The way we see ourselves generally determines not only what makesus happy, but how happy we are.
Today, I went for a walk in the forest. A path I had taken many times but always enjoyed.
Sun was just peeking from behind the clouds, a slight breeze wafted, and my dizzy dog was running ahead, sniffing the air and looking out for deer as he always did.
I found myself smiling.
And that set me wondering about what it is that truly makes us happy with ourselves.
Is it based on our values, our self-image or is it about what we have and what we do.
From all the women I have worked with, self-image is one aspect that affects or has affected all and often not in a positive way when we first met.
I call this comparitis.
Of course,we may all have different answers to the question.
And these will depend on the values by which we live and what we have decided is important to us and how we see ourselves in the world.
But if we have a poor self-image, reflected in low confidence, self-esteem and self -worth, then to be happy will be remarkable difficult.
It is true that to a degree we all learn to compare ourselves with others. And when we are young that is often done for us.
We are taught from parents or guardians who criticise or from peers who seem better dressed, better looking, better achievers at school. And so we all learn to compare.
With that, comes judging and it is when we judge ourselves too harshly that it becomes a path for negativity.
So if your learning started with ‘Why cant you be more like Sandra, she passed all her exams this year’ or ‘Don’t dress like that you look cheap; then we start to build from this remarks.
They may have been well intentioned, but they are sowing seeds that can impact us for years to come.
And we have just started to contract Comparitis.
As time goes by, we become more self conscious. We start to measure ourselves against others.
Our self awareness develops and we might think ‘she is much prettier than me’ or ‘she has much nicer clothes and she is slim so she looks good’.
Quite soon this can translate to ‘I’m fat, ugly, never look good in my clothes’
We are comparing ourselves with aspects that we see as ones we aspire to but cannot reach, and we develop feelings of inadequacy, low self-worth and low confidence.
Now, many of us bury some of these feelings early on. But then life experiences start to arrive and not all are positive.
We all have storms to weather and depending on our coping skills, do so with more or less success.
Sometimes we do compare ourselves favourably but if one day we find ourselves feeling vulnerable and do longer measure up well in our own estimation then things can change.
So living with Comparitis –comparing ourselves with others and as a result, believing that is how others judge us can lead to pain and tears.
A life unfulfilled.
So what can be done.
Let me offer you a couple of suggestions.
Firstly, for almost everyone, it is not possible to simply ‘think positive’.
And the reason for this is that self-confidence, worth and self-esteem are based on feelings which are very powerful.
Itcan well be that logic will tell you we cannot all be asslim as a celebrity or find wealth and success without effort, no more than we can all win the lottery.
But feelings are more powerful and they can dictate how we see ourselves.
Looking at yourself with kindness, calmly and objectively. On what are you basing these feelings.
Start by telling yourself that we are all unique. We are all different. We are wonderful as we are. Use some affirmations and practise these daily.
You could use some of the affirmations in the Resources section or you can use your own. Also focus in your strengths and good points.
You could use a simple diary to write down things you have done well and good things you might have done that day.
This can be as simple as helping a friend or neighbour.
Then translate this into your strengths eg I am kind and considerate to other people.
Or it could be that you have mastered a skill or new piece of knowledge.
This can be recorded as ‘I am enough, I am smart enough and I am good enough’.
Whatever you do choose to be kind to yourself and to be objective. Make use of your logical mind.
Often we look at someone who we believe is prettier, has a perfect figure or a successful life. Then we compare ourselves and usually find ourselves coming up short.
In fact, we are only comparing ourselves with what we see on the outside.
So while it is true that there will always be someone who is more beautiful, richer, more successful or who appears to be in control of a privileged life, this may not be their reality.
We are comparing what they are able to project to the world with our internalised feelings and thoughts. And that is not being kind to ourselves.
We don’t know what is happening in their lives. Yes, they may look good but they may also be extremely miserable. They may have money yet be unhappy.
They may even look at us and wish they were more like us. The things that really matter and that make us truly unique and wonderful are not our looks or our figures.
So, by all means, we all want to feel and look good. But that will come from the inside. We will all age, and our bodies will age with us.
So concentrate thoughts and feelings on how you feel in terms of your confidence and empowerment.
Use your ‘Wise mind’ to be kind to yourself, rather than measuring against other people.
Simply telling yourself you are as good as anyone and as worthy of a fulfilling empowered life but to make changes to thoughts and feelings –to break that circle you need to do more.
Using calmness, kindness, and searching inwards are first steps. My guide to Self Confidence may also help you.
Many people find their calm and their kindness through mindfulness meditation which helps us to being non-judgemental.
You are wonderful and unique, a special person. If you need help and support, reach out and use the resources available.
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Remember, we are here to help support you to become the empowered, bold and confident woman you were born to be.