Ever feel you’re not sure who you are or where you’re going or perhaps you look in the mirror and wonder “who is that woman?” I have.
Twenty years ago when I was single and in the Navy, I had a very clear vision of who I was and where I was going even down to what I’d be wearing as I was going there!
Roll forward through leaving the Navy, marriage, children, job changes, location changes and all of a sudden, I felt totally disconnected from “me”. Yes, I had lots of titles, Mrs James (still look for my Mother-in-Law), Mum, Change Manager, Chief Cook and Bottle-washer and so on but no idea who I was anymore.
Losing sight of ourselves tends to happen quietly, almost insidiously, over time and can impact in a variety of ways, 3 specific ones are:
1. Erosion of our confidence
This decrease in confidence can then impact in a number of ways across our lives such as work and what we believe we’re capable of, relationships and how we should be treated, friendships, can we make new friends? One specific area I noticed was my ability to make decisions. I became aware that I had gone from having the confidence to make decisions and dealing with the consequences to doubting my decision making ability.
2. Reduces our self-esteem/self-worth
This reduction of confidence goes hand in hand with decreasing self esteem and self worth and is a vicious cycle pretty much guaranteed to make you feel bad about yourself.
3. Find ourselves existing, just getting through each day with no focus on the future
Doing all the things which needed to be done and probably a lot of what we think “should” be done. Yes, it’s all done with fabulously good intention, wanting it to be lovely for everyone and keeping up the perception that all is well. It can feel like you’re spinning plates for everyone and adding in a few extras for good measure.
So, how can we “find ourselves” and what are the benefits?
1. Learn to listen to your inner voice
What beliefs are you telling yourself about who you are and what you can or can’t do? How can you change these beliefs to help you to be who and what you want to be?
2. Understand your values
Spend time learning what your values are and set ambitions and goals which are in alignment with these.
3. Spend time with people who make you feel good
If there’s a friend you haven’t caught up with in a while, pick up the phone, set up a coffee date, lunch or girls weekend!
4. Allow yourself time each day to do one thing for you.
It can be as simple as a cup of tea in the sunshine or something more extravagant, just make sure it’s for you!
So, if we do all that, what do we get?
That’s blooming marvellous but what does it mean more specifically? From experience, both my own and the lovely ladies I’ve had the pleasure of working with, I’ve found knowing clearly who you are:
1. Increases confidence
Being more in touch with our values and beliefs and being clear on our goals and ambitions increases our confidence and our ability to take on new challenges.
2. Increases self-esteem / self-worth
Increasing our confidence and being clear on who we are and what we want builds our self esteem and feeling of self worth and helps us to stop worrying about what others may be thinking.
3. Increases life satisfaction and overall happiness
Having a clear vision of who we are and what we want from life is really helpful in helping us build the life we want and being able to appreciate it as we go.
As a final word, yes, of course we may have to consider the others in our lives, none of us Iive in an isolation bubble but I believe that by understanding ourselves, our values and our needs better, we can improve the relationships with those around us, so it’s beneficial for everyone! And it might even inspire them to reconnect with themselves too!