Photographed by my five-year-old daughter, Olivia.
I’ve been thinking about self-esteem and confidence lately. Over all, I am a confident person. I feel confident about my capabilities and my ability to succeed at reaching my goals. I think I’m intelligent, loving, strong, brave, adventurous, fun, athletic, organized, a good writer, a great mom, and I am competent in many other areas. But, sometimes I let fear of failure hold me back from setting new goals or moving forward. I think it’s a lingering self-esteem issue from my childhood. At times, I forget my own self-worth and I start doubting myself. Now that I’ve realized what has been holding me back, I’m going to work hard to not let that happen anymore.
I want to set a good example for my daughters. I want them to be confident, love themselves, and feel a strong sense of self-worth. Most importantly, I want to be the best and happiest that I can be, for me. I think we all do. Now that I have decided to consciously set that goal, I know that I will reach it.
Many women struggle with self-esteem or confidence issues so I asked therapist and Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Patricia Born, MS, to share a list of things women can do to build self-esteem and confidence. The below list was created by Patricia. The list is not verbatim because we were having a discussion and direct quotes would take away from the essence of our conversation. Here is the list:
- Deal with any baggage or demons from your past that influences your future happiness. You may need a mentor or therapist to work through the muck.
- Nurturing is a wonderful thing, but not if you are nurturing or doing something for someone so that they will like you. We cannot get our value from what other people think of us. We must value ourselves for who we are without the need for outside approval.
- Always treat yourself with respect.
- Meet your basic needs. This may seem obvious, but sometimes it’s not, and we all need to be reminded to take care of ourselves. I see that more clearly now looking back at the early days and sleepless nights of raising my daughters.
- Allow yourself to express yourself in the ways that you are gifted. Give yourself permission to write, draw, sing, work, run, dance, create, or do whatever helps you express your gifts whether or not someone else finds them valuable.
- Tend to your spiritual development and expression.
- Always talk positive to yourself. You can analyze yourself in a healthy way without critiquing or being negative, judgmental, and condemning.
- Figure out what your basic values are so that you can try to live your life consistent with that.
- Be humble. When we talked about what the definition of humble means to us, it was not the textbook version. It was doing things not because you are trying to earn accolades or praise, but doing something just because that is simply what you want to do. It’s being yourself without needing approval or acclaim from others.
- Have a voice and believe in it.
- Remember that how you feel is always valid. Trust yourself and your feelings.
- Love yourself for who you are right now! We are all a work in progress.
There is so much more to say on this topic, but this is a good start. This is a great list to print out or share with your friends. What would you add to the list? What do you think it takes to have healthy self-esteem and confidence? When you are feeling less than, how do you pick yourself up? How do you help your children develop healthy self-esteem and confidence?
*Thank you for your insightful words of wisdom, Patricia!