Following on from my last post on vulnerability I had a friend of mine ask me a very pertinent question:
So what do you do next?
The glib answer to that is “harden up” and get yourself back together and of course this is easier said than done. I don’t think there is any magic recipe for getting yourself back into a positive and empowered state of mind but there are a few things that I have done that work for me.
Be giving – Albert Einstein once said “Only a life lived for others is a life worth living” and I am of a similar mindset. So whenever I feel particularly low I try to focus on being a positive influence on others. Studies have shown that helping others increases your self-esteem and releases endorphins which make you feel better. Helping others also can give you some perspective and reinforce that we all have things going on and this can reduce the sense of “being the only one going through this”. Besides it’s just fun to give something back without getting anything in return.
Smile – you may not feel like it but when you smile your body reacts to it. Read some bad jokes (I have many friends who post these all day long so I have no choice), watch your favourite comedy, do something spontaneous and just let a glimmer of happiness in and you will feel better.
Look good, feel good – One of the biggest challenges with vulnerability is the sense of losing confidence. The first part to regaining this is to build a positive self image. Look confident is a key part of feeling confident so wear your power clothes, wear bright colours, put on your favourite shirt / skirt / hat whatever and stride out like nothing is wrong. Even if it is only an act after a while you will start to believe it and then suddenly you are back on track or at least moving in that direction.
Press pause – We all live super busy lives with deadlines and multitasking up to the eye balls but one of the best ways to feel better is to just stop and smell the roses. Take the time to appreciate something beautiful, play your favourite pump up song, watch a sunrise, literally smell the roses. All of this again releases endorphins and also allows you to take a breath and focus on other things and helps you regain equilibrium.
Make your inner voice say positive things – Let’s face it we all play out things in our minds and wonder what could have / would have / should have happened if we had done something differently and that is all well and good but if you try to get that internal voice to acknowledge that there is a silver lining to whatever cloud you are facing it can begin to rebuild your confidence. It doesn’t need to be ignoring things or trying to put a fake spin on things but small steps can lead to a stronger foundation.
Positive role models – Surround yourself with people who make you feel and act like the best person you can be. Having a great support system will help you to become an emotionally stronger person. When you have someone to lean on, you are much less likely to lose control of your emotions. It will also help you to see that whatever you are going through it is not so different to everyone else and you can start to see how other people cope and maybe you can learn from those things.
Be grateful – Even when things are not going well there will be some things in your life you can be grateful about. It might be something really small but whatever it is use it is a lever. Grateful people have a better sense of abundance and contentment and as a result feel less uncertain about things. This can let you set realistic parameters around what you need to be happy. Instead of needing a huge house or fancy car or whatever you can be happy just to laugh, or to connect with a friend or for holding a door open for someone.
Ultimately all of this won’t be some magic solution to have you back on track immediately but if you do whatever you can whenever you can you can make it through and little by little you will regain your personal power and be ready to face anything.
Categories: What a world