person you can truly rely on. Your belief about yourself, and your abilities, reflects in your personal success and happiness.  When you lack confidence in yourself, others pick up on that, and don’t take you seriously, and in turn your confidence can shrink even more.

Belief in yourself opens the doors of opportunity to your dreams and aspirations. It allows you to live your truth and be your best self.  You are an important and integral part of life as much as anyone and anything else. You have a purpose!  When you believe in yourself, the ability to follow your passions and live your purpose is available. You are allowing good things to come to you, and your belief in yourself allows you to act on those opportunities.

But, in this often highly competitive and demanding society we live in, we can feel small, unworthy and far from confident.

That doesn’t mean it’s not possible. It just takes specific skills and habits that must be consistently practiced.

Here are 5 Ways to Make Yourself Believe in Yourself:

1. Reflect on your past success.

If you’re in an emotional rut, use the tools from your past and get yourself out. Here’s an exercise: Vividly remember a time when you absolutely just kicked butt! You rocked it! You exceeded your own expectation. 🙂 Put yourself there and feel the excitement and pride you had inside. Now, remember you can do it again.

It’s healthy to use the past to your advantage. Too often we easily recall what has hurt us, but we can just as easily allow the past to help us propel.

If you need a bigger boost, repeat the exercise.

2. Seek positive external validation.

Every day we are subconsciously seeking validation, essentially for love in some form. That level of validation depends upon the attitude of the people around us.

If we surround ourselves with positive people who care about us, cherish our strengths, and help us be uplifted, we will flourish. However, if we are around people with negative, limiting beliefs, we can become surrounded in a negative environment, not providing ourselves with the fertile ground we need to grow.

Happy, confident, successful people credit others. We all need positive encouragement. That can be a good friend, family member, or mentor.

girl-looking-in-the-mirror

3. Transform your self talk.

We create who we are, everyday, by our daily beliefs and self talk. Our words are essentially affirmation. It’s important that we talk to ourselves with love and kindness. We deserve our own compliments.

For some that can be incredibly difficult. We can compliment and love others, but… love ourselves? It seems egotistical! But, it’s not.

You deserve your love and appreciation more than anyone else.  Shine your light and love towards every area you feel needs improvement.

Embrace your flaws? But, doesn’t that mean you’re accepting and allowing them to be there?

Actually, loving your flaws releases them and allows them to become whole and well again. If you are having a hard time, switch your focus to another area and come back to it later.

This practice can be achieved easier through daily personal affirmations and mirror work.

4. Give fears less credit, give yourself more.

Fear is merely false evidence appearing real. It’s worry set on fire. It holds you back from believing in yourself more than anything else. It’s an illusion.

Realizing that your fear is not real is the first step (which can actually be hard to do, so when you do you are well on your way).

Transcend the fear with action and do not hesitate. Yep, just like the Latin Proverb – Carpe Diem!

You are capable of much more than you believe. When you conquer a fear you allow for more of your true self to shine. Keep up the momentum and declare to conquer a few fears in a specific amount of time (like one a month). In a year, you’ll look back and feel like a completely new you! 😉

5. Celebrate the positive.

Your every day attitude affects how you treat yourself and others. Strive to be an optimist and see the good in the world. Focus on what you love about yourself and your strengths. Celebrate who you are and the good people you have in your life. Feel gratitude for everything going right and all the blessings on the way.

A positive attitude is the quickest way to believing in yourself. It bypasses everything else and gets right to the end goal – happiness, love, success and belief in yourself.


2 Comments

5 Ways to Make Yourself Believe in Yourself

To do well in life, you must believe in yourself. You are the one person you can truly rely on. Your belief about yourself, and your abilities, reflects in your personal success and happiness.  When you lack confidence in yourself, others pick up on that, and don’t take you seriously, and in turn your confidence can shrink even more.

Belief in yourself opens the doors of opportunity to your dreams and aspirations. It allows you to live your truth and be your best self.  You are an important and integral part of life as much as anyone and anything else. You have a purpose!  When you believe in yourself, the ability to follow your passions and live your purpose is available. You are allowing good things to come to you, and your belief in yourself allows you to act on those opportunities.

But, in this often highly competitive and demanding society we live in, we can feel small, unworthy and far from confident.

That doesn’t mean it’s not possible. It just takes specific skills and habits that must be consistently practiced.

Here are 5 Ways to Make Yourself Believe in Yourself:

1. Reflect on your past success.

If you’re in an emotional rut, use the tools from your past and get yourself out. Here’s an exercise: Vividly remember a time when you absolutely just kicked butt! You rocked it! You exceeded your own expectation. 🙂 Put yourself there and feel the excitement and pride you had inside. Now, remember you can do it again.

It’s healthy to use the past to your advantage. Too often we easily recall what has hurt us, but we can just as easily allow the past to help us propel.

If you need a bigger boost, repeat the exercise.

2. Seek positive external validation.

Every day we are subconsciously seeking validation, essentially for love in some form. That level of validation depends upon the attitude of the people around us.

If we surround ourselves with positive people who care about us, cherish our strengths, and help us be uplifted, we will flourish. However, if we are around people with negative, limiting beliefs, we can become surrounded in a negative environment, not providing ourselves with the fertile ground we need to grow.

Happy, confident, successful people credit others. We all need positive encouragement. That can be a good friend, family member, or mentor.

mirror mirror

3. Transform your self talk.

We create who we are, everyday, by our daily beliefs and self talk. Our words are essentially affirmation. It’s important that we talk to ourselves with love and kindness. We deserve our own compliments.

For some that can be incredibly difficult. We can compliment and love others, but… love ourselves? It seems egotistical! But, it’s not.

You deserve your love and appreciation more than anyone else.  Shine your light and love towards every area you feel needs improvement.

Embrace your flaws? But, doesn’t that mean you’re accepting and allowing them to be there?

Actually, loving your flaws releases them and allows them to become whole and well again. If you are having a hard time, switch your focus to another area and come back to it later.

This practice can be achieved easier through daily personal affirmations and mirror work.

4. Give fears less credit, give yourself more.

Fear is merely false evidence appearing real. It’s worry set on fire. It holds you back from believing in yourself more than anything else. It’s an illusion.

Realizing that your fear is not real is the first step (which can actually be hard to do, so when you do you are well on your way).

Transcend the fear with action and do not hesitate. Yep, just like the Latin Proverb – Carpe Diem!

You are capable of much more than you believe. When you conquer a fear you allow for more of your true self to shine. Keep up the momentum and declare to conquer a few fears in a specific amount of time (like one a month). In a year, you’ll look back and feel like a completely new you! 😉

5. Celebrate the positive.

Your every day attitude affects how you treat yourself and others. Strive to be an optimist and see the good in the world. Focus on what you love about yourself and your strengths. Celebrate who you are and the good people you have in your life. Feel gratitude for everything going right and all the blessings on the way.

A positive attitude is the quickest way to believing in yourself. It bypasses everything else and gets right to the end goal – happiness, love, success and belief in yourself.