I have some amazing women in my life and too many of them don’t believe they are good enough, they don’t believe in themselves, they don’t have confidence… They’re scared to speak up, to take up space – they’ve lost their shine
It’s heartbreaking. I know how amazing they are – I know this isn’t true, but I understand it. I’m no stranger to feelings of uncertainty, inadequacy, confusion and struggle.
Where does this come from?
Tall poppy syndrome
It’s described as the ‘cultural phenomenon’ of mocking people who think highly of themselves. It can be a negative reaction when we achieve something we’re proud of or when we say something nice about ourselves. It happens at work, school and home – good one #straya.
In other cultures and countries, it’s unheard of – people celebrate the success of others instead of ‘cutting them down to size’. We stop sharing things with people when we get such negativity.
If you’re doing this and bringing someone down – ask yourself why you believe you are beneath them?
I’ve seen it countless times in my career, people being held back because they are high achievers. I’ve seen managers withhold information or put people down behind their backs (or in front of them), to ‘put them in their place’.
This often comes from a place of insecurity from the bullies part. They are afraid that they won’t be seen as the expert or the smart one, when this is not necessary at all.
Once I realised that having a team of winners with different strengths meant the team were more successful (and therefore I was more successful) – the game changed. I’ve been trying to work with people who are better than me ever since!
Is it our parents telling us we can’t do this or that. Are they really ‘trying to protect us’ by telling us all the things that could go wrong or why we couldn’t succeed? Or is it their belief that they couldn’t do it themselves? Why do girls get called bossy while boys are called leaders?
Is it society providing mixed messages and impossible standards, and we just don’t know what to do?
Is it childhood movies
The movies we grew up with always had the theme of ‘needing a man to save us’.
- Rapunzel (18) – an abducted child needed the prince to come and save her
- Snow white (14) – after her step mother tried to kill her, she needed the prince to save her
- Sleeping beauty was cursed at birth to die before 16 and again, needed another prince
- Fiona needed Shrek – ‘true love’s first kiss’
- Beauty and the Beast – needed Stockholm syndrome to kick in so they could ‘fall in love’ and she ‘saved’ him this time…
- The little mermaid (16) – you guessed it, another dude
- Cinderella (19) was a slave to her step mother and sisters. Another prince needed to save her, but only when she’s pretty…
I could go on…
So how do we ignore this noise and back ourselves?
- Find the right community full of people who always have your back, cheer for you when you succeed and sit with you when you’re down
- Have the courage to back yourself anyway – know that you are amazing!
- Find a job, organisation or manager that aligns with your values and wants you to succeed
- Speak to others with kindness and compassion – we never know what someone is going through behind closed doors
- Find an impartial mentor, someone who can see the real you and work with you to develop your strengths – someone impartial may mean you hear them differently
- Remove the negativity – unfollow social media accounts, disconnect from unsupportive friends and protect yourself with negative family members
- Be a courageous leader and allow others to shine 🌟 – the light will reflect on you, I promise
How do you back yourself in a world that tries to bring people down?
I’ve been in communications for over 17 years and in the work health and safety industry for a decade. I’ve seen the damage poor communication and sweeping problems under the rug can do.
I partner with courageous companies and individuals to bring light to these issues and improve mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.
Get in touch to find out how we can work together.