What is Self-Worth and How Can We Grow It?

In the days of social media and perfect images, it is easy to doubt your self-worth. Just a quick scroll and you see images of “perfect” looking people or the “perfect” life. Images that can perhaps leave you feeling a lack of self-worth and that you and your life aren’t quite good enough.

Personally, it got the point that I would rarely ever post a photo of myself on Instagram. I just in all honestly felt like I didn’t look good enough. Yet, if I don’t feel I’m good enough, who else will.

I am sharing what self-worth means to me, my process of learning and understanding what my self-worth is, and my tips to start living a life feeling self-worth.

Lady walking through field with back to the camera

What is self-worth?

Personally, I think that self-worth and self-confidence as different things. Confidence is more about external aspects, such as how other people perceive us. Whereas, self-worth is something more internal and is focused on our own perception of our self.

With regards to confidence, I think of the expression, “fake it till you make it”. By imitating confidence, a person can be perceived as confident and therefore making them feel more confident. Whereas, self-worth is focused on our own perception of our self, and more difficult to “fake”. If you feel that you are unworthy, there is only so much you can kid yourself that you are happy.

So, how can we grow our self-worth? How can we really start valuing ourselves?

I’ve come up with five ways that have helped me:

1. Accept the past

I know I can pinpoint some of my feelings of lack of self-worth to things that happened in my childhood. I ended up going to counselling as I could see that it was impacting on my adult life by the choices I was making. It’s still a work in progress, but I accept I can’t change things in the past, but I can change my view of myself and my own self-worth now.

2. Remove toxic people

If you feel like the people around you make you feel insecure or not so good about yourself, then it’s time to say goodbye. It is not easy, toxic people generally will have such power over you, and they shouldn’t. Once you remove these people from your life, it will free you from the negativity they bring into your life, but it will also create space for more positive people to come into your life.

3. Set your personal boundaries

This is something I struggle with. In all areas of life, people will take the “p” if you let them, impacting on your feeling of self-worth. You could go as far as writing out what you will or will not accept from others, or just go with your feelings. I go with what makes me feel good and what makes me feel bad. As with the toxic people, if people or situations make me feel insecure or not good about myself, I will distance myself from them.

4. Be your own best friend

I read a quote years ago about you have to love yourself before anyone else can love you. I remember at the time thinking, yes whatever. Yet it’s true. Once I realised I was my own worst enemy; I was the one who constantly doubted myself. Turn that around, be your own best friend. Be the one who says you can do it. You are worthy of good things. Help yourself by practicing regular a self-care routine to make yourself feel good and keep anxiety at bay .

5. Surround yourself with people you love

If you value yourself, you will attract people that are worth your while. Surround yourself with people you love, and you will feel valuable too.

I am now in a loving relationship, have amazing friends, and the toxic people are in the past. And guess what? I feel happy, valued and loved 🙂

 

What are 5 things you value about yourself?

Five Things To Start Doing If You Have Social Anxiety

An event pops into your inbox. You feel excited and put it in your calendar. Yet as the days draw closer you start to feel that panic. Does that sound familiar? If so, you might suffer from social anxiety. Me too. But I got fed up of letting it beat me.

Social anxiety and blogging just don’t mix. I would end up in a state of utter panic in the lead up to an event. Sometimes to the point, I just couldn’t go. One time at the Professional Beauty Show a lady asked my address. I had got myself so worked up, I just couldn’t remember where I lived! I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

This week I went to two events. Admittedly, only one was alone. If though, I think back to even a few months ago, I would have struggled. Well, I still struggled, but I got myself there and after the initial nerves, I totally enjoyed myself. I also met up with some lovely ladies who made it feel such a lovely experience. Thank you, Abigail Kathleen, Afshanesque and Ola Lella.

Lady walking away from the camera feeling anxious

Here are a few things you might want to start doing if you have social anxiety.

1.Push yourself out of your comfort zone

There were times that I was so anxious, that I couldn’t even go to the local Sainsburys alone. It was made worse by the fact that I was a supply Teacher. I spent my time dreading the phone ringing about work. Not the best job when you have social anxiety. Yet, if I could answer the phone and go on a longer-term placement, I felt good. And with each assignment my confidence grew.

What can you do to push yourself out of your comfort zone?

2. Prepare yourself

Get out everything you will need the night before. Then do a bit of self-care to relax your mind.

Prepare your route. I am forever getting lost when I have somewhere new I need to go. I get in such a panic about what is going to happen when I get there, I can’t focus on what Google Maps or Citymapper is telling me. Although, be prepared for the unexpected. I was all set and the Central line wasn’t running! Plan your back up too.

3. Practice your social skills

Observe yourself. What do you do when you feel social anxiety strikes? I wring my hands, laugh nervously and talk rubbish (although, if you know me I tend to talk rubbish anyway!).

I know you will feel a bit of a tool, but who is going to know! Smile in the mirror. Notice your habits and be mindful of how to calm yourself down. The event the other day was the #LibertyLivingHealthy Wellbeing event and made me realise how powerful mindfulness can be and I took away some great techniques.

4. Have something to talk about

Hands up, I hate small talk and gossip. I haven’t got a clue what went on in Love Island or whatever is the most popular tv chat. So I’m quite limited in what I think I can talk to new people about.

I’ve started up a mental bank of things to talk about and hopefully strike a conversation. Especially, for that awkward part when you first meet a group of people.

Don’t forget to ask questions. You want the other person to talk too. That way you have time to breathe.

Just be honest that you feel nervous. Chances are there will be someone else there who will be nervous too.

5. Reward yourself

Don’t forget to reward yourself. No matter how big or small the achievement.

Even if it was because you lasted half an hour at an event. You went! Next time you can aim to stay for an hour. You CAN do it!

 

How do you deal with social anxiety?

Easy Tips To Boost Confidence This Year

Easy Tips To Boost Confidence This Year

For many of us, a lack of confidence in ourselves creates a huge barrier to achieving our potential and living our best life. I wish I was about to offer you some magic here, but this is a work in progress. I have been working on a few things, which so far have been helping me feel more confident.

Give yourself a break.

When my confidence is at it’s lowest, my ‘critical mind’ sets in. I will constantly berate myself for getting something I’ve got wrong. You guessed it. The more the self-criticism sets in, the lower your confidence gets. That little bit of positive mental attitude and belief in yourself will go a long way if you let it.

Know your self-worth.

Confidence is not just about what we are projecting out to the world. It’s about how we feel about ourselves. Creating positive routines and practising self-care will go along way to helping you feel good about yourself.

Make a list of things that scare you.

What are your fears? Is it rejection? Failure? Is it actually because you can’t believe you got that job?

Is it actually, you have a touch of imposter syndrome. You know that feeling?  Any minute someone is going to tap you on the arm and say what are you doing here? You are there because you worked so hard, you put in the hours, and this is yours. You got it!

Surround yourself with positive people.

Have a look around you. Who do you mix with? If these people don’t make you feel good, then are they the right people to be around? Obviously, everyone has their ‘off days’, or be going through something you don’t realise. BUT if you always surround yourself with people who you know really don’t deserve your time and energy. Is it time to move away?

“When you start seeing your worth, you’ll find it harder to stay around people who don’t” – Unknown.

Preparation.

What’s that old saying? Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Just imagine in a job interview, if you’ve prepared, no matter how nervous you are, hopefully, once the conversation starts to flow, you’ll start to recall what you have researched. I often take notes in with me. I don’t think I’ve ever had to refer to them, but it gives me that extra security blanket.

Find what works for you.

Gaining confidence is about finding what works for you. My mum used to tell me to imagine people naked. I’m an over-thinker, so that didn’t work for me. I could “see” all sorts of things that I really didn’t want to see. I found that by feeling more in control, I feel more confident. As I find my confidence takes a knock when other things go wrong. I suffer from IBS, and I find when that’s not under control, I get really stressed just in case. This then has a knock-on effect on my anxiety.

Take baby steps and break tasks down.

By taking small steps and breaking down tasks, we can make something daunting more manageable. I broke it down. I wanted to go to yoga, but I didn’t want to go alone. Dan came with me until I felt comfortable and then I went alone. A few times recently I’ve reached out and I have not been rejected, which encourages me to continue to reach out.

Reward yourself. 

Celebrate your success and your journey. No matter how small or insignificant you want to dismiss it as being, STOP and celebrate it.

What are your top tips for building confidence?

Lots of love,
Helen xoxo

Learning To Live Life With IBS

Excuse the pun, but IBS is a pain in the backside that has plagued my life for the last twenty years or so. IBS is one of those conditions that you can have under control for years, then bam, it’s back with a vengeance! Although, hands up, I have a fear of doctors, so I keep putting off going find out if there are any medical advancements in treatment. In the meantime, I’m still learning to live life with IBS.

IBS can, when I’m having a particularly bad patch, feel like its ruling my life. I’ve had countless times that I’ve had to cancel plans because my stomach has let me down AGAIN. If I go somewhere new, then the first thing I always do is scope out the nearest bathroom ‘just in case’. All in all, that means that simple things like going for a meal can feel like a really stressful experience.

Living life with IBS

Life with IBS is embarrassing. I never used to admit to anyone other than my mum and brother that I had IBS, even to very close friends. It’s only when I opened up, a friend told me she just thought I was just being a princess with my constant need to eat at a certain time.

Oh and dating with IBS is a whole other ball game! I only started opening up once it all got a bit too much. I had started dating Dan and for the most part, I had got away with lengthy disappearances. Blogging and the need to take “a selfie” was my saviour. It wasn’t until my IBS set in when we were enjoying a nice romantic walk.  I needed to keep finding a toilet, so I decided it was better to just be honest.

Life with IBS has meant I’ve had way more cringe-worthy “mad dashes” than I can, or care to remember. The number of times I have been so thankful just to spot a pub. Unfortunately, the said pub hasn’t been selected because of its impressive offerings of wines and fine ales, instead because a walk or wander has to be cut short because I can feel my stomach is about to go. (Although I can’t lie, I do like to stumble across a pub, IBS or not!)

A few things I do to manage it

Here are a few things I do to try to manage my IBS symptoms. If you have IBS too I hope they  help. Or if you have anything you try, please drop me a comment and I will give it a go!

Diet

When my IBS first started, I noticed white bread was a big no no. Since then I have always tried to avoid it (which is hard when pizza is your favourite food!). White pasta also not a friend of my tummy, but that usually just causes bloating, so not a complete deal breaker. I still haven’t had a test to see about food intolerances. My fear of needles is just too much for that lol! I just try to avoid foods once I know they can be a trigger.

Food diary

When I was first diagnosed with IBS, the doctor told me to make a note of everything I that I ate. This is particularly important if its a new food. I have attached a copy of my Food Tracker. You’ll notice I popped a section called ‘Mood’.  I always make a note if I have been stressed or anxious to help me see if that has contributed. I also note down if I ate at a different time. Eating after 7pm for some reason does not agree with my stomach!

Stress

As I mentioned, I always note down when I am stressed or anxious. Stress is probably the biggest contributor to my IBS going crazy. It’s like a vicious circle though, the more stressed you get about having a flare-up. The more likely it will be that, yes you guessed it, you’ll need the sodding toilet!

Medication

I’ve always tried to just manage the symptoms of IBS by myself. Recently, though it’s just getting too much. I am in the process of trying out a few different remedies. The first of which is Colpermin. Unfortunately, this didn’t do much for me. Also, the fact you have to take 3 tablets a day, meant I kept forgetting to take them all, which just isn’t a fair test.

Yesterday,  I had a few minutes to spare, so I popped into Boots and picked up Alflorex. I met these guys at a Scarlett London event a few years back, but for some reason, I didn’t try the tablets properly. It’s one tablet a day and in a box of 30 capsules, so I will give them another go, so I’ll keep you updated! And if they don’t work, then I guess it’s time to go back to the doctors (eek!).

 

I hope you liked this post. Opening up leaves you with that horrible vulnerable feeling doesn’t it. If you’re a sufferer too, please let me know your story and what you do to live life with IBS.

Lots of love,
Helen xoxo

Life Begins at Forty?

I’m about to turn forty. Bah I’ve said it.

I’d love to tell you I’m feeling positive about turning forty. Part of me just wants to run and hide behind the great big inflatable 4 0 balloons. Am I going to wake up on Saturday morning, everything all kind of shrivelling up? Will I be deep in the throws of a full blow mid-life crisis with an overwhelming compulsion to buy a red Ferrari that I can’t afford from eBay?

They say ‘life begins at forty’. I guess in that sense it’s like another ‘New Years Eve’. A time for reinvention, a new chapter, a fresh start. I can’t think of anymore cliches! This is a time many of us think of changing career. Although, I’ve had more career changes than your average careers advisor could tell you about, so maybe not a career change (for now anyway). 

What do you want to be when you grow up?

In all honesty. I never had a clue. It’s always been about studying for me. What can I do next? Never really being satisfied in the here and now. Eat, sleep, (with the occasional rave) repeat. Maybe now, moving forwards, it’s a time for acceptance of myself and learning to look around and appreciate all that I have.

Maybe this is a time to travel more, not just holidays, but explore different cultures and cuisines. I want to learn Spanish again AND more importantly have the confidence to use it. I also want to get back into yoga (I was too scared to go to a class alone when I moved to London). Generally, I just want to push myself to do things I always wished I could, but was too scared.

In fact, does age really matter at all?

It is all a bit relative when you think about it. I mean if you could write a letter to your younger self. What would you say? I know I would tell myself to stop caring so much about what others thought of me, or rather what people who don’t matter thought about me.

“At age 20, we worry about what others think of us. At age 40, we don’t care what they think of us. At age 60, we discover they haven’t been thinking of us at all.”Ann Landers 

In my head, I’m still 18 and the world is my oyster. Maybe the reality is that I’m 40, and do you know what, the world is still my oyster! Even if I still don’t have a clue what I want to be when I grow up.

Happy Birthday to all of my fellow August babies. I hope you have a fantastic day! However old you are, who you are, or who you want to be!

Lots of love Helen xoxo