Becoming Empowered – Self-Reliance, Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence

As women, we often see articles or read words like self-reliance, self-esteem and self-confidence and wonder what they really mean?  They even sound like each other – or at least, they all have the word ‘self’ in them. But for us as females, how do we really thrive in all three and how can we apply them in our lives?  What do they really mean to us, sitting at work, home or on the bus, reading about this stuff?

Being self-reliant as a woman

Take the woman who is single and lives alone.  Maybe she used to depend on her partner to do ‘those things’ partners do – you know, change the plugs, replace the lightbulbs and even fix the pool filter that always gets stuck.  In turn, she may have been doing the ‘womanly’ things we’re taught to do – cook, clean and taxi kids around – although these stereotypical roles are fast becoming a thing of the past.  All of us can do any of them.

Take Sara. At 32, she has been divorced for three years and lives alone because she travels a fair bit with her work.  She has learned self-reliance. When things break down or don’t work anymore, she is quite capable of fixing them.  Last week she changed the electrical point and fixed the pool filter.  Because it had got stuck, again.

She also painted the toilet door that had been annoying her for some time. She is capable and able and relies on herself to get things sorted. And if something is beyond her skills – no bother, she’ll simply call the right professional to do the job.

Definition of self-reliance:  reliance on one’s own powers and resources rather than those of others.  Sara does just that, and so can you if you need to.

The issue of self-esteem and self-confidence

Self-esteem is having ‘confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; having self-respect’. This, I believe, is the biggest single hindrance to women becoming empowered.  There is nothing you cannot do if you put your mind to it. Nothing!

You can get any job you like (within your skill set, or learn the skills you need to get the one you want), you can design and kick any goals you want to, you can have the thriving career you dream about, the relationship you want and be as happy as you can – it all depends on you and going after what you want.  And that all depends on your self-esteem, your self-confidence and the belief you have in your abilities.

Another example is Jen. At 42, she is well educated and works in a law firm.  She could be a top advocate but has never got there.  She allows herself to stay in what she calls ‘an average job with average pay’ and asks me ‘what is wrong with me? Why am I not picked for a promotion?’

I tell her there is NOTHING wrong with her. She has all the ingredients to make a world-class cake.  What she lacks is the confidence to bake it.  She is fearful that she will make a mistake, look silly, and fail. And her cake will be a flop.  But if she doesn’t start to bake it, it’ll be a flop anyway, right?

If you have low self-esteem (in other words you lack the confidence in YOU) you tend not to try things, or go places, or meet people.

Self-esteem + Self-Confidence = Self-Reliance

When you have all three you generally are rocking.

Women who feel good about who they are and believe they can (realistically, that is) are happy to ‘give life a go’ and are prepared to go outside of their comfort zone to try new things and enjoy new experiences.

My mother is a classic example.  Born in 1936, she lost her father six years later and became a ‘parentified child.’  This is a child who starts to look after their parent for various reasons.

She learned to look after her mother from a young age (could be a good or bad thing!) and as a little girl, got herself to school, cooked, cleaned, drove at an early age and still today believes in herself to the end.  There is nothing she cannot do.

She has single-handedly built a granny flat, cut tiles and tiled the floor, painted the walls, put in the windows and still changes electrical points. When we went on holiday a few years ago, she decided to give hang-gliding a whirl. Petrified as she was being strapped in for the ride, she was determined to give it a go … and  loved it.  She reckons that was a highlight of her holiday.

All three ingredients make a confident gal.

High self-esteem + high self- confidence + high self-reliance = good life.

How do you know if you lack any of the three?

There are so many ways you will know if you struggle with any of these, including:

  • You often doubt yourself, using words like ‘I can’t’ or ‘I will never be able to’
  • You tell yourself (and believe) that you are not good enough, never will be able to do something
  • You don’t try things outside of your comfort zone
  • You spend most of your time thinking negatively about yourself
  • You are your own biggest critic – often putting yourself down about being fat, stupid, not clever enough
  • You don’t want to go out and meet new people or do new things
  • You won’t accept the offer of a promotion at work because you don’t believe you are worthy of it, or won’t do it well
  • Worse still – you don’t even apply for the promotion for the same reasons
  • You won’t ask for more money
  • You are uncomfortable when you are intimate because of how you believe your body looks

Why women feel this way

  • They learned these negative messages as children
  • They don’t have a history of being told how wonderful they are or that they can achieve anything they want to
  • They have learned to be fearful of trying or even of success
  • They are not sure how to come across as strong and not arrogant
  • They are unsure how to be confident
  • They have not learned to love and appreciate the wonderful woman they are
  • They are too scared to give life a go – in case they fall
  • They have often been ignored or looked past in the time of promotions or selections of some kind


Nothing will change unless you do

If we women don’t do anything to help ourselves, if we don’t take steps to empower ourselves, to learn to be confident and self-reliant, to love and accept ourselves as wonderful gifted women, sure as hell no one else is going to do it for us!

But that’s not a negative comment – let me explain why.

The Dalai Lama once said that ‘the world will be saved by women.’

We women are amazing. We are stronger and more powerful than we think. We have all the tools inside of us to achieve the life of which we dream. Sometimes, we just need a little push, or a helping hand to guide us on the right path.

So, are you ready to start your journey? Are you ready to achieve Personal Empowerment? Do you need a little more help?

Learn more here  about personal empowerment.

What now?

Stage 1 of the Be Unstoppable empowerment program for women is all about the topic of Personal Empowerment – making good decisions and choices, having control over what you do and setting goals. And this first topic of the 9 stages is offered to you free of charge, whilst you get ready to continue the Program and complete all 9 stages.

Learn how to take charge of your everyday life by becoming more empowered, focussing on what makes you happy and feeling in control of you.

Find out more here:

If you’d like to discuss any concerns or ideas you have about personal empowerment, book a free discussion on today!

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

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