As I opened my eyes one morning in my new apartment, confronted by these strange surroundings, I was hit with the question, “who am I now?”
I never wanted this version of life. I had a dream that now no longer existed, leaving me disoriented, unsettled, and insecure.
Getting your self-confidence back
I realized that so much of my identity was tied to my external life of being a wife, a parent, the routine I had created, and the people I was sharing life with. Since circumstances can change drastically so, the answer to re-discovering my confidence had to come from within myself.
What are my values?
The first question I had to answer in this re-discovery of becoming myself was, “what are my values?”
We all want to fit in and belong in this life. Usually, what happens when we feel awkward and out of place is that we attempt to fix the situation by trying harder to fit in. This usually leaves us feeling even more insecure, sometimes questioning what we said, how we said it, and how we acted.
In this case, we only work overtime to be someone who we are not. Instead, we can examine our value system and does it have room to breathe in this situation.
Our values represent our ethics, ideals, expectations, morals, and principles. They can be amazing guidelines to re-align our actions and help decide how we want to show up in a situation and what we want to contribute, or not, with confidence. Knowing our values allows us to know ourselves and, as a result, feel authentic and confident.
With this recovered sense of who I am, the next step was to implement boundaries that reflect my true self. Rather than molding ourselves to a situation, we need to take inventory of how much we actually want to share of ourselves, how much time we like to spend in certain settings, and what our personal ideas of fun and positive social interactions are.
I had to remember that my boundary system is created by me, enforced by me and that I get to adjust it for my sake, making small changes along the way. For example, if I really would like to speak up a little more often, I get to make small efforts in that direction. I am doing this for me, not for others, and that grows confidence.
Shipt your self-critical attitude
Finally, life is hard enough, especially during a time of transition. I had to shift from a self-critical attitude to being my own kind and supportive parent. When we tell ourselves that we are a failure, awkward, or should be doing better, we become our own personal bully, which has never inspired growth or confidence.
We can support ourselves by being honest about the areas that deserve personal growth while being patient, allowing for small steps, and celebrating those small steps. This practice of introspection leads to feeling more secure and eventually to feeling more confident.
To test this point, we can try and think of an occasion when we felt inspired by being pressured, yelled at, or belittled versus a time when we felt inspired to make changes because someone encouraged us. Rather than taking an abusive stance, we can choose to be encouraging while accountable. Practicing this combo has allowed me to recover not only my confidence but also pride in my progress, however gradual at times.
Having to look in the mirror and realize that only I can be the one who works on my recovery of self can be a tough pill to swallow. But it is also good news since I am in charge of swallowing that pill.
There is a way to recover our true identity afterlife was turned upside down, and it is becoming more aware and in tune with ourselves. When we know who we are, by discovering and encouraging our own values and boundaries, we can work on leaning into these, and showing them to the world, if we choose to do so.
If we choose to make changes because they actually reflect our values and boundary system, we feel authentic, and this leads to confidence.