Spring officially started last week and I for one am saying thank goodness. Winter is over, the days are warm, blossom is sprouting on the trees, and it definitely feels like spring is in the air.
When we are in the middle of winter, it can sometimes feel like hard work getting through the short days and cold nights. You don’t want to leave the house when the rain is driving down, it’s freezing or it’s foggy. Even going to the office can feel like an uphill challenge, never mind if you work for yourself and you don’t feel motivated to get started on your day. The same with socialising, sometimes it’s easier to come up with excuses and stay in and take to the covers.
Let’s face it we all have times we’d rather curl up on the sofa where it’s cosy and warm with a film and a takeaway. How many of us have had times like that when no matter the weather you do not want to leave the house? You don’t want to go to another office get-together or a mutual friend’s party. You don’t relish the thought of standing around making conversation with people you don’t know that well. You only want to stay after work for a quick drink rather than a full evening because you just want to get home. You can’t be bothered to go out at a weekend even to go to the supermarket, and anyway these days you can have your groceries delivered. So you stick on a boxset or Netflix and hibernate.
And when those times hit us, how many us feel guilty about it? Guilty that we’re feeling low but can’t really explain why. Guilty because we know we have so much to feel grateful for, but can’t muster the sentiment. Guilty because others are worse off than us. Guilty because despite all of those things, you still can’t be bothered.
Social media doesn’t help. There are so many representations of other people’s perfect, glossy, sunny and marvellous lives, that it makes you feel even worse. You open Instagram or Face Book and are constantly confronted by images where everyone else seems to have it all together.
So what do you do? Well most of us hide our feelings. Guilt makes you feel ashamed and you don’t want to draw attention to that. So you pretend you’re ok. You hope it’ll be short-lived so there’s no point in worrying people. You don’t want them breathing down your neck anyway.
You might hesitate when someone asks you if you’re ok and say “yeah I’m not too bad”. It’s half-hearted but most people won’t notice. Even if they look twice and ask “are you really ok?”, you immediately defend yourself and shrug it off as tiredness or overwork. How many of you would ask for help?
It’s important to remember that this happens to all of us. Every single one of us. Even the most successful women. Women who have achieved great things on the world stage, athletes, scientists, politicians, medics, have all felt a lack of self-belief, positivity and motivation at some stage. And some still do.
And that’s ok. None of us are perfect. We’re perfectly imperfect. We are our own harshest critic when we feel we aren’t measuring up to some ideal of how we should be, how we should feel or what we should be doing.
I know, I’ve felt it too. I work for myself, I rely on myself alone for financial support, business planning and general decision making. I’m lucky in that I have a few good friends and family I can share with and be honest about how I’m feeling. Even though at times my default behaviour is to hide, work through it alone and then share afterwards. I’m grateful for the “no bullshit “ people in my life that don’t let me get away with that. Instead they don’t criticise but just offer unwavering support and trust that I’ll find a way. And I’m learning. Every time I struggle with something, I’m growing.
It doesn’t matter whether experiences are pleasant or unpleasant, they will always teach me something. About myself, how I deal with things, what’s important to me and my coping mechanisms. Sometimes when I’m feeling at my worst that’s when I’ll have the biggest realisations. So I’ve learned to trust what’s happening and to go with it. Sometimes I know I need to wallow, I need to take time to reflect, to process. I need to have a duvet and DVD day.
I didn’t acquire this learning overnight. I’ve been a coach for over 5 years and I’m continually learning from my coaches and mentors, my clients and the personal development books I always have on the go.
Are your experiences similar? What have been the situations where you’ve felt like this? What have you done to help yourself? What have you learned about yourself?
Today I’m a Leadership and Lifestyle coach and I work exclusively with women like you. The most common challenge my clients face is tackling their self-belief, positivity and motivation and most importantly their self-confidence. They feel that there are too many things overwhelming them and that they’ll never be good enough at what they do. They doubt themselves when they’re capable of achieving anything they set their minds to. I work with them to understand what’s undermining their self-confidence. We put strategies in place to deal with what might be holding them back.
The next time you feel low and de-motivated; think about something that you’ve achieved that you’re proud of. Or a time in your life when you felt at your best. Acknowledge the hard work, knowledge and experience you have which has played a part in your success.
If you let it, the challenging stuff you accomplish can build inner confidence in your abilities.
I look forward to hearing from you.