How strong is your sense of self? Do you find it easy to understand, communicate and adhere to the unique traits that make you YOU? Or do you struggle to express those characteristics? Do you find that certain aspects of you – such as beliefs, likes and dislikes, and moral code – are not solid?
If you’re like many of my clients, you might act in ways occasionally that go against how you really think and feel. Perhaps you feel really strongly that you will never date someone who drinks every night. But then you meet a nice man who happens to drink every night, and you decide to give him a shot. Or you don’t really know anymore what you like to do for fun. Or you have mixed emotions about a financial decision and defer to your family to decide for you.
When your sense of self is even slightly shaky, it’s hard for you to live with a great sense of self-confidence and self-esteem. It’s hard for you to say no to the wrong men, to pursue fun goals, and to make decisions quickly and confidently. I get it. And one of the main reasons women work with me is to build their confidence.
Try these strategies to help clarify your sense of self:
- Write a list of ALL your values in detail. If you have a hard time coming up with a long list, think of people or characters/leaders/celebrities you admire, and write down their values that appeal to you. Maybe you value love, loyalty, and curiosity above all else. Or any combination of 100 other values. Once you have a list of the values that are MOST important to you, you have a rudimentary blueprint for your own confident sense of self. Now that you’re aware of your core values, pay attention to how you live your values every day and where you fall short. When making decisions or setting intentions, ask yourself if they are aligned with your values?
- Determine to make your choices, not those of others. The decisions you make should mainly benefit you and your health. If you have a spouse or kids, their needs also come into the picture. But that does not mean you should neglect YOU while taking care of others. Take time to focus on yourself without any distractions. Choose the activities that you enjoy and are in line with your values. In the past, you might’ve allowed others to decide for you. Perhaps you wanted a different career path or a different partner. But you don’t have to do that now. It’s time to take control of your life.
- Set healthy boundaries. Boundaries place limits on things that need your energy. They also help you manage your time. These resources are precious, but they don’t last forever. So, it’s essential to set and maintain your boundaries. You are the only one who can protect your sense of self. It requires an honest assessment of how you spend your time and energy. A person who sets healthy boundaries places importance on themselves. It causes them to respect themselves more and feel better about it. Healthy boundaries also help a person to sense their wants and desires. This self-awareness leads to enhanced self-confidence. When you achieve this, you are less likely to let others control your life.
- Use affirmations and practice positive self-talk. Affirmations are positive statements that you repeat to yourself several times each day. The overall goal is to be more positive. That’s what will lead you to a stronger sense of self.
If you believe it’s time to get in touch with your identity – to connect with your sense of self – the first step is to give me a call. Together we can dig deep and rediscover, or maybe discover for the first time, who you are!
To read more about my work counseling women like you, check this out.