How to choose yourself and why it’s important

choose yourself
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What does it mean to choose yourself and why is it so important? For many of us, the concept sounds selfish. But, the best way to serve the world is to put yourself first.

That’s because putting others first prevents you from pursuing what you really want out of life. It’s difficult to discern your passions when you haven’t given yourself space and time to discover them.

When we put ourselves last or even in second place, we lose touch with what we want and don’t want. Because we’re too busy catering to the needs and wants of others.

Choose yourself by saying no

To choose yourself, start saying no to things that don’t interest you and yes to things that do. Take the time to understand your likes and dislikes and do more of what pleases you.

You’ll be amazed at how this simple shift to self-focus will help you uncover what you’re uniquely designed to do. That’s why when you choose yourself, you serve others better.

The simple shift to self-focus will help you uncover what you're uniquely designed to do. Click To Tweet

If your parents never helped you know your strengths and weaknesses, this is the time to find them out for yourself. Pay attention to what you do well and become even better at it.

Stop saying yes to things that don’t use your talents or that bore you and waste your energy. You don’t owe anyone your time; it’s yours to use as you wish.

Saying yes too often results from poor boundaries and is often called people pleasing. But, it’s actually a fear of disapproval more than a sincere desire to please.

If it feels unbearable to disappoint someone, that’s a natural response to childhood trauma. We abandoned our own needs and wants in an effort to win our parents’ love.

That childhood fear of rejection shows up in adulthood as a refusal to choose yourself first.

choose yourself

Communicate clearly

Setting boundaries is tough for those of us who grew up without any. But people pleasing creates muddy communication which ensures we never get what we want.

What we need to do instead is communicate clearly to other people what we want and don’t want.

Setting boundaries is a matter of authenticity. It means being clear about what you will and won’t tolerate, and honors both yourself and others. 

This will be hard at first, but becomes easier with practice. You may be overcoming a lifetime of putting other people first when you decide to choose yourself.

Setting boundaries is not easy, but it’s necessary if you want a fulfilling life. You’ll discover what you were put on this earth to do when you stop basing your actions on what other people expect.

Setting boundaries is not easy, but necessary if you want a fulfilling life. Click To Tweet

Tap into your intuition and ask yourself what you want instead. Think back to times you’ve ignored your inner guidance system. It’s likely there have been catastrophic and long-lasting effects to ignoring how you feel and what you want.

Your confidence will improve when you stop putting yourself last. When you choose yourself you become more aligned with your values.

That means a life filled with integrity where your strengths and talents are put to good use. And that benefits everyone.

Why it’s important to express yourself and speak your truth

express yourself
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Have you ever held back thoughts and opinions to avoid conflict? Neglected to express yourself fully for fear of the consequences?

Sometimes we tell ourselves it’s not worth the fight. And, hey, sometimes that’s true. I’m a big proponent of picking your battles and not taking up the sword for every single one.

But I’ve hidden behind a shield of conflict avoidance when I should have spoken up. And that was nothing more than a terrible form of self abandonment.

Not only did it prevent me from getting my needs met, it prevented others from knowing the real me. Here’s are five other things you stand to lose when you refuse to express yourself.

1. Income

If you refuse to speak up at work, you will get passed over for promotions. Agreeableness is not the quality that gets you remembered when opportunities present themselves.

Same goes for entrepreneurs. Getting noticed and putting yourself out there are essential for a viable business. More importantly, your unique qualities that stand in opposition to the competition are key to your success.

Your unique qualities that stand in opposition to the competition are key to your success. Click To Tweet

When you’re afraid to show how you’re different or even disagree with your competitors, you miss out on the opportunity to set yourself apart and attract clients to you.

2. Intimacy (increases when you express yourself)

Relationships won’t go to the next level if you don’t express yourself and reveal the real you. If you’re constantly agreeing and thinking of what the other person wants, lack of intimacy follows.

You betray yourself when you people please or refuse to share your troubles because you don’t want to burden anyone.

If people pull away from you in spite of you bending over backwards for them, that could be the reason. They feel they don’t know the real you and that’s repelling to people who want true intimacy and relationship.

3. Personal growth

express yourself

When you have the courage to speak up for your needs and wants, you grow as a person. Your world expands according to your willingness to stand up and be known for who you are and what you believe.

Your world expands according to your willingness to stand up and be known for who you are and what you believe. Click To Tweet

If you fail to express yourself because you fear rejection (consciously or not), you won’t align with your heart’s desire. You’ll never feel fulfilled because you’re looking outside yourself for approval and validation.

4. Confidence (increases when you express yourself)

Oh, how your confidence increases when you push through the resistance and express yourself fully. But first comes discomfort.

It’s painful to stretch outside your comfort zone and that’s why so few people do it. But if you decide the pain is worth the gain of showing up as your authentic self, unlimited rewards await.

You’ll love yourself so much, you won’t care what other people think. At least not enough to let it sway you from your purpose and values.

5. Feeling understood

Speaking from experience, feeling misunderstood goes hand in hand with failing to express yourself. That’s what happens when you expect other people to read your mind instead of clearly communicating your needs.

When you set boundaries that tell people what you will and won’t tolerate, it’s easier for them to understand what you want and give it to you.

And those boundaries will protect you from people who will never understand because they don’t want to. You know the ones…family members who don’t want you to change. Or friends who preferred it when you catered to their needs instead of your own.

And, whether others understand you or not won’t concern you as much. Because you understand yourself and what you need and you’re not afraid to say it. And that’s what matters most.

How to challenge your inner critic with self-compassion

inner critic
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We’d never speak to someone else the way our inner critic does when we make a mistake or fall short of reaching a goal.

Yet, it’s common to jump to negative self talk when we feel we’re falling short. Our internal voice can be brutal and call us names like “stupid” and “loser” or worse.

By practicing the art of self compassion, you will bring about an authentic change in your internal voice. You will become your own best advocate instead of your worst critic.

The origin of the inner critic

What you think of as your inner voice is actually your parents’ or caregivers’ voices that you’ve internalized. Even if they never called you names, you picked up on how they felt about you and that had a negative impact on your self-image.

If you had loving, encouraging parents, your inner voice would reflect a positive attitude toward yourself. That natural self-compassion others enjoy without effort, we need to teach ourselves and consciously practice.

With some effort, patterns can change and you’ll begin to speak to yourself in an encouraging voice. You’ll say “you can do it” and cheer yourself on to the finish line, instead of giving up too easily.

First, you need to acknowledge that the pain you feel in pushing through challenges is different from the normal pain we read about in self-help articles. You are neither lazy nor do you lack willpower. 

In fact, you’ve had the strength to survive things others couldn’t imagine. That’s why you feel so exhausted all the time.

You mind and body have been consumed with looking out for and protecting yourself from threats. Even after those threats are no longer around.

Softening your internal voice

inner critic

Unlike our counterparts who grew up in healthy homes, challenges for us have not been enjoyable opportunities to learn and grow, but terrifying opportunities to fail and feel stupid.

Because our parents never taught us that we’re loved for who we are and not what we do, we believe our value comes in accomplishments. And If we don’t do things right the first time, we feel worthless. 

If our parents never taught us that we’re loved for who we are, we believe our value lies in our accomplishments. Click To Tweet

Our brains protect us from such pain by giving every reason not to follow through on goals we’ve set for ourselves. If we don’t follow through, no one can say we failed. Of course, this is all subconscious.

But as we practice standing up to that internal voice that compels us to self-sabotage, gradually our inner critic will soften. We demonstrate that we can follow through on our plans and do so imperfectly.

Failure feels like a win because it gives us information on how to proceed differently next time. And it provides proof we had the courage to try.

Every so-called overnight success has many years and failures behind them. Perfectionism means we’re expecting from ourselves something that’s taken others years to achieve. 

We’re not used to rewarding ourselves. But small rewards on the way to a goal provide incentive to stay the course. Self-compassion means being gentle with ourselves and celebrating incremental wins. 

Showing yourself you have value with changes in the way you treat yourself will produce a shift in your internal voice. You won’t have to force it, or feel like you’re lying to yourself.

What it means to have confidence and how to achieve it

confidence
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What is confidence and why do some people have it and others don’t? In a nutshell, it’s a sense of feeling good about yourself and displaying that to the world.

Often, this good feeling is unrelated to someone’s achievements or talents. That’s because true confidence comes from within.

It is different from arrogance which is an inflated sense of self importance. Simply feeling good about yourself has a positive influence on others. It inspires them and makes them want to be around you.

You don’t need to be outgoing to hold this unshakeable belief in yourself. There’s such a thing as quiet confidence that’s equally as captivating as the outspoken kind. More so, in fact.

If you’ve struggled with confidence the good news is it can be cultivated. Here are 5 ways to create more of this magic quality in our lives.

1. Trust yourself.

People who feel good about themselves tend to have faith in their decision-making abilities. Rather than overthinking, they trust their intuition to guide them.

So, instead of gathering a thousand opinions on what you should do, get quiet. Pay attention to your body and what it’s telling you. Listen to that inner voice or pray for wisdom to make the right choice.

Instead of gathering a thousand opinions on what you should do, get quiet. Pay attention to your body and what it's telling you. Click To Tweet

Confidence means you don’t rely on others to make decisions for you. Instead, you trust yourself to know what’s best for you. And if you need to redirect later, you can.

2. Communicate clearly.

Rather than avoid difficult conversations or conflict, you meet them head on. You set healthy boundaries that tell other people how to treat you.

You speak up for yourself and your needs. And you do so in a calm, clear voice. You never manipulate to get what you want. Because you know you have the power to get your needs met honestly.

3. Confidence means you take up space.

confidence

The way we carry ourselves reflects how we feel inside. Taking your rightful place in the world means standing tall with your shoulders back, not hunched.

It means speaking up when you have an opinion. And not allowing yourself to be interrupted when you’re talking.

It means allowing yourself to be seen and known. Not shrinking into the background like a wallflower.

4. Resilience is confidence.

Feeling good about yourself means you take responsible risks. And when things don’t go the way you planned, you pivot or redirect.

You’re not afraid of change. You understand that picking yourself up after a setback is part of life.

For that reason, there are no failures in your eyes. Only opportunities for personal growth.

5. Increase self-awareness.

Confidence includes self-knowledge and an accurate assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. You choose to focus on the things you’re good at rather than dwell on your shortcomings.

Confidence includes self-knowledge and an accurate assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Click To Tweet

If your needs went unmet in childhood, you likely became a people pleaser who focused on others instead of yourself. Flip the script and ask what you need in this moment.

It may take a lot of digging to figure out what you want when you’ve abandoned yourself for so long. If you have yet to take time to know yourself this way, you’re worth the effort.

Begin to journal your likes and dislikes. Commit to doing more of what you love and less of what you don’t. Start saying ‘no’ more often.

As you begin to advocate for yourself, your confidence will increase. For concrete strategies on how to overcome people pleasing and get on your own side, check out this course.

How to stop being invisible and stand out more

invisible
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As the result of growing up in an emotional desert, I learned to stay small, even invisible. I turned down countless opportunities to stand out starting in elementary school.

Despite constant comments about my beauty, I longed to be plain and blend in with everyone else. Now that I’m older, I regret not embracing the attention.

One of the lingering effects of emotional neglect is feeling invisible. If our upbringing taught us to smother our needs and emotions, we learned to shrink to win acceptance.

One of the lingering effects of emotional neglect is feeling invisible. Click To Tweet

Instead of taking our rightful place in the spotlight, we retire to the background, convincing ourselves that’s where we prefer to be. Or, we crave visibility but sabotage our heart’s desire to be seen and heard.

This is not our fault as it often stems from our upbringing. But, as adults, it is up to us to reparent ourselves and create the life we want to live.

Here are 5 ways to stop feeling invisible and start taking your rightful place at the table.

1 .Start the conversation

If you’ve grown up feeling like you should be seen and not heard, initiating conversation may be difficult. You wait to be asked before offering information about yourself.

That leaves the control over your visibility in someone else’s hands. Take back control and determine that you’ll volunteer information rather than letting someone monologue at you.

If you’re at a party or in a work meeting, make your presence known. Instead of waiting to be noticed or picked, choose yourself and share your ideas and opinions. It’s the only way people will know what you have to offer.

2. Say ‘no’ to stop feeling invisible

If you struggle with people pleasing, you may have grown up with the idea that your needs are less important than others’. You had to prioritize your parents’ or caregivers’ needs to stay in their good graces.

Though it will feel selfish at first, practice saying no to things you don’t want to do. Instead of defaulting to ‘yes’ when someone asks for your time and energy, make ‘no’ your default instead.

Once you start putting your needs first, you’ll feel more confident and connected to your inner self. People who stand up for what they want and don’t want are never invisible.

Once you start putting your needs first, you'll feel more confident and connected to your inner self. Click To Tweet

3. Self care

Take time for yourself to care for your needs. Rather than pushing through when you’re tired, take a rest. And let your people know you’re taking this time for yourself.

Vocalizing your needs and your intention to fulfill them will help improve your visibility. And when you take care of your needs, you lose the neediness and resentment that build when you expect others to fulfill them for you.

4. Speak up to stop feeling invisible

You may be used to people interrupting or talking over you. If you’re like me, you’ve trailed off when someone cut in while you were talking.

Refuse to defer to these rude people. Instead increase your volume slightly and continue talking as if you never heard them. Unless they’re especially boorish, they’ll stop and let you continue.

This lets yourself and everyone know that you intend to be heard. You are a person who takes her place at the table and will not let anyone shove her away from it.

5. Connect with your emotions.

We’ve established that emotional neglect is a common reason for feeling invisible. The answer lies in getting in touch with the emotions we detached from in order to survive.

Acknowledge and express your emotions as they come up rather than stuffing them down or ignoring them. Suppressed emotions come out sideways in the form of rage. That’s not the kind of visibility we want.

For helpful strategies on how to reconnect with repressed emotions, click here.