UNBROKEN: Finding Your Inner Strength to Boost Confidence (Part I) – Overcoming Fear

What is YOUR “inner strength”? Do you know? Have you spent much time thinking about it?

Right now are you thinking of your positive qualities: I am kind, giving, a good listener, generous… ? These are all wonderful! However… these are ‘strengths’ that you use to enhance relationships with others, to support others when they are in need. But what strengths do you use to support yourself in times of unpredictability, uncertainty and hardship? What ‘inner strengths’ do you call upon when you feel off balance, insecure, don’t know what to expect or what to do next?

If you knew that your inner strength(s) could increase your confidence if you were more aware of them, would you want to know what they are? I WOULD!

Who couldn’t use a little more confidence in their life? A little more: courage, assurance, tenacity, fearlessness, daring and grit?

Most of us have endured struggles that have left our confidence levels depleted, left us feeling broken. These hardships may have been:

  • health struggles
  • mental health
  • school
  • work
  • relationship issues
  • dealing with grief
  • abuse
  • parenting
  • goals unmet
  • and many more
The pieces of our life

Where do we find the strength to rebuild, and increase our confidence, our self-esteem, once the pieces of our life begin to fit together again?

Our INNER STRENGTH comes from the totality of our experiences – both the positive and the difficult must be embraced. Our struggles develop our inner strengths just as powerfully as our accomplishments, greatest moments, and sometimes even more so. We can find our strength within ourselves if we know it is there, and where to look. You have to let the fire inside you burn brighter than the fire around you and you will find your inner strength.

This calls for vulnerability and none of us seem to like that word! Being vulnerable means we are opening ourselves up to the possibility of being hurt, so to be vulnerable ‘feels’ weak. But this is where we are wrong, ladies!

Vulnerability is not weakness. Vulnerability requires strength and courage. Vulnerability is where change happens!

You have endured struggles over which you had NO control. Why not ‘choose’ to be vulnerable and show up for yourself, be IN control as you confront your fears and say, “NO MORE!” It doesn’t have to be comfortable in the moment, but with this courage, you will find your “inner strength” and from there, your “confidence” will flourish!

Don’t let your struggles be your side hustles, always fighting with yourself to determine your own self-worth.

  • Be Fearless
  • Be Daring
  • Be Vulnerable
  • Be Courageous

What’s your story? It’s time to get inside it, and own it, girl! Are you ready to be IN control, be courageous and vulnerable, confront your fears and watch your confidence grow? (This is where you yell, “HELL, YA!”) Let’s take the first step toward finding our inner strengths. We are going to kick our fears’ ass together! Let’s do this!

*Update: I was contacted by Verywell Mind on April 1, 2020, in reference to this article I wrote on inner strength. I was asked to share Amy Morin’s podcast on this subject to expand the reach of the new Verywell Mind Podcast on Spotify. Please have a listen and follow their podcasts.

https://open.spotify.com/episode/1MQ25BsxWCNY52LL7m6oAu Episode 57 – Friday Fix

57 – Friday Fix: How to Find Inner Strength When You Need It the Most – The Verywell Mind Podcast with Amy Morin | Podcast on Spotify

What is FEAR and how can fear diminish our confidence? There are many types of fear that limit us day-to-day, some of them we don’t recognize, or choose not to recognize in ourselves (because why the heck would we want to be vulnerable and do that, am I right?):

  • fear of judgment
  • fear of failure
  • fear of rejection
  • more specifically the fear of public speaking
  • and more

Do any of these fears resonate with you? Do you see any of these in yourself?

Outstanding influencers have voiced their thoughts about what fear is, the limitations fear places on us, and the results of these limitations.

Nelson Mandela declared:

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Let’s look at the fear of judgment as an example. Fear of judgment has dramatically increased rates of social anxiety, led to a shocking number of women who avoid the gym or running in public, has had a paralyzing effect on many talented women (and men) who will not action their purpose/business/life goal or embrace their potential for fear of criticism, and has also led to increased debt ratios due to a “keep up with the Jones'” mentality. Perhaps you are affected by the fear of judgment in one of these ways or in another way.

Try these four strategies if you recognize the fear of judgment as limiting you:

  • Do you have the courage to say, “I am enough”? To holler it from the hilltops, “I AMMMM ENOOOUUUGGHH!” To write this affirmation on your mirror, make it your screen saver, place sticky notes around your home that you will see, set pop-up reminders on your phone.
  • Can you let your judgment go? Just catch yourself mid-judgment, and bravely intervene. Recognize your judgmental thought, your judgmental mindset, and choose to let it go. “I would so go to the gym if my ass wasn’t so…” AH! Caught you! Good-bye!
  • You think finding your inner strength might be a challenge, how about owning your inner critic? Bring – it – on! Your inner critic has you doubting yourself, questioning your self-worth, comparing yourself to others.

Guess what? No matter what you do or where you go, people will judge you. FACT! But, guess what else? Those who judge others are too busy judging others and doing nothing themselves out of fear. So why do you care what the critics have to say? Are you going to let them be your reason for not being vulnerable, courageous, daring, fucking awesome and living a life with meaning and purpose? (This is where you yell, “HELL NO!”)

Be like Nelson Mandela! That man was the real deal! He had tenacity and grit! He was fearless! He showed courage and triumphed over fear despite being afraid! You can too!

That is some daring shit! But… keep in mind:

“The fears we don’t face become our limits.” – Robin Sharma

If we allow FEAR to control us, and we do not have the courage to contain our fear – we allow it to limit us, our dreams, and our potential. We do not feel we are good enough. Do you see how fear can paralyze us? How the fears we choose not to face can become our greatest limits and defeat us?

Don’t let fear stand in your way!

Fear of failure is a fear many choose to never face, not only because confronting fears is undesirable but because most of us see failure as a huge negative – it is a big, bad direct reflection of our skills, value, worthiness and potential. Yuck! Unfortunately, by not staring the fear of failure straight in its ugly face, we are allowing it to control us, and keep us from progressing in life and from fulfilling our dreams.

Fear kills hope. It can hold you back from something you know you are capable of doing. Fear will paralyze you! But… what if we can change your perception of failure so that you embrace it, rather than fear it? Whoa… this is some daring shit right here!

  • Fear has us believe we are losers if we fail. Even successful people fail (Einstein, the lightbulb, blah blah blah, you’ve heard it a million times) The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is: successful people overcome fear, take further risks, and learn from their mistakes. They continue to grow, and you can too. You are not alone in your experience of fear of failure or your experience of failure.
  • You cannot predict the future. You cannot control the future. Don’t let the unpredictable stop you from trying. What if I fail? But… What if I succeed?
  • Failure leads to expertise! Have you ever wanted to be an expert at something? The best of the best? Instead of fearing failure, view potential failure as an opportunity to become an expert. Try one way, it doesn’t work? Try another way. It doesn’t work? Try two hundred other ways! Stop fearing it! Get out there and kick some ass!

“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”

– Les Brown

“Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

Have the courage to be vulnerable and act on fear if you want to begin to find and build your inner strength so that you can increase your confidence!

If it were easy – everyone would do it! You have the courage! Be fearless, be daring, define your own path and choose you, girl!

Check out one of my favorite videos about overcoming fear.

Krista xo

Stages of Grief or #digitalgrieving?

grief-is-not-linear

Experiencing the unthinkable.

sadness-photo-griefThe sudden loss of a loved one.

A child. A spouse, partner. A family member, friend, student, teacher, mentor, co-worker, neighbour,

Out of our control. Disorientating. Shattering. Debilitating. Overwhelming. Confusing. Frightening.grief-is-as-individual-as-a-snowflake

Something so gut-wrenching. Life-changing…and without our permission.  We are unable to regain our balance, for we react to this loss with such intensity.

This is natural. Our body is in a state of emergency.

Do we all react to this state of emergency the same? No. Some of us may become very able, operating at a high level of efficiency.  Others may become detached, and appear numb to the circumstances surrounding them.  While others may cry and fall to pieces. But we do all react.

Think about if you cut your finger quite badly. It will bleed, the wound will require immediate attention as it is likely an emergency. Do we all react the same in this situation? No.  Some of us will be perfectly calm, some will cry, scream, have a panic attack, and some of us may even pass out at the sight of the blood. We will all react differently, but we still need to treat the cut. 

What is a “normal” reaction to the loss of a loved one, during the initial days, weeks months?

  • spontaneous emotion
  • temporarily blocking the long-term implications of the loss
  • seeing the lost one
  • confusion and disorientation restlessness
  • irrational fear
  • forgetting the lost one is gone
  • disbelief
  • anger and resentment
  • feelings of guilt and blame
  • physical disturbances
  • too busy to mourn
  • obsession with memories
  • unexplainable experiences
  • and more…

“Normal” is a wide range of behaviours or reactions.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross developed the Stages of Grief that describes the series of emotions we tend to follow as survivors of a loved one’s death.  These stages help us to identify what we may feel as we progress through the grief process, but the process may not always be as straightforward as this.

 

  1. Denial/Shock     “No, not me!”
  2. Anger/ Flood of feelings     “Why me?”
  3. Bargaining     “Yes me…But at least…”
  4. Depression     “Oh no, it is me.”
  5. Acceptance     “So be it.”

Image result for kubler ross stages of grief

Back to your cut finger for a moment.

You have made it through the first phase: you bled, reacted (your way: calmly, passed out, cried, screamed or perhaps some other way), and had it treated.

Now the skin will typically seal itself within 48 hours (or more if stitches were required).  Once it is initially sealed, the body begins to develop a scar by developing scar tissue, filling in the area between the wounds edges. This can take months or years.  

This healing process has three stages:

  1. Inflammatory  – “the angry red stage”  (body produces antibodies to fight off infections, scab forms)
  2. Rebuilding – this can take months and there may be setbacks, but the wounded skin will get stronger
  3. Maturation – It can take years for scars to fully heal.  As time goes on, they will continue to slowly fade.  There are products that can be used to help fade the scars more quickly.  Once improvemment is no longer seen, ithe products can be discontinued.

Note: Irregular Healing – not all scars heal well or the same.

Now, what do cutting your finger and losing a loved one have in common you ask?

Let’s compare the Kubler-Ross Stages of Grief and the Healing Process:

Kubler-Ross Stages of Grief
Healing Process for Injury
Commonalities
1)      Denial/Shock
1st Phase: bleed, react, treat
Sudden tragedy, overwhelming, frightening, “State of Emergency”
2)      Anger/Flood of Feelings
1)      Inflammatory “angry red stage”
Spontaneous emotion, impatience, irritability, resentment, mad, asking “Why me?”
3)      Bargaining
2)      Rebuilding
Takes time, many months and there may be setbacks, but strength will come
4)      Depression
   
5)      Acceptance
3)      Maturation
It can take years for complete healing. Scar products/grief support services can be used to help guide this process.
Not all healing is follows the same path at the same time*
Not all scars heal well or the same*
NOT ALL HEALING IS THE SAME*

grief-chart2

Image result for Pictures About Grief

Healing… whether it be from an injury, or from tragedy or loss of a loved one by way of the grief process, follows a similar pattern. No matter what “your” process is, even though it will be different from others’, it is natural and it is normal.  Grief looks different in everyone, and to everyone. Grief is a very individual process.  The only trait that is common to all, just like in the healing of a wound, is: it takes time. 

Let me explain why I feel so compelled to discuss grief today.

Our town of 14,000 people (and surrounding areas), has experienced many tragic deaths in the past few years.

My heart is breaking for the parents, siblings, families, friends, the youth, the teaching and coaching staff, and the communities as a whole, that are repeatedly impacted by the sudden deaths of youth. There have also been many parents of children in our community lost, many grandparents, incredible contributors to our community and more.

You will not overcome the loss of a loved one.  You will learn to live without your loved one.
You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you suffered.
You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to be the same.
                                                                                                                                                             –  Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

I am beginning to question, in particular:

How much can our youth handle? How much loss in a community is too much loss? What is the best way to address these losses?  Are we doing enough?

Do youth truly understand loss and grief?

Is social media enough of an outlet for them to express their grief?  education and internet concept - students looking at their phone

Is the online community creating an ability for everyone to stake a claim in your loved one’s death through sappy posts that misrepresent who she/he was?

Is social media rationalizing death but obscuring the “reality of loss”?

Does it create an impulsive need to ascribe meaning to senseless tragedy at a safe distance, rather than be deeply human?

Does it allow us to avoid the uncomfortable physical interactions (that we have always wanted to avoid… be honest), and avoid addressing death in person, with the bereaved?  Or because we have addressed it on social media, do we now feel more comfortable addressing it in person, since it is not the first time?

Is social media creating a lack of genuine empathy and connection, or is it making us more aware and bringing us closer together?

So many questions.  So many different answers based on both opinion and research.

“Digital grieving”

Does it provide a beneficial podium for mourners to speak of their loss?

                             ORImage result for Social Media Apps

  • Does it create a pressure to speak of grief and loss, (especially for teenagers)?
  • Does it demand tending to your ‘followers’ needs, rather than your own?  Providing them with updates and inspirational messages about your recently lost loved one?
  • Does it create a strain between navigating your personal grief and your ‘followers’ or ‘friendships’?
  • Do you feel forced to reflect too much at a time that you don’t have the capacity or energy to manage it?

OR

  • Do you feel it serves as a form of group therapy to handle difficult issues such as death?
  • Does having your voice heard online make you feel supported, as though others have compassion and empathy for you, when they ‘like’ your post?
  • Does seeing the multitude of photos, videos and funny and inspiring stories of your loved one, posted by others, in different contexts, offer you comfort?
  • Do you feel that hashtags (#) that promote positive messages about your loved one help with the healing, and provide teachable moments to teens?
  • Do you believe that social media allows those that did not know your loved one very well , really get to know them now and understand your loss more deeply?

I have left you with a lot of unanswered questions.  Really, only you know these answers. There has been research, but the experts support both the benefits and drawbacks of the use of social media when grieving the loss of a loved one. Since the grieving process is as unique as we are, for each individual, the answers to these questions will be as well.

What we do know is this:

  1. Loss of a loved one causes our body to go into a ‘state of emergency’, and none of us will experience this reaction the same way.  This is normal and natural.
  2. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’, Stages of Grief describe the series of emotions we tend to follow as survivors of a loved one’s death and help us to identify what we may feel as we progress through the grief process.
  3. The Stages of Grief are comparable to the Healing Process when we suffer from a badly cut finger. Healing is healing, it takes time and is different for everyone, but follows similar phases. This is natural and normal.
  4. Youth and Grief… I have posed many questions.  What are your thoughts?
  5. Digital Grieving… Since the grieving process is an individual process, different for each of us, researchers are divided on their thoughts as to whether or not the use of social media is beneficial in the grief process or not.  What are your feelings on this?

With compassion and empathy,

Krista

 

Image result for look for me in rainbows poem
Bereavement Support Groups, 2016, Marina Oppenheimer LMHC
Grief and Loss Support Group Facilitator’s Manual, 2015, Susan Hansen {Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Stages of Grief}
Seven Choices: Finding Daylight After Loss Shatters Your World, 2003, Elizabeth Harper Neeld, PhD