The Top 5 Strategies I used To Reinvent Myself After 40Feb 05, 2021
By Marie Fraser.
In my 20’s and 30’s I was a quiet, self-assured, confident, corporate badass. I was liked and, more importantly to me, respected in the majority of my relationships. Let’s face it, everyone can’t like us! Then, fast forward 27 years of living with and being married to a narcissist. Many years of being unappreciated, belittled, controlled, ignored, cheated on and lied to completely and utterly smashed and shattered my self-confidence and self-belief.
For so long I was lonely, unhappy and miserable - a vision of my former confident self. And when I eventually developed the courage to leave that emotionally abusive relationship, I had absolutely no idea who I was. What had happened to that feisty corporate badass? Who was I? What did I want? I even doubted whether I could build a new life for myself and my children. It was all scary stuff. I tell you this, not for sympathy, but as a testament to the words of J. K. Rowling, that rock bottom was the foundation upon which I rebuilt myself.
Of course, my metamorphosis didn’t happen overnight. It was a process which included: getting to know myself, trying new experiences, becoming better informed to enable me to make the right choices for me, being especially patient and kind to myself, learning to trust myself and my instincts again, taking baby steps, praising myself when I bravely took action and stepped out of my comfort zone, not giving two hoots what people thought of me, reinventing myself and loving the new me.
Now my life couldn’t be more different. I totally reinvented myself and love the new me and my amazing life. I adore travel and make several solo overseas trips a year to immerse myself in new cultures and experiences. I retrained in a number of modalities and now run my own business as a certified personal coach and clinical hypnotherapist. I inspire women to develop the courage to unleash their confidence to reveal and revel in their true selves, and to live a more balanced, happy and fulfilled life.
So, let me share with you my top 5 strategies for building confidence which I used during my own reinvention and which I now use with my clients:
1. KNOW AND BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE ENOUGH.
Silence your inner critic and negative self-talk. We wouldn’t have any friends if we spoke to them the way we speak to ourselves. The mind is always listening in and believes everything we think and tell it, whether it’s good or bad. So, practice telling yourself/thinking good things. Reframe negative thoughts and self-talk into positive or neutral ones, e.g., turn ‘Argh, you stupid woman’ into ‘Oh, you are a silly billy’ and turn ‘I can’t do this presentation, I’ll be rubbish’ into ‘I’m excited to do this presentation and I’ll give it my best shot’.
Make a screen saver saying ‘I AM ENOUGH’ on your phone, PC and laptop. Write it on your mirror where you can see it, then say it every day and your mind will start to believe it.
Make a list of the various things that you are good at as well as your achievements. Remember - we are all good at something. I make a great lasagne, my bacon butties are to die for and I’m improving at making sourdough bread.
Only YOU are in control of how you think, act and feel
2. HAVE A SELF-CARE PLAN/REGIME.
Reinforce the belief that you are enough by putting into effect a self-care plan/regime. This will mean different things to different people. To me, it means activities that we do deliberately on a regular basis to maintain and enhance our own health and well-being.
I’m not talking about the occasional massage or neck rub. It’s about getting in touch with yourself, your wants, your needs and your passions, and prioritising time for you to make those things happen. Self-care is about becoming aware of your emotions, the stress and pressure in your life that may cause you to feel unwell – whether that be physically, mentally or emotionally - and making the time to do whatever floats your boat to release that pressure.
In addition, do something every single day that gives you immense pleasure and focus on the pleasure it gives you. It may be your first cup of tea/coffee or a walk with or without the dog. For me, it’s giving a tree a hug.
Remember - An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows you to shine brightly
3. STEPPING OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE.
As humans, our greatest need is acceptance and our biggest fear is rejection.
We have a fundamental need to belong and when we are rejected it destabilises that need and the disconnection we feel adds to our emotional pain, such as anxiety and depression. For example, if you have been through a relationship breakup or redundancy, you will understand what I mean. The brain doesn’t, and can’t, distinguish between a real or imagined threat and the physiological response is the same. A rush of stress hormones are activated and can lead to either a fight, flight or freeze response.
Certainly, a relationship breakup or redundancy are much more threatening than, say, public speaking. But, as public speaking is something which most people would rather not do for fear of being judged, the physiological response is the same. Now, logically we know that public speaking is not threatening, but our emotions are not logical and that is something extremely important to bear in mind.
Change your self-talk. Instead of saying ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘I’m scared’ - turn it around and say ‘Yes, I can do this and I’m excited to do it’. Keep doing that and before too long you will easily be stepping out of your comfort zone. Get out of the same old rut and add more fun to your life - be curious and try new things.
4. SET PERSONAL HEALTHY BOUNDARIES.
Do this to preserve your integrity, to take responsibility for who you are, to enhance all your relationships and to take control of your life.
You and you alone are responsible for how others treat you. Set, communicate and maintain clear and decisive boundaries so that others are aware of them and will then respect them. It’s equally important that you are willing to do whatever it takes to enforce them. Personally, I dropped all the negative people in my life and felt much more positive for doing so.
Initially one of the hardest things can be learning to say ‘NO’, which is crucial when setting boundaries.
Here are some examples you may like to use, and state them firmly:
· I’m not comfortable with that
· I can’t do that for you (at this time)
· This is not acceptable
· Please don’t do that
· This doesn’t work for me
· I’m drawing a line under that
· Not at this time
· I’ve decided not to
· I don’t want to do that.
5. LETTING GO.
Hanging on to yesterday can hurt your today and ruin your tomorrow. Many people engrave the negative things that happen to them in marble, therefore painful memories remain immortalized in their minds, with people dragging around all their disappointments and hurts like excess baggage which gets heavier over the years. Replaying the past does not change it and never will. Wishing things were different will never make them so.
Consciously practice being in the present. That is where life happens. Set your phone reminder several times a day and take 5 minutes to consciously mind-dump and think about what is happening right now in this moment. If you persistently and consistently practice this, before too long you’ll hardly be thinking of the past.
People who spend a lot of time ruminating about the past, or indeed the future, tend to be overthinkers who want and need control of all situations. Of course, that can never be. Try the exercise below to help you.
On a sheet of paper draw two columns, head one ‘in my control’ and the other ‘out of my control’. Write down what is happening for you in both columns and then focus on what you can control and let go of what you can’t.
I’ve devised a 15 quick fire question Confidence Quiz where you can get an insight as to what’s happening for you. Subject to your result, you can then download one of my free proven tools to give you a confidence boost. Download the Confidence Quiz here
Marie Fraser is the Self-Confidence and Reinvention Coach and Creator of Bounce Back After Break-Up. In her own words, she has 'been around the block a few times'. Having worked in high-powered demanding corporate positions, endured a long-term toxic relationship, culminating in an extremely acrimonious divorce and is a survivor of narcissistic abuse. Marie is also the mother of a special needs disabled son and has walked paths that have caused her stress, grief, anxiety, trauma, overwhelm, and have shattered her self-confidence and self-esteem.
Today as a certified life coach, clinical hypnotherapist, transformational therapist, NLP practitioner, and law of attraction teacher, Marie combines all these skills with her personal experiences and now has the privilege of encouraging and supporting women to rediscover their courage and with freedom confidently reveal and revel in their true selves and joyfully spring into the next exciting chapter of their life.
Her personal values are courage, fun, freedom, justice, and authenticity. They are the core of who she is and what she brings to my practice. You can read all about her here.
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