Because the future of female-kind is at stake.
“Learning to love yourself, It is the greatest love of all” – Whitney Houston, Greatest Love of All
Learning to love yourself as the imperfect being you are sometimes ain’t easy to do, but do it we must for the sake of healthy personal relationships and our ability to make smart, healthy choices.
After all, if you can’t love and respect yourself, how can you expect others to do it?
And I’m not talking about vanity or narcissism, I’m talking about the kind of self-love that spurs you to make healthy life choices and treat yourself with loving kindness. Experts say developing a healthy level of self-esteem will help us to be less sensitive and more able to accept constructive criticism, express ideas in a calm way, be less dependent and more likely to have our needs met.
We’ll also inevitably be much healthier, happier humans, thus improving and strengthening our personal relationships. Maybe it’s a hard life lesson that comes in your 30s – at least, it was for me.
The minute I truly learned to be comfortable in my own skin and accept and enjoy my singleton status, I met my husband soon after.
Coincidence? I don’t think so. But it was a hard-fought lesson; instead of looking for someone to fill a void – a self-love deficit, if you will, as I had done in the past – I made the conscious decision to really work on developing my inner happiness and self-love on my solo journey.
A clinical psychologist, who wishes to remain anonymous, says our level of self-love is inevitably shaped by childhood upbringing and experiences, as well as personality traits.
“Life can be difficult for someone who has low self-esteem, for example: someone who doesn’t like him/her self, judges him/herself harshly and expects bad things to happen often. Expectations of negativity can be self-fulfilling, so if you anticipate that there will be lots of criticism and stuff-ups in your life, then these things will often happen. You’ll question your own judgement and will consequently make poor decisions that lead to negative outcomes,” she says.
“Conversely, if you have a healthy level of self-esteem, you’ll be able to face the challenges and difficulties that life throws at you in a positive way. You’ll have more faith in your own choices and decisions. You’ll be able to assertively stand up for your rights without being aggressive and without allowing yourself to be taken advantage of or pushed around. You’ll feel comfortable with who you are and like yourself, so you’ll be less susceptible to depression and anxiety.”
But how do we foster such self-love and inner confidence if it’s lacking? Here are some handy expert pointers:
- Be kind to yourself. If something goes wrong, don’t beat yourself up. Ask yourself what you could have done differently and determine to do better next time.
- Avoid people who pull you down – those who are critical and negative towards you. Seek out people whose company you enjoy and in whose presence you feel good about yourself.
- Give yourself positive messages, don’t self-criticise. If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts about yourself, such as: “I’m always messing up, I’ve failed again”, challenge this and change your thinking to something more positive like: “I’ve made a mistake, but what can I learn from this? How can I do better in this situation next time?”
- Learn to see difficulties as problems to be solved rather than catastrophes. Develop your problem-solving skills and you’ll have more confidence in yourself and your ability to cope with difficult situations, thereby developing your self-esteem as a result.
Of course, if this all seems too difficult to achieve on your own, seek help from a professional relationship counsellor or psychologist.
Images, in order, via www.thetruthaboutbeauty.co.uk; www.freespiritgirl.com and pixabay.com.
Are you stuck in a rut in a job you despise and/or suffering under a moronic, lazy boss who is literally sucking the life out of you? Are you half expecting to wake up with a grey patch in your hair from all the stress?
If you answered yes, you might need to find your self-belief fast, sister, in order to take a leap of faith and achieve your full careers potential.
When *Sally, 35, (not her real name) was retrenched from a major media company, she felt sick to her stomach, shocked and utterly lost. What’s more, her former bosses were anything but enthusiastic about her unique skills set, so her self-esteem also took a giant hit.
But as the weeks ticked by and Sally regained her inner strength, composure and sense of humour, she realised being made redundant was actually the best thing to have happened to her in ages. She was bitterly unhappy in her job anyway, detested her misogynistic, bullying middle-manager bosses and felt she’d never really reached her full potential. Redundancy was just the push she needed to achieve her goals.
So, never doubting her abilities, she realised she could now look forward to the future with hope and bag that exciting, new career. She started applying for jobs, and mere weeks later, Sally landed a dream marketing position at a major property firm, thereby doubling her annual salary.
This is a true story, with only the person’s name changed to protect their privacy.
Psychologists say self-belief is vital in achieving our career goals in 2015 and living our best life, with passion and gusto.
Why? Because if you truly believe in yourself and that you can achieve what you set out to do – ala Sally – you will have the motivation to move forward to achieve your goals and the determination to overcome whatever obstacles stand in your way. Conversely, if you don’t believe in your ability to achieve, you’ll give up when the first hurdle arises or worse – you won’t get started at all.
What’s more, calculated risks can really pay off, just like Sally’s, and really help you achieve your goals.
But, of course, with great change comes unease. It can take a lot of courage to embrace change because it’s often challenging to move out of our comfort zone, but for many, it has proven to be well worth the effort.
Before embarking on a new career, job experts say to carefully research your options and think about what you really love doing – find a job that excites you. And, if like Sally, you’ve encountered some “haters” along the way – bosses who undermine and underestimate you – you gotta rise above, the experts say.
After all, most of us at some stage have come across someone who, for their own reasons, wants to put us down. Maybe your bosses feel threatened by your potential success or just don’t want you to succeed?
Self-belief will also get you through this. If you believe that you can achieve something you will be able to ignore the nay-sayers and achieve your goals in spite of them.
And one final bit of advice from careers experts: do all you can to avoid these people as much as possible and instead seek out positive mentors and friends who will inspire you and encourage you to achieve your full potential.
Go get em’, tiger!
Main image via www.cseba.eu; secondary image via www.renewable-health-site.com and final image via www.thegrindstone.com
Two Brisbane tradies are helping to dispel gender-bias and industry stereotypes after launching both a successful renovation business and a women’s workwear clothing label.
Instead of being deterred by the very small number of fellow Australian women working in the construction industry, apprentice carpenter Juanita Mottram, 34, and builder/carpenter Laura Madden, 32, (pictured below) are building their own empire (erm, literally).
As part of the only one per cent of Australian women working in construction, the long-time friends take great pride in encouraging other women to take up trades. Starting their renovation company in 2010, Eve Renovations, Juanita and Laura capitalised on a gap in the market, launching a solely female workforce and providing a much-needed supportive hub for women wanting to learn a trade.
Now in its fifth year of business, Eve Renovations specialises in both domestic and commercial projects. “We want to show women that they can achieve anything, and provide a pathway for female apprentices to get a start in the construction industry,” Laura says.
“It’s something that we are passionate about; we receive so many requests from young girls wanting to do work experience with us, or asking us the best way to get into a trade, so it’s really important for us to open that dialogue and put trades on the radar for women choosing a career, or considering a change.”
Not content there, in 2012, Juanita and Laura were also inspired to launch their own line of women’s clothing, Eve Workwear, after being unable to find fashionable and functional work gear.
What started off as a hobby has now developed into a full-time design, manufacturing and distribution business, with the brand enjoying a 200 per cent growth in combined retail and online sales since July last year.
Now, the pair is hoping their new collection, No. 26, launching in February, will further revolutionise the workwear market by providing stylish and durable women’s clothing which increases wearers’ comfort and confidence.
“We were sick of not being able to buy work wear that fitted properly and looked good, so we made the decision to launch a label that is designed and tested by women for women and the feedback has been phenomenal,” Juanita says.
“Our new collection No. 26 has street edge, practically and versatility not available in industry clothing. It has been influenced by the raw toughness of vintage workwear, but still encompasses a feminine and fashionable look. You will find it in fashion, not tradie magazines!
“Through both our construction and workwear businesses we want to break the stereotypes and start a conversation that changes the face of the industry.”
Interestingly, the pair quashes the notion that lady tradies have to overcome huge obstacles and/or that sexism is rampant in the industry.
“We really can’t speak for all women out there, as any obstacles we have come across we have overcome,” Juanita says. “Obviously, one of the hardest things is to get a break with your apprenticeship, but that’s irrelevant of gender I think. It’s a lot of hard work! But the rewards far out way the sacrifices along the way.
“Over the past few years we have seen an increase of positive stories in the media about women in male-dominated industries. It is a long and persistent journey to a point where hopefully one day women aren’t even looked at twice when they turn up to site and throw on their tool belt – it’s just an everyday occurrence. For this to happen, women need to support each other’s journey and be positive role models for the next generation.”
While both tradies are heavily involved in the two businesses, Laura manages the renovations side and Juanita manages and designs the clothing. “Sometimes, it feels like we have multiple personalities!” Juanita says. “Laura obviously has input into every design and has to test every sample made out on site.
“We hear amazing stories of women working in diverse roles where they want the durability and safety of clothing, but also versatile, feminine and desirable workwear.
“We’ve heard from all the usual trades – electricians; painters; carpenters; plumbers; mining workers and landscapers – and other roles which require the same purpose-built clothing, such as make-up artists; artists; theatre producers; farmers; retail assistants; baristas and the list goes on.”
And, when asked about what the biggest societal misconception there is about female tradies, Juanita is typically both passionate and level-headed. “The biggest misconception is that you have to be a certain type of lady to do a trade,” she says.
“Take gender out of the equation – it takes a special type of someone to do many different types of jobs/roles. It [trades] just actually needs to be an option for girls when they are looking at careers while at school; something that isn’t presently done.”
Visit www.eveworkwear.com.au and www.everenovations.com.au.
Most people, even celebrities, have self esteem issues. Did you know that Victoria Beckham once said that when she was in the Spice Girls, she felt like the audience showed up to see the other women—not her. Actress Emma Thompson has talked about a negative inner voice that criticises her for not being good enough.
So if celebrities have self esteem problems, what hope do us mere mortals have? Plenty, it turns out. There’s a lot you can do to improve your self esteem.
1. Accentuate the positive
No one is perfect, and who would want to be anyway? That’s boring. But you undoubtedly have plenty of positive qualities. Focus on them instead of miring yourself in negative talk. If a voice inside your head starts to say: “Get rid of that mirror. You look awful,” shush it and search out positive features in the mirror.
In many instances, acting confident and like you have high self esteem when you don’t really feel confident inside works wonders—and gets you to actually feel confident! Here’s how it works. Say you’re going to a work party function at the boss’s house. You’re scared witless because you’re shy, awkward and a clumsy dresser. Guess what? Pretend you’re cool and smooth and suave—because you most likely are somewhere deep down inside. If you act confident at the party, people will naturally gravitate toward you, and that in turn makes you feel better.
3. Do something you do well
Participate in activities that give you a sense of accomplishment and belonging. They can be as simple as buying gifts for children in poverty or walking every day or volunteering at a soup kitchen. You’ll see what a difference you’re capable of making—and are making. Make fun time for yourself too. Take classes in areas that have always interested you.
4. No comparing
Comparing yourself to other people will only bring you grief, not to mention it is impractical. You are not in these people’s shoes, and they very likely have self esteem problems too under that facade. Remember the celebrities example? You are you, a unique, amazing individual. The fact is, only you know your life experiences. If you pass a gorgeous woman on the street and are tempted to compare yourself to her, shut off thoughts about her. Focus on you—your positives. Your smarts, your physical features, all the wonderful things in your life.
5. Identify and solve
What are your nagging issues? Weight? Shyness? Communication? Be reactive no longer. Take charge of the issue and of your life. Find proper motivation. Internal motivation often is not enough; you probably need external motivation too. Look to the future and keep a list handy of how resolving this issue will help your life. Take communication for example. You could write: “After taking communications classes, I will approach people more easily and be responsible for less misunderstandings.” Keep goals concrete and realistic.
Going to a therapist is an option. It may be difficult at the beginning, but this person will be your advocate and ally. She will help you figure out a plan to address this issue that impacts your self esteem so severely. So many people go to therapy. It is by no means a mark of failure. It is often one of the best things people do for themselves.