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Self Affirmation // 3 Women + Their Journey Toward Self Confidence

June 8, 2018


Becca Grabner

You’re not good enough.

You’re not smart enough.

You’re not wanted.

There’s a mean girl living in my brain, and all she does is speak negativity on repeat. There are times her voice is louder than others, but try as I may to ignore her, she doesn’t seem to go away. Even one of my girlfriends who I view to be one of the most confident women — who holds her head high and makes decisions without second-guessing — has admitted to me she has her own personal Neuro Negative Nancy. These voices of negativity are holding us back, it’s time that we figure out how to quiet them.

I have recently heard a buzz about people using positive self-talk to improve their confidence and self-worth and that it was actually quite effective. So the LIY team and I [this is Becca, by the way] decided to give it a try. Below you will find the experiences of three women, taking three different approaches to self-affirmation and honest thoughts on how practicing positivity affected our mental spaces. It’s our hope that you will take a look at our experiences and that it might inspire you to step out of your comfort zone and give a new mental health habit a try. Mental Space: High Expectations

I hold myself to inordinately high standards. I expect myself to do the right thing in all situations, and any falling short of that means beating myself up for weeks, months or even years to come depending on how big I fail. I expect myself to succeed at work, at home, and well, actually in all situations. And when I let others down, it is an extra hard dose of self-loathing. My head knows that everyone makes mistakes and it’s impossible for me to expect perfection out of myself, but still I continue to hear that inner voice of “Why did I do that?”, “How could I say that?!”, “I am such a failure” or “I’ll never be good/smart/pretty/disciplined enough.”

I am tired of listening to that voice. So I have decided to try and literally drown it out with positivity. Using my own voice to affirm myself that I am enough and that no one is perfect! I am hoping that along this journey I will find a way to make peace with my mistakes and to let myself off the hook just a little.

The Process:

I wrote some mantras, so to speak, on post-it-notes and stuck them to my bathroom mirror. Each day when I found a moment to myself, I would look myself in the eyes and tell myself out loud that my loved ones don’t expect me to be perfect, and that I can’t expect myself to be perfect either. I would sometimes say something that I was currently kicking myself for and verbalize that I forgave myself. To be honest, this was pretty uncomfortable, especially at first. I felt a bit like I was an actor memorizing lines because I am so uncomfortable with saying positive and encouraging things to myself.

The Results:

After a week of practicing positive self-talk I can’t say that negativity in my head is gone, but I have definitely noticed a difference in my response. As soon as I hear the all familiar negative voice, the next thought that automatically pops into my head is “I can’t expect myself to be perfect”. It’s a definite improvement from where I was before. I definitely plan on continuing this habit to see how much more I can change my mindset over time.

Book Recommendation:

If you struggle with high expectations for yourself, I would highly recommend “Present over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist. This book really spoke to my heart and helped me to start giving myself a little bit of grace.

Mental Space: 

Hi, I’m Erin and I constantly tell myself that I am not capable or smart enough to complete this, that or the other. I am realizing that as I get older, this lie has started engraining itself deeper and deeper into my brain. The number of times I have caught myself saying “I can’t do that…I’m not smart enough…She’s an expert, I’m not…” in response to ideas or thoughts that others have thrown out recently is too many to count. I back down to being brave and adventurous to new projects because I believe that there is no way possible that I could accomplish such a thing. I’ve become a victim of the “perfect” scandal where we believe we have to know 100% about everything before tackling anything. It’s paralyzing, exhausting and not life-giving.

The Process:

To help end these lies about my intelligence level or ability to do something, I did a couple of things [apparently I needed a LOT of help ;)] To begin with, I started admitting out loud what I’m struggling with. Instead of simply quietly allowing an idea to pass with no real reason as to why, I would admit that my hesitations on moving forward are stemming from my belief that I don’t possess the ability or smarts to do it. The ironic thing about this is however when I would start to say those words, my brain would start to believe differently and all of a sudden rather than having a suppressing feeling internally that I CAN’T, I started to think “well wait, why can’t I?! Maybe I actually CAN…” Additionally, I started journaling. While my goal was to write every day, the reality is that I didn’t successfully make that happen, but when I did, I would simply write 1-2 things down that I was proud of that I accomplished that day. This allowed for me to get in touch with the reality that “hey – I do have things that I am capable of and smart enough to accomplish.”

The Results:

While I still have room for growth in this department, being aware that the feeling of being incapable is a struggle for me has been so freeing in itself. It’s amazing what being honest with yourself and others about your struggles can do for alleviating some of those inner lies. As much as I love journaling, I believe that talking about it 0ut loud with friends and family has been the most helpful resource in this experiment. There is power in admitting your struggles and I highly encourage you to try it. You may be amazed at how empowered you feel after doing so.

Book Recommendation:

I recently purchased Girl, Wash Your Face after hearing SO many positive things about it from hundreds of women in our community. The tagline alone on the cover “Stop believing the lies about who you are so that you can become who you were meant to be” drew me in because YES, THIS. I also picked up this “I’m Doing My Best” journal to write down my daily Additionally, this 100 Days to Brave devotional has been jam-packed with helpful nuggets and mindset adjustments during this journey.
Mental Space: Rejected

I’m Steph, and I’m a self-rejecter. That’s right, SELF-rejecter. I am so blessed to be surrounded by loving, supportive people yet constantly in social situations I feed myself lie after lie of not being accepted. “Don’t offer up your ideas, no one will like them.” “You’re not as _______ as everyone here, you don’t fit it” [You can pretty much fill in that blank with anything, unfortunately, that thought happens a lot!]. The only person treating me that way is me. In fact, if someone else said things like that to me I would respectfully yet emotionally distance myself from them because I don’t deserve to be treated that way –  No one does. So why do I allow myself to treat me that way? The self-rejection stops now.
Rather than allowing myself to be consumed with these lies, I will cling to the promise I know is true – I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am uniquely who God designed me to be, and I am accepted by Him.

The Process:

The music I listen to can have such an impact on my overall mood and mental space. I have found that when my mind is consumed with self-rejection I can push those thoughts away by refocusing on the words of songs that speak truth to me. When I begin to feel those thoughts flooding my mind, rather than submitting to them, I turn to music that reminds me about Who always accepts me. Lord, I Need You by Matt Maher is one of my most frequent listens because it speaks so much to how I need to rely on God in times of temptation to think ill of myself.

The Results:

I’m sure there will always be a part of me that struggles with feeling like I don’t quite fit in (it’s human nature I think), but I can confidently say that this process has made me more aware of this tendency and therefore quicker to redirect myself into a more positive space.

Book Recommendation:

If you are someone who struggles with feelings of rejection, I highly recommend “Univited” by Lysa Terkeurst. While I could not relate to the root cause of Lysa’s rejection, several parts of the book felt like she was speaking words directly from my mind – and realizing there are others that feel the way I do is a great first step in feeling accepted.
Even though the process of creating a positive mental space starts with you and you alone, it really is more effective when we support each other along the way. The voices that echo in our heads are not easily silenced, and we need all the help we can get! If you are interested in joining our team in this journey towards self-confidence, let us know! We want to be here to support you through this. Let’s all link arms, and kick that mental mean girl to the curb!

share this with your best girlfriends:

  1. Susan Jeffries says:

    I needed this so badly! We use opened our second business and my husband and I are drowning. I need some self care(: I plan to start the books you suggested this summer! thanks!

  2. Love this! Keep spreading that positivity! I am reading (and loving) Girl, Wash Your Face and I have to read it in chunks because it’s such a mindset shift — I know it will be ongoing. I will check out Present over Perfect. You girls rock and thanks for sharing such great empowerment messages!

  3. Sam says:

    Love this! Thanks for sharing! ????

  4. Mary kay says:

    Thank You

  5. Megan says:

    Think this is something every woman needs to hear! It’s so true that we’re our own worst critics! Steph thanks for the reminder to rely on God in tough times! And Becca I like your idea about actually speaking positive thoughts out loud! Definitely will be trying some of these tips and books! On a more lighthearted note– Becca can you share a link for your floral top? It’s so pretty!

  6. Lori says:

    I am absolutely loving and relating to Breaking Up with Perfect by Amy Carroll and I think you might love it too, Steph. Thanks for sharing your journeys. It’s sad that so many of us struggle with perfection but also encouraging to know we are not alone! Cheers for recognizing and doing something about it!

  7. Thank you so much for being vulnerable and sharing your struggles! There are so many women (including myself) that need to hear we are not alone. As I am reading this post I am thinking, “omg, me too, me too” and funny enough, I have read many of those books you recommended lol! There is a whole tribe of us out here that is cheering you on! You all are amazing! Keep up the GREAT work 🙂

  8. Carla says:

    Loved “ Girl Wash Your Face…”. Think I may need to read it again!

    Would love to see a part 2 of this post.

    Thanks for the book recommendations!!

  9. Erin says:

    I so need this! i think i’ll get the Girl wash your face book!

  10. Kari says:

    This is awesome ladies and I will work on the journey to self-acceptance with you! 🙂

  11. JOY says:

    Thank you! I appreciate that you tackled the topic with three different perspectives. They were all great but I specifically related with Steph. I have made my playlist and that will be my “go to”.

  12. Hillary says:

    ❤️ this.

  13. Antoinette Hernandez says:

    Love this! Can I recommend Brene Brown?! She is my Spirit Animal!!! Check her out on YouTube, or check out all of her books: Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, and Rising Strong! AMAZING!
    And listen to her on SuperSoul Sunday with Oprah on YouTube too!

  14. Tracey says:

    Thank you! Such a great post! And, I too, would love to read a Part 2.

  15. Tracy says:

    Great post! I just discovered Mel Robbins and The Five Second Rule and have shared it with so many friends. Love the idea that we can stop that negative voice in our heads and turn it around once we acknowledge it. And that we can be that positive force to all the lovely women that surround us. That we can all be brave and courageous and push through our doubts. You should add her to your library! Time to download Girl, Wash Your Face.

  16. Shannon says:

    You’re Already Amazing by Holley Gerth is wonderful too!

  17. Laura says:

    Our Life Group is going through the book Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick. Here is the write up about it, and it so good– well worth a read and a re-read!!! 🙂
    “Do you have a nagging internal voice that speaks a constant stream of fear, insecurity, or condemnation to your heart? You’re not alone! Furtick says he fights negative messages daily—and wins. Learn how to tune in to God’s quiet, empowering call by silencing the enemy’s lies and embracing the truth.”

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