In the middle of a significant breakdown, I felt compelled to share my experiences with friends and family. Being a woman, I love to share. Conversations are important to me. I didn’t know at the time that my dignity was at stake.
Many women seek supportive conversations to help them get through tough times. Most women have had those moments where spilling their guts takes the edge off nagging, gut-wrenchingly painful feelings and experiences.
Right now you might be asking yourself: “What has dignity got to do with a conversation with a friend or family member?” Here’s how…
I have analysed my own anecdotal data collected over a two-year period from conversations with women. This collection of anecdotes from women shows there are serious concerns of how women in transition view themselves and why they are often bitterly unhappy in the process.
During phases of transition, many women experience low self-esteem usually underpinned by low self-belief and the fear that their dignity is at stake.
Here’s a small sample of the statements (personal information withheld) made by women…
- What if I try and I fail?
- I don’t think I’m good enough
- I’m not as good as ‘X’
- I’m scared
- Scared I’ll give it a go and fail
- I’m so overwhelmed I don’t do anything
- I’m too chicken to start
- Trying and failing seems like shutting a door in my face
- I’m being caught in comparison…to self and others
- I spiral into shame and embarrassment
- I avoid get-togethers and worry about people’s judgments
- I experience road blocks and the worst depression
- I compare myself to other world-renowned people in my area and field
- I’m not as good as ‘Y’
- I couldn’t do ‘Z’ because I don’t have the experience
And that’s just the beginning.
All these women are in transition.
They are all searching for something and many of them are not sure what direction to take, and they’re frightened to make a start. Some do know what they want but something is holding them back. They are confused, anxious, and concerned they will be judged. They are judging themselves against other women.
Grab your FREE Emotions and Moods States Guide to learn how you can begin to ditch anxiety and other less resourceful moods ..
What It Means To Live With Dignity (An Interpretation)
At the core of dignity is an interpretation of self-acceptance (I accept myself as I am).
There’s also the importance of maintaining integrity and the importance of acting consistently with our own standards that we individually and collectively hold as important – the standards we have developed over a lifetime of observing acceptable practices within our communities. For example: punctuality, consistency, quality of work/service, care and consideration for others, expertise.
Self-esteem and self-respect are incredibly important to us, and to ensure we have these, it is important to take actions consistent to our standards.
What’s At Stake?
What’s at stake is the assessment that we might lose our dignity, show up as lacking integrity, or come across as a fraud. “What if my work doesn’t live up to mine or someone else’s standards?”
The last thing most women want is to appear grandeur, more powerful, or more capable than others – especially if, heaven forbid, someone finds out that we’re a fraud.
Dignity matters to us.
Pride in what we do and concern for how we show up stops is from showing up from the heart
What’s Really Going On?
While these are the principles we live by, they are not facts.
They’re interpretations of what it means to lead a dignified life and what’s at stake if we can’t. Hidden in the stories that we’re making up are judgements (about ourselves and the world) and the opinions that we form from these. We make judgements because we have certain standards. Our standards shape the expectations we have of how to go about living life.
We’re often masters of judgments, but so often our judgements are just plain off. They’re not tangible and true. They’re judgments and opinions. What we can pinpoint as true must be agreed upon by a community of people. So often, we make judgments about ourselves as women that we assume others are making about us.
Perhaps the accountability lies with community standards, common practices we have grown up with, advertising and media…but that’s a conversation for another blog.
Here’s a comparison between what we can say is ‘true’ and what’s not…
(Let’s agree for this exercise that the statement in the right column of the table is true)
Joleen is my website developer – for this exercise. For Joleen to be the best website developer on the market, she would need the skills (which I can safely declare she has, based on her qualifications and the work she’s done producing my website) and a track record which I don’t have the evidence for right now. It’s my opinion that Joleen is the best website developer – developing just one website doesn’t make her the best.
Here’s one more…
You can see how quickly we can observe what’s going on in the world – through our own lens, interpret the information we receive through our experiences, and form judgments and opinions, then treat those as though they are the truth.
Shifting your emotions and moods states can really help you ditch these core assessments.
Grab the FREE emotions and moods states guide here and begin to understand the moods and emotions that will serve you for what you want to create.
The Relationship Between Transition Dignity And Support
Transitioning can be a complex, life-changing experience that takes as long as it takes. Ask anyone who has gone through a major transition in their life and they’ll tell you times got really tough.
“Times got really tough” is a valid opinion. You can bet their dignity was at stake, even if they don’t see it.
No one person has the insight about me that I have about myself, nor does anyone hold the same (valid) interpretations
While I’m pushing through (because that’s how it can feel) each day, trying to maintain my dignity and crack open a new secret to my new world (slight exaggeration but you get my drift), well-meaning people and so-called powerful quotes and opinions from so-called experts throw a barrage of ways to go about life, and how I should think in that process.
Phew, that’s a long sentence. I know, I broke the rules.
Here’s some insight into the judgments and opinions I experienced…
- You should get a job
- Have you applied for a job yet?
- Why don’t you get a part-time job?
- Why are you selling? Don’t you want to keep the house for ‘X’ reason?
- Gosh, it’s such a beautiful home, it’ll be so sad when you sell!
- Come on, get up off the couch – you can do it!
- You’re not a failure
- You’re fantastic
- The only failure is the person who fails to try
- Take a moment and realise how blessed you are
- Fill your mind with good and…
- Push yourself because no one else is going to do it for you
- Between winning and losing there is not much difference
I could go on for pages!
What’s Important For Me To Maintain Dignity So I Can Thrive?
Let’s say you’re sick of listening to others and you decide to aim for this…
I recognise the importance of my own work, I take pride in my work, and I want to decide and declare my own standards.
Deep down, you know your life is your life so whatever standards you choose to live by are yours to live by.
When you experience self-doubt and fear, it means there’s a gap between what you believe you are and your standards of what you expect you should be. My mentor Alan Seiler from the Newfield Institute says; “We’re all human becomings.”
Whether you feel it or not, whether you like it or not, you are continually transforming – a human becoming. Yet, with a barrage of information coming at you it’s easy to see why bridging that gap between what you believe you are and your standards of what you expect you should be, hasn’t been easy.
Dignity is not easy when your emotions overwhelm you. Have you grabbed your FREE Emotions and Moods States Guide yet?
Don’t Lower Your Expectations – Shape Them
Shaping your expectations doesn’t mean lowering them. You can chose to live how you like. Just because someone does something one way, doesn’t mean you have to do it that way.
As each day ticks along, a deeper listening to those external influences will help you to develop the sensitivities to shape your own expectations. Self-judgment and listening to external influences isn’t linear or separate.
You will constantly be triggered by what you see and hear.
Triggers emerge from previous experiences, therefore they always have an embodied response, for example; when you read that positive affirmation that affirms you couldn’t possibly do that thing or be that person, you can observe your relationship to the affirmation by listening to that feeling in the pit of your gut, or the tingles, the butterflies, the tension and the collapsing into your body.
What message are you getting from it? What do you hear yourself saying to yourself about yourself? Does it confirm what you’ve already known – I’m not good enough or something else enough?
Listening deeply and non-judgementally to your triggers is a beautiful life skill to help you navigate the transition with deep respect for yourself. You get to shape your own expectations and standards. How wonderful will that feel?
If you would like support to peel back one self-doubt layer at a time, click here for a FREE clarity call and I’ll support you in your thoughts and actions to transition.
I wish the best of care for you this day and every day.
Do you have any questions? Comments? Insights? I’m here to listen! Let’s chat below.
P.S. I also have a Facebook page where I’d love to chat with you and answer your questions! Click here and like my page.