Over the past few posts I’ve mentioned how 2017 was a destructive year for me in terms of my confidence. It’s been the elephant in the room, I feel, something I have mentioned but not really discussed, so I thought I would allow myself a moment of vulnerability and share with you why.
I actually started this post thinking “Yes, I have always been a strong, confident woman! Woe is me that this has crashed and burned!” only to realise, 1000 words later, that no, I wasn’t always like this. This is something I built and I earned and learned over the course of my lifetime.
Several things contributed to my confidence:
- My stubborn streak.
- My creativity.
- My experience.
I am quite the stubborn person, although I prefer to use the term “determined”. I am determined to do well, and be the best I can be. This determination manifests itself as confidence as you are ensuring everything you do is to the best of your ability.
As a creative person I have always danced, sang, and drama’d, and once performed for over 90,000 people! It’s easy to be confident though when you were first on stage at age 4 or 5 - you don’t know any better, and although stage fright exists, you know that you simply have to get on with it or let the team down.
Experience is the obvious one - the more experience you have, the more knowledge gained, and the more you can trust the decisions you are making. Those decisions are the ones the affect your career, your style, and every other aspect of your life.
2017, however, caused cracked to appear in my personal morale and by December I was pretty much a shell of my former self. Although I was still confident in several parts of my life, other parts - not so much.
Typically always a size 8-10, 2017 saw my weight balloon out to a size 18. This was caused by overeating due to stress and severe depression. At the moment I’m a size 14, so although I have lost some weight I’ve still a long way to go. I know weight shouldn’t affect your self esteem, but when it’s due to depression, it’s not so much the weight but the chemical playground of your mind contributing to the lack of confidence.
As well as my weight, 2017 saw me struggling professionally. In Sydney I was regularly headhunted for work, and I experienced similar success professionally in London. However, Glasgow is a small city and there’s very little call for what I do, and I the positions I did secure were only temporary, and paid significantly less than my worth. There was also a streak of working with misogynists, and that was fun.
There’s only so long you can work as a contractor, applying for permanent positions, interviewing, and being turned down, before you start to question yourself, which is inevitably what happened. Despite having a strong CV and being at the top of my game, I started to question whether I was actually any good at what I do.
Overweight, depressed, and my career in crisis, it’s understandable that my confidence in 2017 was at an all time low. It took until December to realise I was having a bit of a situation, when I realised I had stopped wearing anything but the plainest of high heels to the office, which is incredibly out of character for me.
Every day, whether in the office or out and about, those same black heels were worn. The same black jacket. The same black jumper.
So, days leading up to Christmas, I realised I had a problem, and I knew I had to fix it - stat!
Reclaiming my Confidence
Being confident and regaining that intimate trust in myself isn’t something that is going to happen overnight, but I can make lifestyle changes and choices to help me on my way.
Acceptance is the first step to recovery, and now that I was aware that I was having a confidence crisis, I did what any person in my situation would do - I analysed the situation, I adapted my behaviour, and I stepped into action.
Physically, I can be more active and eat less junk food and fewer calories. Professionally, well I got lucky just before Christmas and have since started an amazing new opportunity with a team and organisation I believe in. And mentally I just need to be on the ball with my self care and mindfulness to ensure that any dips don’t cause too many ripples.
It’s not going to be an easy task, as confidence isn’t exactly tangible, and there’s no real way to measure or quantify success. However, the fact that I wore a pair of brilliantly gold heels to a Hogmanay party may not seem like much to most readers, but to me, that shows I am back on the right track.
I have started this year with a new mindset, with a determination to be the best version of me I can be, and that includes repairing spirit and reaffirming my confidence. Over the next 12 months I have big plans for my life, and I plan look these in the eye whilst wearing fabulous heels.
xx Bry Jaimea