Posts in personal growth
Confidence
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As a woman I can honestly say that one of the most attractive things about a man is confidence. This is one of the things that I noticed right away about my fiancé. I’m sure if I were to ask men, they would agree that confidence is attractive in women too. Social media today has impacted people’s confidence and view of themselves. We look daily at photos of people who post their “best” life and then we compare this to our “worst” self. We become critics of our own appearance, jobs, achievements, talents, and abilities. So then, how does one become confident? Maybe you need confidence in your job, relationship, or even just having confidence in yourself. I cannot speak for everyone but I can share how I have approached this problem in my past.

1)      Know your worth!

One hindrance in having or gaining confidence is when you believe the common lie that you are not worth anything. When you believe this lie it makes it easy for people to treat you like a doormat.  As well, it can prevent you from sticking up for yourself, making healthy boundaries and healthy relationships with people. This lie can spread into so many other lies that we believe about ourselves. The truth is that you are worth respect and you are valuable. There is no one else on this earth that is just like you and so that makes you valuable. Confidence is knowing your worth and being able to communicate this with other people by putting up those healthy boundaries and not allowing people to treat you like a doormat. Teach people how to treat you!

2)      Stop the negative self- talk

As mentioned above that little lie that we believe about ourselves can spread into so many other lies we believe about ourselves. What ends up happening when we give into these lies is that we develop negative self-talk. This can come in all sorts of forms and can affect so many different areas of our lives. Maybe it is in your relationships and you believe the lie “no one likes me” or “no one cares about me” or “they think I’m stupid and so I must be”. This can even affect your job or career. Maybe you pass up on opportunities in your profession because you do not believe that you have the qualifications or think that you would be good at that job. The list can go on and on. This negative self-talk cuts right into our confidence because we are often telling ourselves that we “cannot” do something whatever that something is. To regain your confidence back you have to change this negative self-talk to positive self-talk. This is when you need to be kind to yourself and not allow those negatives thoughts about yourself to have power over you. Instead practice telling yourself some positive thoughts such has “I have family and friends who care about me”, “I am intelligent and capable”, “I can do this”, “what I have to say is important”. Confidence is being able to truly believe in yourself.

3)      Understand that failure does not define you

Ok so maybe you were able to scrounge up enough confidence and courage to do something that scared you and you failed at it. Maybe that girl or guy did not agree to go out with you, or maybe your boss chose someone else for that promotion after you put yourself out there. One important thing to understand when it comes to building confidence is that failure does not define you. When you make a mistake or do not succeed at something right away it does not mean that you are a failure. It means that you simply made a mistake or that something just did not work out for you this time around. Our society takes rejection and failure so personal when at times that rejection and failure has nothing to do with you as a person. Sometimes getting rejected by that girl or guys is not about you but maybe that person is not ready for a relationship. This ties into the first point about knowing your worth because when you know your worth, rejection and failure does not have power over you. You are able to separate that rejection and failure from your identity and, who knows, maybe even learn something from it. True confidence is being able to take rejection and failure well and not allow it to control you.

Another important point to note is that you are not going to be good at everything you do. You may succeed at things and fail at others. Being confident in yourself means knowing your strengths and weaknesses and loving yourself regardless.

4)      Surround yourself with confident people

I can remember two very distinct times in my life where my self-confidence and self-esteem had plummeted. Both times was right after I had been rejected by someone. At this point in my life I had not learned that I did not need to give power to that rejection. I remember in these moments realizing that I had no self-confidence or self-esteem.  Both times I did something that really helped - I surrounded myself with confident and healthy people. I started hanging out with people that were confident women and who not only were confident in themselves but were able to instill confidence in me. I learned confidence by example, while also being reaffirmed about how important and valuable I was myself. It was not overnight but, after time, these people became very instrumental in my journey of gaining confidence in myself. Having confident, healthy people in your life is not just important for learning to be confident but also in life in general.   

I hope these tips help you to become a better confident you.

What things have helped you to become more confident?

4 Factors to Consider When Making Life Decisions
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Maybe it’s what job to take, what career to explore, who to date, who to marry, or what to do with an unplanned pregnancy… Depending on the stage of life you’re in, these life decisions can be big.

We understand.  We help women and their partners navigate choices about pregnancy options and relationships almost every day. 

Sometimes life decision can have an impact on your future and your relationships in both negative and positive ways.  For this reason, it’s important to take some time to think about what you wish to do so you can feel confident in your decision(s) as you move forward in your life.

Here are four factors that are helpful to consider when making life decisions:

1) Information

Our centre is pro-information.  We encourage our clients to do a bit of sleuthing to find out as much as they can to prepare themselves for what may come as a result of their decisions and choices.  No matter what life decision you are making, finding out as much as possible about the different directions you can go in and the different choices you can make will help you make a fully informed decision.  Knowing as much as you can will also help you emotionally prepare and feel more confident in the direction you choose to go.

2) Goals

Everyone wants to do well in life, to move forward and be successful at achieving what they hope to.  In one way or another, we all have goals.  Whether our goals or ambitions are to achieve lots of admirable things, achieve some admirable things, or to not have goals or ambitions, we all have an idea of what we want our life to look like and we make choices daily that either help us get there or don’t help us get where we want to be. 

Considering your goals when you make a life decision is quite natural in many situations.  Often our first concern is that life decisions may interfere with us reaching our goals. It’s important to consider whether it’s possible to find ways to achieve your goals while pursuing new life directions or other avenues.  Is there still a way to finish your education while taking on a dream job prior to finishing your degree?   Do the life decisions you’re making still allow you to achieve your financial, relational, personal goals?

3) Values

Values and goals can be closely related for many people.  Sometimes they overlap.  Some of our goals may also be to live out our values.  What we value is important to us.  Just like goals, many people make choices daily that help them live out what is significant to them.  Values are central to an individual and they don’t often change very quickly or frequently.  They are more often developed throughout life based on upbringing, family of origin, religion and/or experiences. 

Because what we value is often most important to us and who we are, it’s also essential to consider our values when making life decisions.  In any situation, is there a way for us to make our life decisions align with who we are and what we value?

4) Future

Naturally, when we think about making big life decisions we think about our future, at least in some respects.  Sometimes it’s easy to think about our futures with certain ‘big’ life decisions.  But if it’s not a big decision we can quickly make a decision without a thought.  Though often not detrimental, our decisions and actions (even the small and insignificant ones) can have an influence on our lives and the lives of those around us.  So, if you have a decision to make, visualizing your future and how the different choices you can make will influence it (and could influence your relationships or those around you) is also a valuable exercise to help you process your decisions and ultimately feel confident in the choices you make.

Although this article is generally focused on any life decisions, if you are facing an unplanned pregnancy (whether you think it’s ‘a big life decision’ or ‘not a significant decision at all’) know that we are here to provide any support you feel you need as you evaluate your options.  Call, email, text or chat with us today!

 

You Should Go and Love Yourself

It’s the month of love. 

There’s lots of focus on romance and relationships in February.  Some of us may be tired of that focus. Maybe because we enjoy being single or maybe because we are single but waiting for that special someone. It isn’t ideal to see a huge focus on things that you can’t relate to or that give reminders of your potential unhappiness.  Valentine’s Day is usually marketed towards couples and lovers but in the last several years it seems that many people have begun to address singles even more on Valentine’s Day too.  There are more and more blog posts focused on singleness on Valentine’s, but this blog post won’t be about singleness at Valentine’s… or couples things. This post is for everyone.

Regardless of where you find yourself on the romantic relationships front, there is one person that will always be in your life forever, who is worth learning to love and being kind to, through the highs and lows of life…. YOURSELF! There is no time like the present to make sure that you are respecting and valuing yourself so that you can invest with excellence in the world around you!

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So how can you start treating yourself like the special person you are? Here’s some ideas on how to start valuing YOUrself:

Don’t Compare Yourself

Social media has many benefits but it is a comparison trap. We are all unique human beings on a journey of life. When we look at social media we can forget that. Everyone puts their best foot forward on Instagram and Facebook. Often they only share the good moments, the exciting moments or the 700th selfie they took that they spent 10 minutes editing. Next time you’re scrolling through your feed remember to have some grace for yourself and where you are at in life; remember that everyone is unique and everyone has a different story. Celebrate that you are different, celebrate where you are in life and enjoy the little moments you get to experience!

Affirm Yourself

Positive self-talk is important. What are you telling yourself? Is it kind? Oftentimes we are really good at loving and encouraging other people but we would never dream of saying the types of things we say to ourselves to a friend that we care about. Positive self-talk doesn’t mean we don’t recognize the reality of who we are as imperfect human beings, it means we speak truthful encouragement to ourselves. Realistic encouragement can empower us by reminding our brains that we are valuable and that we have qualities and abilities to offer the world.

Find Community

You might think being in relationship with other people is a strange tip when you’re trying to value yourself. But it can be really helpful to find people who love you where you are at but also encourage and support your growth as an individual. Good friends will encourage you in your talents, abilities and strengths, which boosts your confidence. Good friends will also help you achieve your goals and spur you on to become an even better version of yourself. Good friends shouldn’t make this a super painful process for you. Though it may hurt a bit to be challenged, they should also love you and challenge you because they want the best for you. We are all human and part of valuing ourselves is recognizing our weaknesses, struggles and humanity. Being known well by a supportive community will help us grow and be confident in our uniqueness and who we are becoming.

Help Others

Here’s another one that may not immediately come to mind when we consider how to become better at respecting ourselves. It might seem backwards to think about someone else in order to value ourselves but this actually does work. By taking the focus off of ourselves we can actually feel more optimistic about ourselves. Why? It feels good to connect with other humans, help people and see others thrive. It gives us purpose and meaning to invest in other people and that can make us feel good about ourselves for how we care for others.

Set Boundaries

Valuing yourself includes recognizing that you are a special person that has needs as well. You have limits on your time and cannot give your time to everyone. Valuing yourself means taking care of yourself and resting too. Valuing yourself also means that you respect that not everyone can have your time, your body or your compassion. Setting boundaries reserves your attention, emotions and intimacy for those that you have decided to give to. If you give yourself to everyone then you will eventually deplete your energy, drain yourself of emotion and lack the ability to share yourself with those you actually do want to share these aspects of life with. Setting boundaries helps you to feel confident about your relationships and abilities. You will be able to give 100 percent to the people and activities in your life and will feel most fulfilled because you are not drained in doing so. You will also feel confident in yourself because you will be able to give to others with excellence. You may also discover that setting boundaries creates more two-way, give-and-take relationships in your life. These types of healthy relationships will be a benefit to viewing yourself positively too!

What do you do to value yourself? What kinds of things do you say to yourself or do to help you grow in self-respect?

New Year, New Goals: How to Keep Your Resolutions

New Year… new you… new goals! Right?

The new year is a great time to look back on last year and prepare for the upcoming year.  People get excited about making new goals and resolutions and swear they “won’t be doing that again!”; especially when it comes to relationships.  It seems that resolutions related to physical fitness are most popular.  But people also resolve to make healthy choices and routines related to their own mental, emotional and/or spiritual health as well. 

Sometimes it doesn’t last very long though.  Strava conducted research that suggests that January 12 is the day that most people begin to give up on their new years resolutions.  That’s means we are almost reaching the weekend where our best intentions and efforts will begin to wither. 

So how do we keep our resolutions beyond January 12? Here are two tips to try:

1.         Create good goals

Goals are really hard to attain and maintain if they’re impossible to reach to begin with.  Making sure that your goal is SMART will help you keep striving towards it.  If you don’t feel a resolution is manageable or you feel you won’t ever “make it” then you won’t be likely to keep trying.  Make your resolution(s) S - specific. M – measurable. A - attainable. R - realistic. T - time-based.

If you are having trouble with this click here for help.

2.     Pursue accountability

Two are better than one.  There’s nothing like a friend telling you “you promised you would go on a run with me” to get you moving, especially if you’re a people-pleaser.  It’s a lot easier to brush off exercise when it’s not scheduled or planned.  Making your friends or family part of your new resolution can be beneficial.  Whether they reach out to remind you about your goal or they are your ‘workout buddy’, another person can encourage us to push on (or through) when we may not feel like it.  Maybe you’re not a people-pleaser like me so other people aren’t a good motivator.  If that’s the case, find something else that will motivate you and use it.  Maybe you’re also ‘thrifty’ like me and paying for a gym membership will encourage you to actually use the money you spent and not let it go to waste.  Find your motivator or accountability and use it to support your desire to fulfill your goals for 2019.

If you feel comfortable to share some of your resolutions from this year or year’ past feel free. Also, what are some of the ways you find help you stick to your goals?