One would think that someone who runs workshops on self-esteem, confidence and assertiveness would have a healthy sense of self-worth. Well I also thought this until I had a meltdown at the end of a tough week. It was a combination of things – stressful meetings, a fallout with my teenage daughter, and a disappointment in a close friendship. This combination exposed how fragile my self-worth actually was. While my head may have understood the theory of valuing myself, regardless of how life was going, my heart was just not convinced.
After some good wine and extensive whining to a close friend, she pointed out how I’d become overly concerned with other people’s opinions, and in the process, lost touch with who I really was. Hearing this was initially tough to swallow because this is something I would often recognise and gently suggest to a stressed-out client (for the record, there was nothing gentle about her announcement) but also because I was so sure that I had this part of my self-worth sorted. Surprise, surprise – it was once again time to look inward and do some work. After all, as we know (well, I thought I knew), developing self-awareness is an ongoing process and part of the journey.
If you find yourself in the same situation and need to re-connect with yourself, here are a few tips that I used on my journey:
Stay Connected To Your Values
• Unfollow people on social media, and set clear boundaries with those in the real world who do not make you feel worthy.
• Regularly reconnect with your values by taking five minutes every day to read a reminder of what you value and the type of person you would like to be.
• Say no to people and events if they’re not in line with what you value. This should be done kindly, confidently and unapologetically.
Discover Your True Values
• Do a ‘future self’ visualisation, to help you tap into the life you truly want to lead and the person you want to be.
• Identify role models you are drawn to and use them for inspiration.
• If you journal to uncover your values, start off by writing about the values of others around you and those in your environment – family, friends and colleagues. This will help you to disconnect from their values. Then journal about your values.
Now I know these suggestions may seem a tad self-centred. A thought that may get you over the guilt and the need to be totally selfless is to remember: To give anything to others, you have to have something to give. When you are living your life according to the expectations and opinions of others, you will eventually be running on empty and have nothing to give. You have more to give than you think, so stop being selfish and start reconnecting to YOU!
Bianca Filmalter, MD Raising the Standards