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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Believe in Yourself!



Photo by: travisfitzwater

As I sit here writing, I'm fighting tooth and nail to believe in myself; hence the article. You see, it's one thing to tell others your plans and sound totally confident about them, but it's another to actually believe you can accomplish them yourself. With the start of the new year, I'm feeling the pressure to make something of myself, be different, and to just simply make my dreams work.
 
Who knew it could be this hard?
 
Just last night I found myself in tears, wondering what on Earth I'd become. Would I be an epic failure? Would I simply disappear into cyber oblivion with no one to share my thoughts with? Those thoughts danced in my head for a full day. They were crippling, unnerving.

I must admit it has popped into my head a few times today but at least now I'm aware of its presence and can fight back.

When my husband arrived home from work, on that tear filled night, he was more than sympathetic to my plight. In fact, instead of agreeing with my "short comings," he began listing all the things I'd already done; all the milestones I'd hit at the ripe age of twenty-four. As he tried to sooth me, I really didn't care to hear it because to me, I was still an epic failure.

But today as I pondered my situation something occurred to me . . .

If everyone believes in you, you sure better believe in yourself!

As women, we're ridiculously hard on ourselves. Even if we're skinny, beautiful, well-liked, successful, or outgoing, there's the tendency to find a fluke; some small flaw that cancels out every great thing people say or think about us.

Sort of like:

"You're so funny!"

Our response: "Thanks, I'm only funny when I'm not trying."

I'm the perfect example of this. (That was actually one of my responses). Every time I set out to do something, I allow fear to take over. Inevitably when this happens, instead of taking five steps forward and diving in, I end up taking a huge leap backward; slowly creeping my way forward towards the goal.

It's quite sickening actually.

Why is it so easy to set our minds to something only to persuade ourselves that we're not good enough to accomplish it? I can't tell you how many things I've started and then left unfinished because I psyched myself out.

This year no more doubting ourselves! We've already dreamed, now it's time to believe!

I know it's the time for "New Years" resolutions, but frankly I don't believe in them. They bring too much pressure and are mostly just restricting. I'm not into the whole, "This year I'm going on a diet," spiel. Really? Everyone knows diets don't work. Overall change comes from a lifestyle adjustment. Instead of making resolutions, I make a list of things I would like to do and go from there. You see, by making it something you would like to do instead of a "New Year's" goal, you don't feel disappointed if you cant make it happen. Since this year is about believing in ourselves, I want you to take a minute and write down the things you'd like to do.

I'll wait . . .

Now that you have it completed, put it in a place where you will see it daily but still allows for privacy. (Maybe your closet. I mean you do have to get dressed everyday). This list is for you, so don't show it to anyone. (Unless you feel like you absolutely have to). This is not one of those go around the dinner table and share your goals for the year lists. No, this is your own personal list of deep life changing things.

Side note: If you find you have to share it with someone, chose a close friend, sibling, or parent. Before you even share, prep them for the conversation by asking them to hold you accountable to your list; to be your advocate in believing in yourself and your plans. When they agree, then proceed with the list but the understanding must be that they gently keep you on the right track. Not make condescending remarks. You know the people who know you're trying to eat healthier but have the nerve to say, "Thought you were trying to get healthier, stuffing your face with that donut sure won't help." Yeah, don't share your list with that person.

Now that you've made your list, here are some practical ways to make the items on it happen and to believe in yourself on a daily basis:

1. Review your wants daily.

2. Concentrate on one item at a time. (Maybe even assign months that you would like to have completed it by).

3. Google a list of inspirational quotes or scriptures, write them on sticky notes, and read them to yourself when you start to doubt your abilities.

(Two of my favorites: "We never know how good we are until we are called to rise. -Emily Dickinson

"Blessed is she who believes the promises to her. -Luke 1:45)

4. Surround yourself with people who drive you to be better.

5. Embrace resources and wisdom from others.

6. Be aware of the thoughts that float in your mind. (This sounds weird but it works). When a negative thought comes to mind, reflect on your sticky notes and say them aloud (or in your head) until the taunting stops.

7. Have the confidence to protect your dream. No one will do it for you!