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I Don’t Chase People Anymore After Learning “I Do Matter”

I Don’t Chase People Anymore After Learning “I Do Matter”

We are all a collective being of our experiences, thoughts and beliefs and many of these are aimed at our own self-value and self-worth. How we feel about ourselves within can determine our outside experiences, actions and interactions with those around us. In other words, if you experience low self-worth and don’t put a high value on your role in the world then this can have a detrimental effect on your relationships and even your mental well-being and happiness.

It’s easy to develop negative feelings about yourself; in fact, you are more likely to develop the same level of self-worth as one of your parents or a mixture of the two. From an early age, you can start to determine your place in the world by evaluating your connections with the people around you and this can develop into negative connections if you are around dominating, critical or judgemental people.

Without even realising it, you can carry this low-self worth into adulthood and apply it to the relationships you create. If this sounds familiar to you then you’re not alone. I’m one of those people too – someone who has struggled with low-self worth that has sabotaged both relationships with others, but most importantly with myself.

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How lack of self-love truly affected me

I’ve always been a more naturally introverted person and quite shy at times as well as highly sensitive. That meant every time a mean comment was thrown at me (which always happened to everyone at some stage during school) it stuck in my mind like superglue. Instead of having the inner strength and self-love to shrug it off and refuse to believe it, I added it to my bank of inner criticism and took it as truth.

I didn’t ever feel like I had someone to tell me this isn’t true – that the negative thoughts and actions of others can’t damage me unless I let them. I wasn’t aware that I had the power to ignore or understand the true meanings behind personal attacks, in my mind, it was my fault because I must be a less worthy person.

This transcended into my relationships with others. I would never stand my ground but instead run around after people to gain their recognition or acceptance. This, in turn, meant I was easily used and I stayed in relationships that made me unhappy, that were unfulfilling and didn’t allow me the space to grow. I would often stay with someone through fear that I wouldn’t ever find someone else or be worthy of a better relationship.

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The constant need for love

Lack of self-love and feeling like I didn’t matter meant I would seek love externally. Relationships defined me. If I was striving to make the other person happy then that was the basis of my own happiness. If they were in a bad mood, it was my fault – self-blame was evident in all areas of my life. I needed to be accepted wherever I went and if I wasn’t then there was something wrong with me. I always had to please others and put their happiness above my own because in my mind, that was a reflection of me.

The problem with this is that it eats away at you; it’s exhausting. I didn’t have the ability or even the want to set myself life goals and I didn’t celebrate any achievements because I didn’t let myself congratulate myself – it was extremely alien to me.

Understanding that happiness comes from within and starts with self-love

There came a point in my life where I found myself alone, broke, jobless and depressed. They say you need to experience the very bottom before you can rise to the top, well this was the experience for me. It was after a breakdown that I finally had enough. I couldn’t live my life this way – I can’t live my life to please others.

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It was this realisation that started my journey to self-love and happiness. I finally realised that only I can be responsible for how I feel, for my reactions to situations and other people. My inner-world is a direct reflection of my outer-world: my low self-worth and lack of respect for myself was showing in my life situation and my relationships.

Changing the way you think about yourself after a lifetime is not an easy process but with support, encouragement and determination both from external sources and myself I came to realise that I am loveable and what other people think about me is just their own issues they are struggling with. This was probably the first hugely important realisation for me – people aren’t superior, they are not living their life perfectly, they make mistakes and they have issues just like me. I shouldn’t compare myself to people who aren’t perfect themselves – no one is.

Whether you’re a happy or unhappy person is determinate on whether you love yourself and know you matter in this world or not. Discovering that inner happiness will simply change the way you see things for what they really are and placing yourself as important in everything you do.

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The road to self-love is always a continuous journey and for me, it has now improved my life in so many ways. Finally, my outer world is reflecting my inner world in a much more positive and happy way.

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Jenny Marchal

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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