**Before I begin this blog I want to make it clear that an eating disorder often pushes its own values on a sufferer. These are not authentic core values but rather the values instilled by these destructive disorders.
I got asked the other day what makes someone confident. How do I become more confident in my life when it feels like I am constantly feeling insecure and disconnected from the part of me that believes in myself? What does it mean to feel confident and how do I move from my current place of insecurity into feeling self-assured? It feels in many ways like there are 8 million articles out there about confidence and what you need to do to hold your head high and to like who you are. Many of them have good points and yet when I really narrow it down, I think confidence comes from living a life that is aligned with your values.
Every person has a value system. It might not be something that we pay a lot of attention to but it is what guides us in navigating the world we live in. We can often figure out what our values are based on what we have reactions to. Are there certain things that make you feel connected, proud, or happy? Are there other things that make you feel particularly angry, hurt or annoyed? These feelings are often guided by our values and what we believe is important in life. The main reason I believe our values are so tied to our confidence is because we see people who seem to have it all and yet feel incredibly threatened and insecure, the same way we see people who seem to constantly get the short end of stick who trust themselves, take defeat or challenge openly and still believe they are worthy. The more aligned we are with our values, the more confident we will be because we feel as though we are living a life of value and significance.
I know for myself, when people give me feedback or judge me, I feel much more able to take on that feedback when I feel my behaviors, thoughts or feelings were rooted in my values. In other words, were my actions an innocent mistake or was I stepping outside of my core values of integrity, accountability, respect, presence, compassion etc? When it feels like an innocent mistake it means I am human, when I wasn’t acting in alignment with my values it makes me feel like I am engaging in behaviors that don’t uphold what I believe makes me the best version of myself (and therefore I feel more insecure). In other words, I will feel less worthy if I am not living according to the very things that I believe make up a meaningful, admirable life.
The reality is we all sometimes step outside of our values, whether that be because we are tired, because it feels hard (or the opposite feels too easy) or for some other motivating reason. It doesn’t make us bad people, it just means we need to spend the time realigning with our values and ourselves so we don’t feel so guilty or, on the extreme end, ashamed of who we are.
Take some time to get clear on what your values are and then spend some time figuring out how you will get yourself closer to them. In what ways do you frequently sacrifice what you value for a different gain? How would it look to integrate them more into your life? Being confident doesn’t mean we are perfect or that life only works out. It means we accept that we are sometimes flawed but, assuming we are connected to our values, that doesn’t challenge our worthiness or our sense of self.