The transition to motherhood is often quite hard for many women, and when you couple in other lifestyle choices such as pursuing a career, starting a business or a course, things can get quite challenging. As we develop stories of who we are, what we are capable of, and how we translate this into our everyday habits, we may find ourselves facing a myriad of self-esteem problems if we're not careful. In today’s blog post I will be discussing how the way you see yourself is important for your day-to-day choices and sharing tips on how you can improve your thoughts around your own sense of self.
As we go through life we tend to collect a closet of insecurities filled with mistakes, embarrassments, self-limiting beliefs, unhelpful opinions, and even compare ourselves to other people’s highlights. If allowed to pile up, our lack of hope in life can cause us to have a ridged viewpoint of ourselves, and we often find ourselves settling for lifestyles we didn’t initially want.
The self-image you set for yourself is important as it ties into the expectations you have for yourself in life. A negative self-image can lead to a lack of confidence, tenacity, and leadership. You may find yourself avoiding things altogether, limiting your options in whatever journey you are on. I’ve previously written a piece on the different internal barriers mums may face, but below I have detailed two key exercises that I believe will help anyone struggling with self-image.
Affirmations – Think of someone you admire, this can be a celebrity or someone you know personally, and pick out qualities of that person that stand out to you. Then make it a habit to repeat these qualities to yourself in front of a mirror, prefixed with the phrase “I am.” I am fit, I am a fun mum, I am a good team leader etc etc. A 2020 study demonstrated that self-affirmation can have a positive effect on one’s self-view, and help control any hindering behaviour (1).
Journaling – Every day we live through dozens of events, making it difficult for our brains to reminiscence everything on cue. And naturally, it’s the negative experiences we tend to hold on to, which in effect create a critical story of who we are. But regularly capturing positive experiences and events for you to later recall is also an excellent way to boost self-esteem. A 2015 study showed that positive memories can have a positive effect on self-esteem, as well as maintain and elevate positive emotions (2). Journaling any failures you experience is also an opportunity to learn more about yourself or even the environment you participated in, so when these also come by, try not to let them anchor you down.
You can even name this journal or folder something encouraging like “the sunshine book” and if ever you are feeling doubtful about yourself, you can reflect back on your positive outcomes and regain a more secure hold on who you are.
Having a healthy sense of self doesn’t mean that you think you are better than anyone else or being delusional in your abilities, it’s about having a faith in who you are and recognising how your personal qualities can help shape the life that you desire. And the only way of finding this out is to stick your neck out and experiment.
There’s nothing wrong with owning your weaknesses, everybody has them, but equally speaking there’s nothing wrong with celebrating yourself. How you see yourself comes from the stories that you believe about yourself and the ones you keep telling yourself over and over.