Are you basing your self worth on whether someone likes you? If you are, this can become a slippery slope to low self confidence and low self esteem. Not knowing how to develop self confidence leads to inconsistent behaviours, sending out mixed messages to others and not being clear on what exactly it is that you want. Because all your energy and focus is on other people. So you’re never really sure about what you really want and need in order to feel happy, successful and fulfilled. It’s a painful and uncertain way to be in the world and negatively impacts all areas of your life – your personal life, your relationships and your career.
Knowing How To Develop Self Confidence Is A Game Changer
Learning how to develop self confidence when it’s not your strong point, is a total game changer in your relationships and life. Particularly if you’re someone who is highly sensitive to whether someone else likes you or not. Being overly sensitive to other people liking you often stems from not getting enough positive, valuing experiences growing up. Regular day to day experiences of positive validation, encouragement and recognition for just who you are, regardless of what you do or achieve, are the building blocks to healthy self confidence and esteem. It’s not getting enough of these positive validating experiences growing up that can lead to feeling insubstantial as a person. When you don’t feel solid and secure in your own right, it’s hard to fully immerse yourself in the present, because a part of you almost feels like you don’t really exist in the minds of other people. You don’t have a sense of your own agency. You don’t fully believe that what you do has a positive meaningful impact in the world. You’re almost apologising for your very existence by being constantly tuned in to everyone else’s needs and feelings except your own. Because growing up you worked out that that’s what got you love, approval and validation. But it’s based on a false sense of self.
Having a high sensitivity to what other people feel or think about you also comes from being around critical, judgmental or self-absorbed people growing up. When you’re younger you don’t have the capacity or life experience to understand where adults are coming from when they’re negative, critical or emotionally unavailable. Kids tend to take on the burden of this, interpreting it as having done something wrong, or not being good enough or worthy enough to be loved unconditionally. They don’t feel they have a right to be who they naturally are.
This is not about blaming parents or people from your past.
It’s about becoming more self-aware. Learning how to rebuild your confidence and self-worth.
When Perfectionism And People Pleasing Compensate For Low Self-Confidence: Case Study
Bianca (*not her real name) had just turned 30 and was constantly getting into a confused muddle when it came to dating. She would date someone for a few months and then get frustrated when the guy she was dating wasn’t responding at the pace and speed that she wanted. Being able to just stay in the present was almost impossible for her. There was constant anxiety around needing to know whether the guy she was dating really liked her. The more she liked a guy, the more she had a deep seated fear and belief that the relationship wouldn’t last. That he would lose interest in her and look for someone else. Someone who was sexier, more attractive, more desirable, [more …]. The negative comparison list went on and on in her head and eventually became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Guys eventually tired of Bianca’s mixed messages and vibes. One minute she appeared confident and together, only to then slip back into negative and self-defeating patterns and beliefs that sabotaged the relationship. Bianca just couldn’t relax and wait and see how things developed.
Rejection by guys would then send Bianca into a total tailspin. Her worst fears had yet again become realized. Her self esteem would plummet and it would take her months to regain her confidence and start to feel good about herself. Technically gifted in her chosen field of work, Bianca had wanted to progress to a team leader role to broaden her skills and career options. But the feedback she’d received was that the company wasn’t prepared to put her into the leadership talent pool until she sorted out the issues in her personal life which were impacting her performance and potentially derailing her career. Bianca’s manager knew she had the potential to achieve a lot more, so encouraged Bianca to sort out her personal life so that she could progress in her career.
When we looked at what was behind Bianca’s anxiety around dating and how she approached most of her life, it was around perfectionism and constantly needing approval from others. Never feeling good enough or worthy enough in her own right as a child, Bianca had become the ‘good girl’ at home and at school. Both parents were struggling with issues in their relationship whilst Bianca was growing up and were often preoccupied. So Bianca discovered that focusing on everyone else’s needs, being perfect and always doing well at school is what got her the positive attention she craved. It made her feel liked. But these feelings never lasted and were fleeting at best because they were based on Bianca developing a false sense of self, shaped mostly around perfectionism and other people’s needs and agendas.
How To Develop Self Confidence:
Self Acceptance, Self Empathy And Self Love
At first, learning to just focus on her own wants, needs and vulnerabilities seemed like a Herculean effort to Bianca. She had spent most of her life looking outwards, not inwards. Insight-oriented psychotherapy helped Bianca understand the forces that had shaped her and why deep down she felt so anxious and insecure. It was about getting to know and fully embrace who she really was and what she wanted. Bianca hadn’t felt entitled to receive love and acceptance for just being her, outside of her academic achievements and people pleasing. She’d grown up with a faulty belief that she wasn’t worthy or good enough to have someone in her life that would love her for who she was. It was realizing that she didn’t have to keep striving to be perfect. In her dating life her perfectionism and lack of self confidence was driving guys away.
Self confidence comes from quietly knowing deep down inside that you’re good enough just as you are. It’s being confident in your abilities and okay with your vulnerabilities. Realizing that being vulnerable and not perfect is a normal part of being human. It’s also about getting enough positive real time experiences where you feel valued. Knowing that what you say and do counts. That your feelings and needs matter. It’s also about being able to give other people permission to be who they really are. Accepting that they are allowed to say “No” to you, just as you’re able to say “No” to them. And that “No” doesn’t mean that you’re defective in some way or unworthy of being loved.
Bianca had to learn how to develop self confidence by not personalising someone else’s choice and right to say “No”. Accepting that it was okay to give herself and others permission to be who they are and not try and constantly control situations and outcomes. To let things move along at a pace that felt healthy and safe for both parties, which then started to free things up. Trusting that she would be okay regardless of whether it worked out or not with the guy she was dating was a huge mindset shift.
Discovering How To Build Self Confidence Made The Guys Bianca Dated Feel More Comfortable Around Her
The guys Bianca dated stopped feeling pushed around by her emotional insecurities and constant need for certainty that things would progress to the next level after only a few dates. Bianca is now into her second year of dating the same guy. A first for her. That’s because Bianca took the time to learn more about herself and how to develop self confidence that endured. She became more self-aware around her strengths, vulnerabilities and the beliefs and behaviours that kept tripping her up and impacting her present. Bianca has developed a new level of confidence that’s far more solid and real. Her self confidence is no longer precariously based on perfectionism and a constant need to be liked.
* All identifying features have been removed from this article to protect the privacy of my client.
Janelle Legge is a Psychotherapist, Leadership, Mindfulness and Wellbeing Consultant and Coach who specialises in Relationships, Career Success, Work-Life Integration and Wellbeing. Janelle sees clients in person in Sydney and works with clients around the world via Skype. To book a skype session with Janelle click here.
What’s happened to the right to say “No” and set your own personal boundaries in life? Lately there have been some articles in the media on the negative cognitive and emotional responses to being unfriended on Facebook. But sometimes being told “No” is exactly what you need to hear to snap out of an addictive trance, or those toxic relationships or obsessions that just aren’t good for you.
Okay, so people don’t like being unfriended on Facebook by people they know and like. It’s bound to bring up old hurts and wounds around being excluded from the cool group at school, or being dumped by your best friend growing up. It’s not a great feeling being cyber dumped by someone you thought was your ‘friend’. It can trigger all those negative self-defeating thoughts like “I’m not good enough, cool enough, interesting enough, beautiful enough”, you know the ones. Leaving you feeling rejected and snubbed.
It’s astounding the amount of toxic self talk and feelings of low self esteem that can get triggered when someone says “No” to you – when you’re basing your self worth on external sources of validation.
Which is what’s going on if you’re being negatively impacted by someone unfriending you on Facebook. For children and teenagers, being excluded from groups is a bigger deal. Particularly if they’re shy or more reserved in nature and don’t have loads of friends. For younger people being unfriended on Facebook and other social media can really hurt.
There’s a lot of financial gain tied up in Facebook. So we’re all being constantly told how important our Facebook ‘identity’ is, and how integral it is to our personal identity. Of course that’s what the people who are making vast amounts of money from Facebook want everyone to believe. And if you’ve grown up using an iPad since you were 6 years old then your experience of Facebook is clearly going to be different to people who didn’t grow up with social media.
But at the end of the day, switch off your laptop or mobile device and Facebook no longer exists.
If you’re being negatively impacted when someone you know unfriends you on Facebook, here’s what you can do to detox from social media overkill, see things from a different perspective and get on with your life:
Image by Tim Gouw
5 Ways To Get Over Being Unfriended On Facebook
- If you’re upset over being unfriended on Facebook the first thing you need to do is step away from all of your devices and give yourself a 24 hour social media cooling off period. Go and talk about it with a friend – in person – to get some empathy for the parts of you that are feeling rejected and hurt. If you have children or teenagers, you need to give them emotional and constructive support if they’re being cyber bullied or excluded from groups on social media, or unfriended by someone they felt close to.
- Give other people permission to say “No” to you. Giving other people permission to choose who they hang out with on Facebook and in real life gives you the same rights. It makes it an even playing field. You too have the right to unfriend or block anyone, for whatever reason. Unfriending on Facebook often comes down to someone posting content that’s repetitive, inappropriate, or because of something that’s happened outside of Facebook. These days lots of people annually cull the number of friends they have on Facebook to keep their connections personally relevant. Most adults are now over the whole ‘numbers to impress’ game when it comes to their personal Facebook account.
- Take a look at how much time you’re spending on Facebook each day. Are you being sucked down cyber rabbit holes for hours and days on end? If you are, then it’s time to take a break from virtual cyberspace and get back into the real physical world and spend quality face-to-face time with your other friends.
- If someone’s unfriended you because you’ve developed an unhealthy obsession with them, this is a red flag alert. You need to switch off your computer and mobile devices and let go of the fantasy and addictive patterns you’ve developed around this person and Facebook. It’s high time you put your energy and imagination into building healthier relationships that are real and mutual.
- Seek validation from more trustworthy, less fickle sources. Facebook and other forms of social media rely on the fact that most people adopt a herd mentality in groups and unconsciously follow the rest of the pack. There’s a lot of copycat, “me too” group dynamics going on. Yet Hollywood shows us again and again that relying heavily on external, fickle sources for validation to feel worthy as a person and good about yourself can be dangerous and fleeting. Go for substance and credible, trusted sources for validation and honest feedback.
Rejection or “No” gets your attention. It stops you in your tracks and forces you to re-evaluate a whole range of things. Your beliefs, behaviours and expectations around what you want out of life and your friendships. If being told “No” totally devastates you, then there are issues around self esteem that need to be healed. Disappointment and pain are valuable opportunities to learn about yourself and grow.
Don’t get me wrong, Facebook is a fantastic social networking and friendship building tool. But when you lose all perspective and see it as an extension of your self worth and likeability for who you really are, then you’re bound to get disappointed and tripped up by the aspects of Facebook that are just not that credible or real.
When one door closes, other doors open. That’s how life works. Nature abhors a vacuum. Rejection when taken on board with self-awareness is a powerful catalyst for personal growth and positive change.
Being unfriended on Facebook can be a good opportunity to declutter your friend space and create room for friendships of more substance to enter into your life. It can also get you to view Facebook from a more balanced and objective perspective and not let it dominate your life.
Title image by Luis Llerena
Ready to raise your self confidence and self image so that you can get better results and be the best version of yourself? If you’re feeling stuck and scattered, guessing at what you should try next and working way too hard for uninspiring rewards, it’s time to do some game-changing moves.
Because most likely there’s a major disconnect going on between your current self image and who you’re aspiring to be. And anyone who’s ever dared to dream big and aim for more than what they’ve got has experienced at some stage the frustration of knowing you’re destined for bigger things, but not having the right map and guidance to help you evolve into the best version of yourself.
To shift this, because you do deserve better, add these 3 key foundational skills to your daily regime and then watch things start to transform in tangible ways:
3 Steps To A Positive Self Image
Image by Eli De Faria
1. Give yourself diverse and positive experiences regularly
It’s the quality of your environment, thinking, and experiences that powerfully influences and shapes your self image – and how your brain gets wired every single day.
Why? Because your brain is an organ of adaptation that’s built by experience – with 70% of it’s structure being added after birth. This highlights the importance of being in nurturing, validating, and experience-rich environments from the moment we’re born and throughout our entire life. That’s if you want to have healthy self-esteem, reach your highest potential, and live a meaningful, rich, and rewarding life.
So always be open to new experiences and do what inspires you. Your brain, your self image, and your self confidence will thrive.
2. Cultivate quality relationships
Neurons and humans are social entities. This means your brain is continuously being influenced and wired by who you spend the most time with. And it thrives on meaningful social interactions. So be selective. Surround yourself with optimistic, self-aware, interesting people. Limit your exposure to toxic people that drain your energy – the ones who trigger you into self-doubt, feeling bad about yourself, or less-than. Cut them loose.
Avoid discussing your life/career/biz aspirations with anyone who doesn’t support or ‘get’ you, or your goals. Their negativity, envy, doubt, or unresolved issues around not having pursued their own goals will impact you on subtle, or not so subtle levels. All of a sudden you’ll find yourself second-guessing your dreams and goals.
3. Seek out mentors
Nothing will accelerate you taking quantum leaps in any area of your life faster than hanging out with people who are already where you want to be. It will powerfully shift how you’re seeing yourself, your life and what’s possible. That’s because of the power of mirror neurons in your brain that bridge your sensory, motor and emotional circuitry.
When you spend time with successful people that you admire, your mirror neurons get powerfully activated. Everything that you’re taking in when you hang out with them – from their mindset and behaviours to their more subconscious attitudes and beliefs around things like wealth, abundance and how to go about achieving success – is triggering corresponding motor and emotional activations in your brain and body via your mirror neurons. How cool is that. It’s the closest thing you’ll ever get to an instant download for how to become the person you want to be. The best version of yourself.
© 2015 Janelle Legge
Title image by Rocksana Rocksana
Do your personal boundaries need some love and attention? Clear boundaries are essential to getting your needs met and being able to create a life that you love.
When you’re not clear on your boundaries then you don’t draw a line in the sand that lets other people know what’s ok and what’s not ok for you. Instead, you’re too focused on pleasing everyone else.
Unclear boundaries leave you feeling frustrated and disappointed with your relationships and life, and vulnerable to other people’s power plays.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
3 Most Common Causes Of Weak Boundaries
1. You have a deep need to be loved and liked
This is one of the most common wounds for women. If you have this core need then you were taught from an early age that the easiest way to get love and approval was to be a good girl and put other’s needs before your own.
These experiences shape your subconscious beliefs around how to get love and approval. When this is one of your primary subconscious default programs, you find yourself automatically putting other people’s wants and needs above your own.
2. You’re fearful of conflict
Our ability and comfort levels for dealing, or not dealing with, conflict are shaped during childhood. If you’re afraid of conflict you may have grown up around reactive hot-heads, or passive-aggressive-avoidant communication styles. You made a decision to avoid conflict at all costs because you experienced first-hand the pain and negative outcomes that come with these styles of relating.
But there’s a cost to this. You don’t have a voice and you don’t put your own ideas forward because you’re afraid to rock the boat, or set limits with others, in case they disagree or get angry with you.
3. Your Self-esteem and Self-worth are based on other people’s opinions
This is one of the most debilitating and damaging subconscious beliefs women can struggle with. It leads to the ‘false self’ syndrome and keeps your authentic Self undeveloped and fragile. If you’re constantly scanning your external environment for feedback and validation so you can feel ok about yourself and of value, then it’s difficult to create the boundaries that come with a strong core self.
This leaves you vulnerable because the minute you encounter rejection, criticism or a lack of validation, your self-esteem falls in a heap.
If you don’t know who you are, what you want, and what you stand for – the essential building blocks of boundary setting – you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to other people’s agendas.
If you’re wanting stronger boundaries and can relate to 1 or maybe all 3 of these areas, then that’s good news. Because now you can make new choices. Pick one thing that you can start focusing on from today to strengthen your boundaries. If this feels too hard to do on your own, find a professional who can help you identify your boundary blind spots and change them so you can have the life and relationships you deserve.
Janelle Legge is a Psychotherapist, Leadership, Mindfulness and Wellbeing Consultant and Coach who specialises in Relationships, Career Success, Work-Life Integration and Wellbeing. Janelle has a limited number of spaces available each month for in person consults in Sydney. For enquiries including fees and scheduling, click here and Janelle will be happy to answer all your questions. You do not need a referral from your Doctor to book an appointment with Janelle.
Janelle also works with clients around the world via Skype. To book a skype session with Janelle click here.