It’s absolutely impossible to have healthy relationships if you’re not the one in them. Far too often I hear women say that they lost themselves. They say things to me like, “I don’t even know who I am any more” or “I never would’ve allowed someone to treat me like this before.” Fortunately, though, the road to finding yourself again — or for the first time — is right in front of you. You simply have to dare to take it.
Here are five steps to finding you:
1. Know what healthy self-esteem is AND practice it. Healthy self-esteem is holding yourself in warm regard despite your imperfections and knowing that your worth is equal to that of every other human being on the planet. Others may be smarter, louder, quieter, faster, slower, more out-going, less outgoing, etc., than you—AND—you are just as worthy as they are. The trick is to stop comparing yourself with others and, instead, begin to love yourself for being inherently you. (Healthy Self-Esteem)
2. Know what healthy boundaries are AND use them always. There will always be haters out there and you have to be able to spot them when you meet them. The trick is to not give them any power over you. What people say, how they act and the choices they make often have nothing to do with you. Healthy boundaries allow you to filter the messages that are coming at you every day and to have a healthy sense of discernment when it comes to which ones to take in and which ones to leave out. Healthy boundaries are a great system of protection (for you and for others) when you know how to use them; learn how to use them. Healthy Boundaries
3. Don’t allow the opinions of others to take you off course. People will always have an opinion about what you’re doing, how you’re acting and what you’re saying. Realize that opinions are NOT facts. Regardless of whether you’re talking about how to parent, how to reach a goal or how to have a successful relationship, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. You will get countless different opinions from countless different people. Stop allowing someone else’s opinions make you question your own. Instead, learn to take a step back and figure out what you believe—and then be ready for possible disagreement.
4. Cultivate your instincts. Cultivating your instincts requires that you actually slow down enough to realize you have them. On any given day our instincts are trying to talk to us. This communication can be subtle (like that uneasy feeling you get when a certain stranger is asking for help) or it can be loud (when every fiber of your being is telling you it’s not safe). Sometimes your energy will perk up when you talk about a certain option, yet lower when you talk about a different one. Pay attention to those instinctual messages and begin to embrace them as though they are coming from your dearest friend—because they are.
5. Listen to your wisest voice. Once you can recognize your instincts and internal messages, you next have to have the courage to listen to them. When your parents are telling you to stay in that miserable marriage, yet your instincts are telling you that leaving will be the best thing for you and the kids—listen . . . to YOU. If your friend is telling you to not think so much of yourself that you ask for a raise, yet your instincts or wisest voice are telling you to ask for that raise, then GO FOR IT. People in your life will tell you what to do all the time—but their answers are based on who they are—not who you are. You decide what’s best for you. As you get to know yourself better, these decisions will become easier and easier.
Finding yourself requires tuning in to you. Pay attention to how people leave you feeling, how situations impact you, what things you find important in life, what brings you joy and what brings you sorrow. All of these ingredients are what make up who you are. Do you like to laugh? Are you quiet or outgoing or a little of both? Do you like to go out in big groups or do you prefer more intimate gatherings with a few close friends? If you don’t know, start trying different things out and tune in. The ones that feel “right” will resonate with you, the ones that don’t—won’t. Get clarity about your values, your likes/dislikes and your dreams. And once you have clarity, follow them, go after them and own them. No one can tell you who you are except you. Find yourself, embrace yourself, and most important—BE YOURSELF.
Challenge: Finding yourself requires not giving others so much power over your life and your choices. Take the reigns of your life. Don’t allow others to tell you who you should be, make decisions for yourself that determine your fate. Figure out who you are and then confidently step into you again.