Menopause and low confidence
You weren’t born not liking yourself. It’s only when you become aware of others’ opinions that you start to judge yourself. It’s natural for many to feel like strangers in their own bodies or to find themselves questioning their identity, decisions, and competence during menopause.
LOW CONFIDENCE DEFINITION
Low self-esteem or low confidence is when you lack confidence in yourself – who you are and what you can do. You often have a negative perception of your self-worth and value. It can affect your mood, relationships, home life, and work.
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HOW LIKELY IS LOW CONFIDENCE?
Low confidence can impact anyone at any age but can be particularly intense and prevalent in menopause. It’s difficult to put an exact figure on it, but:
- Menopausal women report feeling less confident in their work abilities
- Levels of confidence and self-esteem typically peak around middle age and then decline after 60
- Declines may be attributed to factors such as age stereotypes, retirement, and declining health
Read more about the stages of menopause.
SIGNS OF LOW CONFIDENCE IN MENOPAUSE
Using self-deprecating humor, focusing on negatives or blaming yourself when things go wrong
Feeling undeserving and having difficulty accepting compliments
Being sensitive to criticism and often making negative comparisons of self against others
Lacking confidence or difficulty in making decisions
HOW CAN YOU EASE LOW CONFIDENCE SYMPTOMS?
Unlike some physical symptoms of menopause, low confidence, and self-esteem cannot be so easily fixed with creams or medicines. It takes time and energy but can be a unique opportunity to make positive changes. While no one wants to experience the symptoms of menopause, and you might not always feel ready to embrace change, it can be a great opportunity to pause and think about your life and its direction.
Build a new narrative of yourself
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a helpful method of identifying negative thought patterns and how they impact your emotions and behaviors. Another way of shifting negative self-talk is to remind yourself of the things that you like and value by asking yourself:
- What is something that you love about yourself?
- What is something that you appreciate about yourself?
- What is something that others recognize you for?
- What are some of your outstanding qualities?
Test your perception
Perception is powerful and can play a big role in self-esteem. When you next go out, imagine that the first three people you interact with think you are amazing. What does this do to your posture and how you hold your body? How do you feel about yourself? Then imagine that the next three people you interact with think you are incapable or inadequate. What does this do to your mood? How secure do you feel? This exercise helps to highlight how powerful your sense of perception is and how it can affect your mood.
Promote more positive thoughts
When you look in the mirror, you may see yourself through the eyes of other people. Next time you look in the mirror, give yourself a big smile. Compliment yourself and flirt with yourself. This might feel silly at first but it is a simple way of challenging narratives and promoting positive and conscious thoughts. Most people initially go to their flaws rather than strengths and that is okay. Acknowledge any negative thoughts and then let them fade away.
Self-care is important for a healthy relationship with yourself. Take this as your cue to slow down and remind yourself of what is important…YOU. Between work, family, and other obligations, you can often forget the importance of taking time to check in with how you are feeling. Set aside 15-30 minutes to remind yourself that you are capable and worthy.
Say no to the things that don’t serve you
Doing more activities that you love and resonate with your values can help bolster your self-esteem. When you spend all of your energy trying to make others happy, you send yourself a message that you’re less important.
Consider taking a social media break
Social media can ramp up the tendency to make comparisons between yourself and others – heightening feelings of inadequacy. Try taking a break from social media, even for just a day, and notice how you feel.
Ditch the perfectionistic mindset
We all make mistakes from time to time – we’re human. Often when you have low self-esteem, you don’t permit yourself to make mistakes. Mistakes are normal – try viewing them as an opportunity for growth instead of a justification to withhold self-love.
Balance your lifestyle
Don’t underestimate the power of exercising regularly, eating well, and getting plenty of sleep – it can do wonders for your self-esteem.
Would hormone therapy (HT) help?
It might. HT is known to improve mood, sleep, and hot flashes during menopause. However, HT comes with risks and is not suitable for everyone. Speak to your healthcare provider about your personal treatment options.
Read more about HT risks and benefits.