Welcome back to The Self-Worth Challenge. Each week I am addressing a topic related to self-worth and I include a few questions at the end to help you consider how you value yourself and how to strengthen it further.
If you are new to the challenge you might want to start at the beginning and work your way through the series. The very first post is linked here.
Although this will only take you five minutes or so, it will set you up to consider this aspect of your self over the coming week.
Last week in ‘Talk to Yourself’ we explored how our inner voice impacts our life a how to improve our self talk. This week we are moving on to owning our strengths.
In ‘Name Your Strengths’ you listed your strengths and assessed how that made you feel. Now I would like to take that a step further by really taking on board all the talents and strengths that you have.
When we don’t do this, we still have our talents but we stop ourselves from making best use of them. Whilst being an extreme example it is a little like a bird who won’t accept he can fly. Even though it is a talent of his, he will not make use of it and develop the skill until he really acknowledges that it is his to act on.
Now obviously birds in reality innately know that they can fly just as we innately do many things. However, like the bird analogy, we can so easily limit ourselves by dismissing our skills, knowledge and life expertise.
With this in mind I have two short challenges for you to do over this week.We can so easily limit ourselves by dismissing our talents, skills and life expertise. Click To Tweet
The Self-Worth Challenge Questions
1. Ask others
Ask a few other people to name 3 or 4 strengths they can see in you.
Would you tell me three or four of my strengths?
This can feel quite a risky thing to do but it is incredible what can come out of it.
One important point here is to only ask those people that will respect you. In life there are individuals who will use any chance to criticise others in either a veiled or very obvious way. That need is their own, not about those they are criticising and it is most certainly not what we are looking for here. Pick friends, colleagues or family who know you and will take your question seriously.
About 20 years ago I asked a range of people this question. I was nervous but I went ahead anyway. The answers blew me away. The range of qualities that other people could see in me was amazing and it broadened my understanding of my skills.
Some strengths mentioned by others I could see in myself and some were traits that I didn’t expect to have associated with me. Looking back there was one that really surprised me. It was my boss at the time saying that I was ambitious. I did not recognise that in myself back then even though, with hindsight, it was very definitely there. His observation stayed with me and I began to recognise it and then, with time, to utilise it.
Once you have asked people, write down what strengths others identified in you. Take a moment to look at them and consider these questions.
What can you identify with?
What surprised you?
Is there anything you are just plain uncomfortable with? If so, what does that tell you? Is it that it is not correct or is it that you don’t like to acknowledge this as a strength you have?
For example, you might be told you are confident when it is not something you associate with yourself. However, if someone else can see it in you then you might want to consider that it is actually a part of you at certain times.
So now to help illustrate a bit further I am going to use my recent experience with this task. Whilst I did this years ago I thought I would do it again and see what insights it might give me now. I asked a friend to name my strengths. She said…
You have determination. You push yourself out of your comfort zone. You are patient and kind and you can laugh at yourself.
I can accept all of those as me and there are no big surprises. However, the one I feel least comfortable hearing is about my ability to push myself out of my comfort zone.
It is true, I know that, but it leaves me feeling a little exposed to hear it. What is going on there?
Well on reflection, it is once again to do with a discomfort in acknowledging my own ambition. The messages I received about ambition in my childhood were less than favourable. A part of me still feels safer to keep things low key. The reason I push myself out of my comfort zone is because I am ambitious but it still feels a little risky to fully own that part of myself. To really utilise my ambition I need to fully acknowledge it as a part of me. I have come a long way with this but clearly still have some work to do, as my discomfort highlights.
So back to you, see how you get on looking at your list and feel free to ask me any questions if you are unsure. Now onto the second challenge.
2. Say it
So now you have a list of your strengths from yourself in Part 4 and from other people. Find a time when you can be alone for a minute or two and say out loud what your strengths are. So here I am not just looking for ‘intelligent’ said out loud but ‘I am intelligent’. Even better say this to yourself in front of a mirror or take a video of yourself on your phone and watch it back.
So for me there are lots of things I could say but “I am ambitious” would be an important one.
Do it and ask yourself these questions…
How does it feel? Okay, great, uncomfortable or awful?
What is it like seeing that and hearing those words. Do you look and sound like you believe it?
When we are comfortable with a part of ourselves it is absolutely natural for us to be able to say it and hear it and when we do say it, it is clear that we believe it.
However, when we don’t believe something, or it is slightly uncomfortable for us, we won’t say it with conviction. By beginning to verbalise our strengths we start to activate our brain in a positive way.
Standing up and saying ‘I am confident’ when we are a little unsure of our confidence helps focus our mind on confidence. The more we work on saying it with conviction the more our subconscious mind understands that it is something we want to identify with in our lives. It is not about faking it but rather about asking for it. As we turn our focus towards something we want, we begin to discover it.As we begin to turn our focus towards something we want, we begin to discover it. Click To Tweet
If confidence is a strength you don’t see in yourself but others do then turn your attention towards it. Try it out. Say it. Amazingly you will start to notice it in your life. We are not talking about an overnight transformation but we are talking about noticing moments of confidence here and there until you can begin to see it in so many places you wont be able to ignore it anymore.
Good luck with this weeks challenges.
The next topic on The Self-Worth Challenge: Express Yourself
If you are excited by the prospect of this challenge please tell your friends. It is a great thing to do and be able to share.
I would be love to know any aspect of this that you would like to share with me. I am aware that these journeys are often very personal, so if you would rather not it would still be great to know you are following along. I will respond to all comments.
So what is next?
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