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What do we need in the mindset toolkit to enable our self-worth to flourish?

Apr 19, 2021

If I had a hammer

As parents, carers, grandparents, aunts, uncles and godparents, there is so much we can give the young people in our lives, but there are some things we cannot gift them. One of those is a sense of self-worth and it can be so frustrating and worrying when we see them struggling with liking themselves or feeling they are worthy of great things.

Although we’re told childhood should be the best years of our lives because we should be carefree with nothing to worry about, sadly that’s not always the case. Growing up we might face bullying, we’ve puberty to go through, perhaps finding our identity amongst the crowd, fighting with anxiety can be prevalent in young people, as can body issues.

My brother-in-law said a wise thing to me when my eldest was a wee bairn and I was fretting about a situation with another child at her pre-school. He said that as her parent, the best thing I can do is to keep adding the tools to her toolkit so that as she grows older, when these situations arise, she knows which tool she requires to deal with it.

It would be lovely to think that every child has a Swallow and Amazons kind of life but unfortunately, that’s not always realistic. As guardians, we do what we can to help them to navigate their way through what can very often feel like a minefield and we try to ease the transition into adulthood, but as we know, that can be no picnic either; so, it’s equipping the young people in our lives with the mindset tools and strategies so when the curve balls are thrown, they feel they know what they need to do to cope.

Mean girls

Last summer, in the hiatus of the Coronavirus pandemic, when things were a bit more relaxed about getting together with family and friends, I got an SOS text from a friend who lives nearby. Clare and her family were due to visit family friends the next day and her eldest was getting herself into a panic. The eldest daughter of the family they were visiting was apparently not the kindest of children and was always dismissive of – let’s call her Hannah. Hannah felt that ‘Lottie’ was way cooler than her, and Lottie apparently certainly acted as if she thought she were. She ignored Hannah and looked down her nose at her. Hannah wanted to feel cool, she wanted Lottie to think she was cool, she didn’t want to be dismissed. So as Clare didn’t have the opportunity to get to the shops, she wondered if my eldest two had any clothes Hannah could borrow. Hannah felt a different ‘look’ might help the situation.

My girls sprang into action and in the spirit of sisterhood, text Hannah and told her to come round. However, there was kind of a caveat – my eldest felt a bit of mindset maintenance needed to go hand-in-hand with the personal styling session #theappledoesnotfallfarfromthetree

My eldest didn’t feel an outfit for Hannah was going to fix the problem – that would be like wearing rubber gloves to fix a leaky pen. The crux of the issue needed to go under the microscope - the lack of self-worth that Hannah felt. It was important that she understood she doesn’t need anyone’s approval.

Comparison - the thief of joy

As Dr Seuss said: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Why do we sometimes care so much what others think of us? Why does it matter so much to us? Perhaps we value their opinion because they are a trusted confidant – they keep us on the straight and narrow when sometimes we might go a bit off-piste. However, that’s different to trying to impress someone because we think their validation will help us to feel better about ourselves.

Maybe we compare ourselves to another because we aspire to be like them, to do what they do and have what they achieve in life. That’s great if we know they’ve needed to go on a journey to get to that point, and we can learn from them. But if we just wish we could be like them and have no impetus nor inclination of goal setting to achieve it, we’re just a passive onlooker, celebrating their successes but with no idea how to pave the way to our own success.

The only person we should be comparing ourselves to is ourselves – maybe one year ago, five years ago, a decade ago. How far have we come, what have we achieved? Maybe reflection means we realise we haven’t done as much as we feel we could, so it’s an impetus to re-evaluate and set some goals for ourselves. Maybe we want to push ourselves further up the career ladder, perhaps it’s about creating financial security; saving for our dream home; goals to travel more or creating more adventure in our lives. Perhaps it’s about personal development – getting out of our comfort zone – learning more, growing and taking on more challenge.

Are you worthy of happiness?

Hannah had allowed Lottie to get inside her head. Lottie seemed so popular – followers on Instagram, she was pretty and looked so cool. Yet what Lottie seemed to have, and Hannah felt she lacked, meant Hannah wasn’t realising her own strengths and gifts. Hannah had a wonderful relationship with her Dad – they had a shared interest in hockey and fun banter, but from what my friend Clare has said, it sounded like Lottie and her Dad were distant. Perhaps when the two families met up, maybe Lottie could see Hannah and her Dad’s bond and it compounded that she and her Dad didn’t share this, thus she masked this by being so dismissive and mean to Hannah. Misplaced and misdirected emotions.

If we have a strong self-image, we feel secure in who we are and what we stand for. We have consciously chosen values; we continually push ourselves forward and our self-worth means we know we are worthy of great things. Sadly, this is very often not the case. We might feel we need the validation of others in order to feel good about ourselves; perhaps we might have the skills and knowledge to go for a fantastic new job but don’t because we don’t feel worthy of such great things – ‘Who am I to think I could do that role?’.

So, how can we get over those feels of inadequacy, questioning whether we are capable of great things, or that we belong in the cool clique?

Power tools

It comes down, as always, to the nature of our thoughts. We need to work on them. We need to turn down the volume of that pesky inner critic that means we allow ourselves to keep our world small. We no longer allow that inner critic to repeat past comments/feedback/narratives that are negative. We kick those thoughts to the kerb, and instead, amplify the good stuff.

We do this through:

  • Positive self-talk – be aware of how you describe you to yourself and to others. Ensure it’s positive so that it moves you forward, rather than keeps you stuck in an unhelpful narrative.
  • Assumptive affirmations – repeat these daily which will rewire those neural pathways from a previously unhelpful narrative, to one that will build a positive outcome.
  • Visualisation – build that mental movie, using all five senses, of not only your end goal of who you want to be, what you want to do in life and what you want to have, but also the process of you achieving it. The subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between a real or a vividly imagined event, so keep replaying the mental movie and then when it happens in real life, it will feel completely natural to you.
  • Gratitude Journal – write down three things every day that you are grateful for. It could be a stunning sunset or sunrise, that cup of tea made for you at just the right time, a lovely text giving you a much-needed boost, a client ‘win’ or a successful application. Note it down and when it feels like a bad day, re-read and remind yourself of all the good there is in life. When you start to notice the great things, you’ll find your mind is open to seeing even more.
  • Victory Log – keep a record of all your wins – no matter if you think they’re big or small. It’s all relative and helps to build your self-esteem. For some, success is getting up in the morning and showing up for their family when really they want to curl up into a ball in the duvet and shut the world out; for someone else, it might be the sixth Zoom call for the day when their introvert nature just wants to switch the camera off, yet here they are again, participating and contributing; for someone else, it might be writing and presenting a kick-ass proposal to potential new business. Keep a note and if you’re feeling life is overwhelming and you can’t cope, read back and remember what you’re capable of.

As for Hannah, she only borrowed a denim jacket from one of my girls. After a little mindset magic, she felt comfortable being Hannah. She shone bright and do you know what, it was the best get together they’d had in a long while.

Happiness and a sense of self-worth needs to come from within. No one can give that to us. Certainly, as parents and carers, we can do what we can to facilitate it, but we can only hope it’s a tool in the toolkit that the young people in our lives possess.

Feeling worthy of our happiness means we strive for great things because we know we deserve it and it’s on our own terms and no one else’s.

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Would you like help getting your mindset in check?

Do you feel your lack of sense of self-worth means you’re keeping your world small, that you’re not pushing yourself forward to achieve great things? Do you want to feel more in control of the nature of your thoughts to enable you to feel more confident?

The Mindset Coaching Membership can help you understand the tools and strategies needed. With Masterclass Teachings + Coaching + Accountability, we will help you to create the future you want. Find out more here.

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