Do you believe in yourself?

Do you believe in yourself?

This month’s topic is epic,

Do you believe in yourself?

When you hear this question, what is your first response? Do you think people should believe in themselves? Or would you consider the idea – of believing in yourself – selfish?

Every person’s response to this question will vary, but for some, the idea of believing in one’s self will stir a bit of unease inside. So before we begin, let’s address this question: is it selfish to believe in yourself?

And the answer is . . . NO; it is not selfish to believe in your self! Selfishness is an unhealthy focus on self that places the self above others and disregards the well-being of others. It is not selfish to believe in yourself. ON the contrary, it is your responsibility. Believing in your self is vital to your entire well-being.[1]

Believing in yourself is knowing, trusting, and valuing your true self. It is self-acceptance, self-respect, and confidence to assert one’s self. Self-esteem and self-efficacy are both causes and effects of believing in your self. Dr. Robert Burns, an expert in the area of self-concept, argues that “the beliefs and evaluations people hold about themselves determine who they are, what they can do and what they can become”[2] To believe or not believe in your self is one of the most important decisions that you will make every day because it affects every area of your life.

Your appraisals of your self will determine things like: how you will relate to others, whether you will take risks in life or not, what types of jobs you will apply for, who you will marry or not marry. And on a day-to-day scale, it will affect your choices to try new things, how you cope, and what you spend your time on.

Now, I know that sounds like a lot, but it is just the beginning. It literally affects every area of your life.

Are you a strong woman?

Photo courtesy of Bonnie van Kessel

Are you a strong woman?

If I were to ask you unexpectedly, how would you answer?

For some women, the answer is automatic: “Of course, I am strong.” For others, the answer is “no” or “I am not sure.” The truth is that how you answer the question is not what determines whether you are strong or weak. Many women who have been labeled as weak (which is common in our culture) – are incredibly strong.

So why have women been considered “weak”?

For many years, women have been viewed as “weak,” and men have been viewed as strong. Historically, men have been portrayed as strong because they are physically strong. And for the most part, they are brave, smart, and non-emotional – especially in difficult situations. Over time, these highly valued traits have become the hallmark of being strong in our culture.

Unfortunately, this shortsighted (and androcentric) description of strength has been extended to women, but it is considerably problematic.

Let’s start with the physically strong. Since men are generally stronger than women, women have an unfair disadvantage. Nonetheless, women have been relegated to a position of weakness and men as strong. But how accurate is this old cultural conclusion? Does physical strength make you strong? Well, I suppose it does in ONE area of life, but a strong body will only take you so far, and – truthfully – some women are stronger than a lot of men. But even if men are generally stronger than women, that doesn’t lay a foundation for strong men and weak women. Besides, strong in body and weak in heart can be the makings of an inconsiderate bully. Surely, a strong body cannot be indicative of strength!