Midlife Musings: Debra Johnstone
Lack of confidence seems to be an issue for a lot of women in the second half of life.
Many of us wish we could somehow reclaim the confidence of our youth. But often the amplifier gets turned up on that lack of self-belief we’ve felt our whole life.
“How can we really believe in ourselves if we don’t have a sense of self?”
Midlife brings with it so many changes and often-associated feelings of loss or like there is a void to be filled but we don’t know with what.
A drop in confidence is a by-product of those changes because we often lose a sense of who we are. And how can we really believe in ourselves if we don’t have a sense of self?
Rediscovering yourself is a process and it’s one I love to guide my clients through. Having been through it myself, I know exactly how it feels and I want to make it easier for other women to come through the other side – thriving.
But aside from this deeper aspect of building confidence, there are also other habits we may have that tend to sink our feelings of self-assurance even further. Once we become aware of them and what the solutions are, we have the tools to boost our confidence levels when we need to.
I wouldn’t say that this can substitute the deeper exploration work, but it adds value to it and may even give you the self-belief you need to look deeper.
“A regular habit of reminding ourselves and anyone who’ll listen of everything we’re not will very effectively lower our levels of self-belief.”
1. Focusing On What You Lack Crushes Confidence:
As women we are so good at this, aren’t we? A regular habit of reminding ourselves and anyone who’ll listen of everything we’re not will very effectively lower our levels of self-belief.
This includes any qualities we think we lack, anything we failed to achieve in our past, or anything we believe we’re not good at. I have no idea where we learned this habit, possibly from being told that it’s not ladylike to blow our own trumpet.
If you want to raise your confidence you need to turn this around. And I’m sure you guessed it; you need to remind yourself of all the great stuff about who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and what you are strong or rich in.
2. Comparing Yourself Lowers Your Self-Esteem:
It doesn’t matter if you’re judging someone and seeing yourself as better than. Or you’re comparing and seeing yourself as less than. In both instances, it has the same long-term effect.
This is because when we judge we might feel a short-term surge of confidence, but later feel guilty or shameful for judging and then turn it in on ourselves. You recognize this pattern don’t you? I think we all do it from time to time because we’re human.
The solution here is to set the intention to stop comparing. This brings more awareness and that means you can stop yourself in the act. You might even like to take actions to make sure you can’t compare. For example taking yourself off social media for a while might be a good start.
3. Telling Yourself You Can’t Do Something Makes You Feel Less Than Capable:
If you tell yourself you can’t do something, nine times out of ten it’s a lie; of course with a few rare exceptions. We can do anything we want and most times if we think we can’t it’s just about learning how.
Our language plays a huge role in our confidence levels and the word “can’t” is one of those culprits that lower it. There is actually no such thing as can’t. We either choose to, we choose to learn, or we don’t. And it really is that simple.
“The solution is a simple one – delete the word ‘can’t from your vocabulary.”
Be Honest With Yourself:
We’ve seen numerous people being told they can’t do something but then they prove that prediction wrong. You know what I’m talking about here, those people who are told they’ll never walk again, but they learn how. What about that lovely 99-year-old man, Captain Tom Moore, who raised funds by walking 100 laps around his garden. I’m sure the word “can’t’ didn’t enter his vocabulary, because he chose to.
The solution is a simple one – delete the word can’t from your vocabulary. Be honest with yourself when you want to give something a go or you’re offered an opportunity. Admit you’ve made a choice and either way, you will feel so much more empowered.
The Bottom Line:
Continued confidence in this phase of life relies very much on taking the bull by the horns and making necessary adjustments to our life and habits.
If we are committed to making everything stay the same, fearing change, then our self-assurance continues to shrink. Real confidence and empowerment comes through self-exploration and change. This is something each and every one of us CAN do. And I believe we all deserve to have it.
About the Author:
Deb Johnstone is a Transformational Mindset Coach and a Midlife Transition Mentor. Experiencing midlife transition herself, she wanted work with more meaning and started her coaching practice in 2012. After the death of her father in 2019 and processing her grief, Deb experienced a deep loss of self where her identity felt challenged. It was through this that she felt the calling to work with women in this phase of life. It is now her mission to support women to transition midlife and beyond feeling confident, empowered and free to be your true self and live the life you want and deserve. You can connect with Deb on Facebook through The Empowered MidLife Woman where she posts insights daily, or connect with her through her website.