Do you remember when you were a kid and you did stuff, simply because you enjoyed it? You didn't worry if something you turned your hand to was going to turn out good, or make you a success, or if people would judge you? Sometimes you’d get the odd giggle or judgmental comment. But you managed to shrug them off, because you just did things because you enjoyed them, they made you happy!
But then, as we’d get older, the giggles and judgmental fodder thrown at us starts to stick.
We start questioning if we should bother? Will this go anywhere? Will people laugh at us and think we are stupid? Is this a waste of our time?
I think back to me and my sisters as kids. Firstly, we were always playing 'businesses'. We invented libraries and restaurants. We had a jewellery business, we made little bracelets from plastic beads, but that wasn't enough for us, we made a little catalogue to go along with it and we'd try and make sales to our parent’s friends when they came around. We also like choreographing bodybuilding shows and dance routines to entertain ourselves. It was amazing and fun, we never questioned if it was stupid. We love doing these things so we did them.
I remember my older sister, feeling restricted by her fashion wheel, designing loads of amazing outfits on her notepad and watching fashion shows and freely sharing her thoughts on designs and designers.
I remember my younger sister writing full on books at 7 years old, full of exciting adventures and proudly sharing them with us.
I remember writing songs on my keyboard, protest style songs. I remember singing about poor little spiders and cows to my sisters and people who came to our house. I remember designing workout routines inspired by ‘Mr Motivator’ and excitedly showing them to people.
We were always proud of the things we created, but somewhere along the line, we got quiet about it. We started worrying about what the world would think of us. I think we each spent quite a chunk of our late teens and 20’s, like so many other people, worrying about what others thought of us instead of living life for ourselves. When you stop doing the things you love and start living to what you believe others expectations are you start losing little pieces of yourself. We are always told we have a short time on this earth but it feels a massive slog when you’re not true to yourself.
It’s so important to start just doing things because we love doing them. I am not saying quit your job and start your own business, but honestly, if you loved drawing when you were a kid – start drawing again, If you loved writing – start writing again! Whatever it was, start doing it again because you enjoy it, do it for yourself without worrying if it’s good enough or what others will think of it!
It might turn into something amazing, it might turn into nothing or it might help you find pieces of yourself again.
These are 5 important strategies to start building your self esteem:
1. Make your own needs a priority.
We live in a world where people talk about how selfish people are. Yet most people put their own needs on the bottom of the pile. Ask yourself “What do you need?” I am not talking about the type of immediate gratification that comes with pouring yourself a nice whiskey. What fulfills you? What makes you happy? Where do you want to be in life? It isn’t selfish to take the steps to get closer to those things.
2. Challenge your own negative self-talk
Most of us are good people. Why is it then, that when we are alone in front of the mirror, we give voice to the cruelest of inner critics? Imagine if you said the things you said to yourself to a friend, imagine the look on their face, imagine how damaging saying those things would be to their self-esteem. Yet we do this to ourselves regularly throughout the day. STOP. Start to catch yourself doing it, start to question those things as if you were defending a friend from spiteful and harmful language.
3. Set Achievable goals.
Sometimes, if we have arrived at the point where we want to set goals for ourselves it is because we are eager for change. It can be very tempting to say "I want to be able to do 10 pull ups by the end of the month" but if you are currently struggling to do 1, is it achievable. When we set goals that are way out of reach it can diminish our self esteem when we do not reach them and damage our self trust.
4. Experience Success
Think about how we motivate children. If a toddler attempts walking for the first time, takes half a step, stumbles and falls down. Would you say “well that was rubbish, that wasn’t walking at all” or would you clap and encourage them with “yay, that was amazing, you walked, well done!”
Seek out situations and projects that stretch your abilities but don’t overwhelm them, situations where your probability of success is high. Then praise and celebrate your accomplishment, do not say “oh well, it was easy anyway”. Getting some ‘wins’ under your belt will help you to build up faith and trust in yourself. It’s a great way to get your motivation rolling.
5. Free yourself from the shoulda-coulda-wouldas
Seriously, don't get bogged down with what you could have done, it's done. Focus on what it taught you and how to apply it to now - do not use it as a stick to beat yourself with!!
A good amount of sleep is essential for good physical and mental health, but many of us struggle to get enough. Below are a few tips to help you get enough:
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It's quite natural to struggle with self belief in some way or another. It could be lack of belief in your own intelligence, your body image, your judgement, your own abilities... the list goes on.
One of the reasons we struggle with self belief is because the main thing our brain wants to do is to keep us alive, this can sometimes work against us, making us shy away from anything we don't perceive as having an 100 percent success rate.
I don't know if any of you have seen the film 'Home' (SPOILER ALERT If you haven't) Oh and the other Boovs run from anything they perceive as having less than a 100% success rate, until he meets a human girl and learns that you can succeed even if success looks minimal... honestly watch that film.. it's a cryer!
Anyway, self belief is like that, it seems illogical at times, our brain is trying to keep us safe, but it can be our downfall, if 'Oh' didn't have self belief planet earth would have been destroyed. It's that serious people!!!!
But how can we make ourselves believe in ourselves?
1) Learn to fail
That's right we need to learn to fail in order to succeed, or at least accept that failure is only a temporary part of the process. It's like those short stories you were told in assembly. There is a life lesson in there somewhere, pick it out polish it off and learn from it.
2) Set Realistic Goals
I have said this before and I will say it again, as well as setting realistic goals, set yourself up for small wins. Something you know you can achieve - It will do wonders for your self belief.
3) Acknowledge your accomplishments
Write them down - as many as possible!!!
4) Don't compare yourself to others.
It's impossible to fairly compare yourself anyway, we all have our struggles we all have things we are slaying, if your looking at social media you are only looking at someones best bits.
You may have seen the term ‘body shaming’ used on social media and you may have seen it being dismissed as ‘being woke’ or some people claim that shaming someone will help them to be ‘happier and healthier’. So let’s first look at what body shaming is.
What is Body shaming?
Body shaming is making negative comments about the appearance of someone else’s or your own body. For example, implying someone would look better or would feel better if they lost of gained weight or comparing your body to somebody else’s in a negative way (“My thighs are disgusting and huge compared to hers”. It can even show up when trying to comfort someone else when they are feeling insecure i.e “You look better than her, people don’t like skinny girls”
But what if body shaming will motivate me?
You may hear people say that while body shaming is not very nice, it will motivate people to reach their fitness goals or to become ‘healthy’.
Firstly, it’s none of your business to decide what is healthy for someone else. Secondly, Scientific studies have found that not only does body shaming not help motivate people, it does the absolute opposite!
A study found that fat shaming actually leads to further weight gain) Other studies showed exposure to weight-stigmatizing information made people feel less in control of their nutrition and a study in 2019 published in Pediatric Obesity found that children who were bullied about their bodies had increased weight gain well into adulthood.
"All of the evidence is that fat shaming just makes people feel worse. It lowers their self-esteem. It makes them feel depressed and anxious and as a result of that what they then do is self-destructive." Jane Ogden, a professor of health psychology at the University of Surrey.
Worse still body shaming can be extremely dangerous as it has also been linked to eating disorders and can be damaging to peoples mental health One in eight (13%) adults experienced suicidal thoughts or feelings because of concerns about their body image.
What can I do about Body shaming?
It can be difficult to tackle body shaming, because it is so normalised in society through magazines screeching that a celebrity has cellulite or even sitting around with family commenting about someone’s appearance on a reality TV show, some people will believe in it’s existence as much as they’d believe in the Easter bunny or worse some people deem it helpful. So how can we stop body shaming?
It’s been a weird year (and more) for EVERYONE and that’s putting it lightly. My business has near enough come to a standstill while I have tried to keep up with the ever changing covid rules.
So you’d think that having a good number of emails trickling in this week enquiring about personal training sessions would leave me feeling super excited, right? I mean, I absolutely love working with women and seeing them realise what they are capable of. But my honest reaction to receiving these emails was utter panic.
You see, I've gained quite a bit of weight during the pandemic, which, for the first time in my life I was absolutely fine with. My body changes sometimes and my body is just my body. It doesn’t define how good I am as a person, it doesn’t change the fact that I am a great personal trainer.
However, the prospect of meeting new clients brought about feelings that I thought I'd put to bed, I read these emails and sat there panicking that they will think I'm a shit personal trainer because I'm overweight, that I won’t know what I am doing, that my years of training and experience will mean nothing. This then added another layer of guilt, I am a body positive personal trainer, I teach women to be body positive and I’m currently feel slightly negative about my own body. I'm fighting a huge dose of imposter syndrome.
Then I saw a post from Molly Galbraith in ‘GGS Coaching and training women’ detailing her experiences in the fitness industry, the post contained a picture that said
“If you want to be a personal trainer or coach – PLEASE do not let the size and shape of your body hold you back from pursuing your dream. Your body size and shape says nothing about your knowledge, skill or coaching ability”.
It popped up when I needed it most and there were other personal trainers talking about how they felt the same way I did.
I have realized we are all human, body positivity is a work in progress for us all and we have to keep at it. But most of all be open and honest, don’t be ashamed of how you feel, because I guarantee you that others can definitely relate!
A good amount of sleep is essential for good physical and mental health, but many of us struggle to get enough. Below are a few tips to help you get enough:
Stop comparing yourself to others.
Do you ever have these random nagging feelings that everyone else has life figured out and you don’t? That everyone has a better job than you, they always look great and you don’t, that they are having more fun in life than you? These ‘random nagging feelings’ aren’t as random as we think. There is a good chance that they have popped up after you’ve chatted to your parents about how their best friend’s kid has just got the best job and bought them some amazing gift or that you have been scrolling through social media and comparing everyone’s ‘Best bits show reel’ to your boring every day. You may have even be taught to compare yourself to others to make you more competitive and motivate you. But constantly comparing yourself really doesn’t work.
Why comparing ourselves doesn’t work.
As already highlighted when you compare yourself to what someone else chooses to share with the world you are usually sharing your weaknesses with their strengths, not many people are out there on Instagram sharing their nitty gritty. That’s obviously going to make you feel that you aren’t doing great. What does that do to your mood? Does it put you in a great ‘go getter’ mood? No, it makes you feel like shit and looking for a quick way to change that mood (e.g. buy something, eat something whatever). Even if the situation occurs where you come off better in the comparison, it is only a short term boost to your ego, the feeling of “At least I am doing better than Miss Jones” can easily be crushed when Miss Jones updates her status to say she has a fabulous new job, leaving you feeling even worse than before (“Oh great, even Miss Jones is doing better than me now”). This will lead you to resent any success that Miss Jones or anyone else in your life has. This will only serve to stunt your personal growth, because when we cheer others on, they cheer us on in return.
Ways to stop comparing yourself to others:
Noticing that you are doing it is the first step. Maybe you’re scrolling through social media and you think “why am I not doing that” or “why do I not look like that”. Just notice it. You are comparing yourself and you know it isn’t good for you.
Discover your triggers when you start noticing that you are comparing yourself with others, ask what has made you do that, is it a certain person? A certain situation? A certain page on social media? Start to research yourself, keep a notebook, list when you have found yourself comparing yourself to others, what made you do that, how the thing that triggered you made you feel negative and why feeling that way is a waste of your time.
Redecorate your surroundings I don’t mean paint your living room here. But address those triggers! A page on social media pushes you to compare – click unfollow! Same with people on friends lists. If someone in your life triggers you to compare yourself, that’s where it becomes a bit more difficult. Attempt to let them know how it affects you.
Be OK with who and where you are right now We are not rolling the end credits right now, this is not the end of your journey, you can have goals and still be grateful for who and where you are.
Practice gratitude keeping a gratitude journal can really ground you and make you aware of just how important you are to the world and the people around you.
This Is me:
I’m Emma, I train women (Offline and Online) who may struggle with their confidence and self esteem. I believe that women need more options that suit different lifestyles and needs, some of us don't have time to stick to a rigid plan, some people are to scared to even set foot in a gym (I have been there).