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I’ve been on a self-discovery journey the last few years, I’ve learned to accept my body and trust my instincts but I still have a massive issue with self-esteem. I doubt myself every time I try something new whether it is a relationship, work, or hobby. I’ve had successes and failures so I know I am capable. I’ve realized how much I’ve been holding back and missing out on, but I have no idea how to deal with these feelings. Do you have any advice on how to believe more in yourself and trust you can do it?
Thank you for listening,
Ms. Getting Up The Guts
Dearest Ms. Getting Up The Guts,
Self-doubt is a natural and normal part of the growth process, and it sounds like you’ve already started a really profound journey of growth! Congratulations on doing the work and continuing to push yourself to learn and grow! It’s not easy, and you deserve a pat on the back. That said, sometimes we can move through times when we’ve done a bunch of work, and some of it just isn’t sticking or resonating with us because there is one or two really deep-rooted issues that are still rearing their heads.
This is totally typical on a journey of self-discovery (it happened to me too, in a different way), and it just means that there are more areas to look deeper into. I think trusting yourself and your gifts is still a raw subject and one where there can be more light to shine. Body image issues and self-esteem issues are closely linked to issues of trust and self-love, and it’s normal for your mind to accept certain forms of trust more easily than others. For example, on the surface, you are being kinder with yourself when it comes to accepting yourself on the outside, but maybe you still don’t have as much trust or worth given to what’s going on in your mind or thought processes.
I don’t know if you’re working with a therapist on your journey, but if you’re not I highly recommend meeting with one a few times and getting right down to the root of these issues. The therapist might have suggestions specific to you and your history that can help clarify for you where the real root of these feelings might lie. It is such meaningful “work” to do because once you figure out why your mind goes to those places, it will be so much easier to avoid the feelings of inadequacy you get…or even to stop them altogether.
In the meantime, something that always helps me is to remind myself that what I’m telling myself about my fears and worries may feel very real to me…but might not actually be based in reality. Sometimes just lovingly accepting that your thoughts might be just that, thoughts, and not an expression of how other people view you or your ideas can be very liberating. Give yourself the grace to be less than perfect if need be. It can be cheesy to say out loud, but the expressions about the joy of being in the journey really have rung true for me over the years. Try to focus on the process instead of the outcome. There is so much value and many lessons to be learned in the process of getting from point A to point B. Focusing on the perceived “success” at the end can keep you from getting the most out of the experience.