'How do I know I am good?'

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Finding things to appreciate each day can help reduce stress. Jane reflects on ideas to support us in April, Stress Awareness Month.

One of the people we are working with asked a powerful question recently in a group workshop:

‘How do I know I am good?’

I reflected on this as it raises many issues.

Our sense of self-esteem is vital to our well-being. The question expresses insecurity which we all feel at different times. Our ability to be vulnerable (Am I good enough?) is an essential part of connecting, innovating and adapting as a human being. Brené Brown’s work on this is transformative (watch her hereand we regularly discuss in our workshops how we can handle this apparent paradox: We want to be ‘strong’ and lead others effectively but the only way we can genuinely do this is by being honest about our own fears and vulnerabilities

Going back to the question above, it begs another one:

‘Who defines ‘good’?'

OK, who has the time or energy to consider such questions? But if we don’t do so, we may find ourselves being drawn in to others’ definitions of ‘good’. And if those definitions don’t match our own, based on our values, that can lead to anxiety and stress. Simply put, if you are trying to fit your own behaviour into someone else’s framework of ‘good’ you may be ignoring some of the things you are best at and which give you greatest satisfaction.

It’s worth asking yourself about what ‘good’ means, then internalising those principles consciously. When we do that it can sometimes feel as if a huge burden of ‘shoulds’ has been lifted. 

Of course we are expected to fit others’ norms. Our employers or managers’ notion of ‘good’ may well differ from ours a little. And often we don’t have many options. But if their version of ‘good’ differs a lot from ours, it’s worth checking the personal price we are paying for that in terms of our well-being, health and peace of mind.

For Stress Awareness Month, we have put together some suggestions.

Ask yourself:

 Am I good at:

  • Breathing deeply from my diaphragm so I feel my abdomen swell as I breath in?
  • Setting my own boundaries?
  • Taking the time to relax when I need to?
  • Noticing where I feel stress in my body and taking action to soothe it, rather than ignoring it?
  • Finding things to appreciate and for which to be grateful each day?
  • Taking any feedback in context and not personally?

If you can answer yes to most of these questions, then you are probably already managing your stress levels well. If not, take a little time to improve some of these.

If you find you are still struggling with stress and self-esteem it can be good to find someone you trust to talk to. Ask them what you are good at. Or trying writing down your thoughts. A letter to yourself can provide fascinating insights.

If you would like a professional conversation about supporting yourself to be your best and happiest self, coaching can offer that. Contact us.

We hope that after reading this you realise that you decide whether you are good and you know that you are! 

 

 
 

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