It’s easy to feel ignored and brushed over in today’s society, and you might struggle to progress in your career, feel good about yourself, or have the confidence needed to take control over your life. If you feel this way, don’t worry – there’s plenty you can do about it, and in time you’ll be well on your way to gaining independence.
There are two things you can do to define yourself, and this is one of the easiest ways to gain some independence. Identity is a fluid thing, and we can all change and decide who we want to be.
One thing you can do is spend time reflecting on who you really are – it takes a lot of practice, but you need to know exactly who you are to develop confidence in yourself. Be honest – this means not only taking into account your faults but also recognizing your strengths, too.
If you’re struggling, take a personality test. Think about what you need, what you want, the way you see the world, and who you really are. This will give you confidence and certainty in who you are, and the best places and ideas for you. If you’re not happy with who you are, it also makes it easier to identify what you don’t like and how you can change it.
The other thing you can do to define yourself is to think about the words you use right now to describe yourself. “I’m ugly.” “I’m not good enough.” “I can’t do that.” “I don’t deserve this.” Do any of these sound familiar?
It’s so easy to use negative thoughts to describe ourselves and ultimately define who we are, but how can we expect to be happy when we’re constantly putting ourselves down?
Saying things like this is going to damage your confidence, and prevent you from being able to make decisions, to make yourself heard and to be happy with who you are.
Change how you define yourself, and when you find yourself thinking things negative, turn it around. Use the “yet” method – whenever you find yourself saying “I can’t do that”, turn it into “I can’t do that yet.”
Don’t be harsh on yourself, and for every negative, try to find one, two, even three good things you can say about yourself, or things you did today that you’re proud of. This is the first step in gaining some self-confidence and putting yourself on the way to gaining your independence.
Pay Attention To Your Needs and Desires
These need a little more thought than just “defining yourself”. You need to have a good idea of what you need to be happy or need to move forward, as well as what you want to happen. Everyone has basic needs, and according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we can’t become truly confident and happy with who we are until we fulfill our needs.
Our needs vary from person to person. Some people need some time alone to regain some energy, some people need an early night or they’ll be shattered the next day, some people need to work in a team. Figure out exactly what you need to function, and this should be your first priority when making sure you can go after your wants.
Think about what your dream life is like – do you want a house by the sea, or to travel the world, or even a jumbo jet? Whatever it is, you can have it! You just need to come up with a plan of how you’re going to get there – developing a plan will give you more confidence in getting what you want, and give you goals to focus on to progress and move forward to where you want to be.
Once you understand your needs and desires, you can have the assertiveness and ability to make them happen. Keep these in mind with everything you do, so you know what you’re working towards and why you’re doing what you’re doing, to give yourself that extra motivational spark and help you move and develop into more and more independence.
Change Things Up
There are things we can do in the here and now that can directly impact how we think and feel. Take control of the smaller things in your life – things like finances are great for having control over as they show you that you’re capable of making decisions and give you practical skills to move forward. Start exercising more – it can help you feel better, look better, reduce stress and give you a sense of accomplishment to achieve the goals you set.
Once you achieve your fitness goals, you can extrapolate this to your life as a whole and feel more confident in achieving those goals, too.
Once you’ve started on the little things, think about the big things – is your job draining your energy, or is it just not what you had in mind or dreamed of? Switch! There’s never a wrong time to start a new job, and it’s worth looking for jobs that can give you a real sense of purpose where it’s easy to see the impact you’re making, especially if right now you’re finding yourself stuck in an office doing work you don’t see as meaningful.
Jobs like counseling, teaching, entrepreneurship, nursing, and engineering are all brilliant, as they require you to work with people, use problem-solving and have confidence in leading groups and making decisions. If teaching appeals, there are teacher training options for those interested in molding the minds of the next generation.
If you’re stuck in a job you hate and need a change of scene but just don’t know where to look, take a look at those suggestions – they’re perfect for gaining the confidence and independence you need to grow and show your true worth.
Many people get sucked into constantly doing favors for other people, and putting others first. And although this is a great show of compassion and great skill, it can also mean that you get forgotten, and potentially even people abusing your kindness and taking advantage of your warm nature.
Although you shouldn’t stop caring about people and doing things for others, put yourself first; if you’re always last, you won’t be able to speak up for yourself and defend your thoughts and ideas.
Try and think of the last time you did something for yourself – if it was a long time ago, this needs to change! Make time at least once a week for you to unwind and do something just for you, so you can relax and enjoy things as they are without worrying about other people. This could be a spa session, a bath, or even a binge session of your favorite TV show.
Don’t let people tell you what you should or shouldn’t do.
Only you can decide that, so be assertive in telling people that you can’t do what they’re asking if you think it will negatively affect you. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup, and you won’t be able to take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself.
With these four tips, you’ll be well on the way to growing your independence and being who you want to be.
Identity Magazine is all about guiding women to discover their powers of Self-Acceptance, Appreciation, and Personal Achievement. We ask that every contributor and expert answer the Identity questions in keeping with our theme.
Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the current article they have written. In that way, we hope to encourage and motivate each other, thus inspiring you to Get All A’s.
What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? Additionally, what are you still working on accepting? Now, we’re not talking about resignation, rather stepping into, embraced, and owned.
I have come to accept my failures as well as my strengths in dealing with day to day struggles. I understand that sometimes situations cannot always be controlled and that I should learn to appreciate the good times and accept that whatever happens, happens.
Appreciation is everything. What have you learned to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? On the other hand OR in contrast, are there elements of who you are that you’re still working on appreciating?
I have learned to appreciate the people I have that have stuck by me. It’s rare to meet individuals who become an integral part of your life offering support and companionship especially at times when you need it most.
Share with us one of your most rewarding achievements in life? Tell us not only what makes YOU most proud but also share the goals and dreams that you still have.
The biggest achievement in my life would be my 2 children. The goals I have are what I strive to give to my kids for them to have a better life.