I will be starting a new series on my blog and Instagram all about gaining confidence and happiness while living with a chronic illness. #GutsyFeels will cover topics such as confidence and self love, happiness with chronic illness, and self care. I want this to be a series that is very interactive with my readers. So, to do that I will be creating journal prompts with every blog post to get us thinking on that particular topic. Throughout this series you will have the opportunity to reflect and create one goal (or more) per blog post. In the end that will leave you with 3 new goals to work towards in order to live a happier life.
The first topic that we will be discussing is confidence and self love with chronic illness. Chronic illness comes in all shapes and sizes, some more visible than others, but most are completely invisible to the general public. Some may think that this is better for confidence, if someone can’t see you’re sick it’s better right? Wrong. It can be just as challenging to deal with confidence in an invisible illness as it is with a more visible sickness. However, do not fear, I am here to give you some tips that will hopefully help you on your journey with self confidence and loving yourself just as you are.
1. Accept Where You Are At
You stand in the mirror and what do you see? An amazing, talented, strong, individual, or a sad, worthless, weak person? We have all been on both sides of the spectrum, however, it is important to know where you land most days. Once you accept where you are at with self confidence and self love, it will be much easier to make it a priority, accept it, and start working towards improving it.
However, we must also realize that not everything about our life or body can be improved. You may hate the scars on your body, or hate the bloating that you get from your IBD, or hate that you are unable to participate in certain activities due to muscle pain. These are all things that suck, but we have to learn to role with the punches, to accept that not everything can be changed, and let it go. We must learn from the pain, embrace it, trust that it is meant to be and move forward. Accepting ourselves with our strengths and flaws allows us to live a more confident life and to love ourselves no matter the circumstances.
2. Find your purpose
In order to be confident in yourself and have greater self love you need to dive deep into finding your purpose. Now I know this can sound daunting because many of us have no idea what we want to do with our lives. However, I am here to remind you that many people have multiple purposes. So, find one thing that you love, that you get fired up talking about, that makes your blood pump and role with it. This may not always be your purpose in life, so don’t worry about getting it perfect because just like everything else we change and with that change comes new purposes through time. Trust your gut on this decision, you shouldn’t have to think about it too hard.
Once you have your purpose, you can start to explore that idea. Get passionate about it, sink your blood sweat and tears into it. This will help you to love yourself and see your self worth. With time your purpose will start to take shape into a business, career, hobby, etc. and you will feel much more confident in yourself and your purpose on earth.
3. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
In order to start being a more confident individual we also need to look at the good, the bad and the ugly. Using the journal prompt list out all the things you love about yourself and everything that can be improved. Really dig deep, think of your talents, personality traits, habits, etc. Just let yourself stream of conscious write for 5 minutes. Once that time is up, I want you to circle your 10 favorite strengths, and 1 weakness that you wish to improve on most.
Now that you know this information, use it as a tool. Write the things you love about yourself everywhere, on a sticky note on your mirror, in your phone, on your laptop, etc. Have these strengths to fall back on if you ever feel low or your thoughts are spiraling with negativity. Make reaching for these strengths a habit, and next time you feel negative about yourself I am sure you will be able to snap out of it quicker.
4. Create Goals On What You CAN Change
Take your weaknesses and grow from them. Making your weaknesses something to improve on makes it so that you accept them and try to make yourself better. Try to pick weaknesses that have to do with personality traits, habits or talents, rather than physical appearance. Try to focus on what you CAN, and really want to change in your life. While setting your goals make sure to continuously refer back to #1, you have to accept yourself and try to love yourself as best you can just as you are. Set realistic goals and stick to them.
For example one of your weaknesses may be that you are lazy. Your goal may be to walk around the block once a day, or it could be to park farther from the grocery store, etc. Or your weakness could be that you are short-tempered. Your goal may be to count to 5 before responding to something that upset you, or to start meditating in order to learn deep breathing techniques. These are both examples of common weaknesses that we all have that can be easily improved with small goals. One of the easier ways to get started on a large goal is to break it down into multiple mini-goals that can help you to reach your overall goal.
To learn more about habits and setting goals read this blog post.
5. All About The Little Things
You got up this morning, check, you made yourself breakfast, tick, you watched a whole season of your fave show, winning! Celebrating small victories is important in gaining self confidence because it reminds your brain that you are doing great and helps you to focus on the positives.
Our natural reaction when we are physically limited by an illness is to focus on it. However, this is the worst possible thing to do, the more we think about it, the more we replay our limitations and failures in our head. This makes the situation even worst and thus makes you more and more upset with yourself. Instead, as soon as a negative thought pops into your head about what you can’t do, try to replace it with something you can do, or did do today. Even if it was just getting up to pee, you did it! Own it and flaunt it!
What is something you have always wanted to do, but have been too timid to do? Rock climbing, go to IBD support meetings, start a blog, dance, wear a bikini, learn to sew? Everybody has there own fears, and we are all scared of being made fun of. But, why is that? Why do we care what other people think? Are they going to be there when we are dead in the grave? No. So why are we always trying to please others?! We have to put ourselves out there, and once we start, we will never want to stop because our confidence will grow every time we step out and do something we thought we never would be able to do.
8. Surround Yourself With Supportive People
Tell your friends and family your goals in order to help keep you accountable. I find that the Instagram, online community is so supportive and can help to keep you positive. It also helps when dealing with a chronic illness because you see that there are so many other people dealing with similar struggles. So try to be as open and honest with those closest to you about what your goals are and how you plan on achieving them.
Remember that we all slip up and we all fall down, but what’s important is getting back up. Self confidence and self love is a journey and it will change as we grow and age, but as long as we embrace who we are we will surely blossom into something beautiful.
Here you can find this posts printable to help get you thinking about self-confidence and what you can do to improve it. These printables will allow you to set your first goal in this series. This goal should be focused towards improving your self love and/or self confidence in some way. If you like this post, stay tuned for the rest in this series. The next post will be up on Thursday, August 23, and will be focused on improving happiness, Follow me on Instagram, and subscribe to my blog to be notified the next time I post. Feel free to share this with a friend or on social media!
You are beautiful, strong and so uniquely you – Own it!
Your Trusty Gutsy Gal