If you’ve ever wrangled with low self esteem or a lack of confidence then you’ll know just how debilitating it can be. Not having faith in your own capabilities or worthiness to achieve your goals can have a real impact on your life, both personally and professionally.
But the good news is, all you need to do is remember the words “Just believe in yourself” and as if by magic, you’re suddenly filled with a sense of overwhelming confidence, ready to conquer the world. Like Joan of Arc. Or Beyonce…..
No?! That doesn’t work for you?!
Ok ok…so I’m not in the least bit shocked. Such throwaway cliche’s have certainly never worked for me and I’m yet to meet someone who else who swears by them!
However, through years of exploring and working with this topic, there really is something quite magical that I’ve discovered, something that I encourage my own clients to cultivate.
It’s completely free, can be accessed at anytime, anywhere and like anything else, the more you do it the easier and more second nature it becomes…..
I’m talking about self compassion. And if this concept sounds completely novel to you, then I encourage you to read on! Self compassion is simply the act of treating yourself the same way you would treat a loved one, physically and emotionally. With love, understanding and encouragement.
And if you’re wondering how exactly to develop this elusive sense of self belief from nowhere and cultivate self compassion without vague statements, then here’s a few tangible starting points to get you going…
1.Ditch The Inner Critic
Have you ever observed how you talk to yourself and how you talk about yourself? Is your internal and external dialog supportive? Kind? Encouraging? If such concepts have you laughing or even feeling morose, then it’s definitely time to readdress how you talk to yourself. The next time you catch yourself saying something disparaging, mean or critical to yourself, take a moment to consider how you would feel if you overhead these exact same words being directed towards a friend you love, and then make a concerted effort to correct yourself. It might feel silly at first but that’s just because it’s new!
2.Avoid The Comparison Trap
When we compare our lives and achievements to those of others, especially the ones that look super shiny on social media, it can be too easy to fall into the comparison trap. This is a sure fire way to start feeling all kinds of “not enoughness” (Ooopps…here comes the inner critic again!)
My advice? Forget what “everybody else” has or is doing. Be inspired but concentrate on your own journey whilst taking the time to appreciate and applaud how far you’ve already come.
3.Drop The Judgement
And I don’t just mean towards others, I also mean to towards yourself. You can’t be compassionate towards yourself and judgemental at the same time. Be open to exploring perceived negative emotions without judging yourself. Often emotions that are labelled “bad” are merely trying to indicate something to us. Feeling jealous?? Great! What’s this trying to tell you, what hidden desire lies beneath that jealousy? Feeling insecure? Ok, we can work with this….what’s the fear here? What can we do feel more secure? Frustrated?? Brilliant!! What needs to change?!
4.Accept That Self First Isn’t Selfish
I’m going to say something a bit controversial, so brace yourself…. Continually putting your needs and desires at the very bottom of the list and everybody else’s at the top, isn’t necessarily an act of selflessness, in fact sometimes it’s down right self sabotaging. When we start to put some of our own needs first this helps foster a sense of worthiness, which goes a long way to developing that desired self belief.
For yourself and others. We are merely human, beautifully flawed and most us just doing the best we can with the tools we have. But when we blame ourselves and hold onto our mistakes, we start to develop a sense of unworthiness which leads us to the depravation of things we want and often need. Take the lessons but let go of the desire to continually blame yourself for things you could have done differently.
And as for others? I think this analogy sums it up perfectly “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Anon
Remember - Self belief starts with self compassion. So if you’re struggling to believe that you’re capable or worthy of taking those next steps in life or you’re just tired of feeling like you don’t have the confidence to pursue something different, try being kinder to yourself.
Because when you consistently give yourself the same amount of grace, support and encouragement as you would a friend, it’s not so hard to believe in yourself.
I hope this article inspires you to practice a little more self compassion and a little less self critical judgement. As always, if you found this useful please drop a comment below or share with someone who needs this in their life.