R-E-S-P-E-C-T… Just a little bit.

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One of the hardest places to be when you have anxiety is drowning in the pool of self-doubt. You make yourself feel unworthy, lesser and insignificant. When you feel like this, the hardest part is getting even just a little bit of respect – because you’ve forgotten how to respect yourself.

When I look at how much I have gotten through, and how much I have achieved, sometimes I forget to look back with pride and instead focus on the negatives.

When I’m on a high, I’ll look at myself in the mirror and give myself a pep-talk. Specifically around work. I remind myself that I am good at what I do. I have a very specialised skill set that a lot of companies would kill for, and I have worked hard for that skill set. I am not indispensable.

So why do I let people make me feel an inch tall?

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The industry I work in is predominantly male. Its hard for a woman to be taken seriously when they’re not generally associated with engineering and technology. People expect me to be able to fashion a dress out of conveyor belts sooner than they’d have me designing a conveyor system.

I like pink. But I also like automation and technology and there is no single reason why the two shouldn’t go together.

But I find it difficult when I’m looked down on and suddenly I find myself turning into a shrinking violet who questions everything she knows, even though I know I know more about it than the people uplifted on a pedestal of their own making.

But that’s the way anxiety works. Its overthinking your own capabilities and worrying that you’ll be found out as a fraud when you’re anything but. Feedback is feedback, but positive words can do more for a person’s motivation, self-esteem and anxiety than line after line of negativity designed to undermine the other person.

I think everyone needs to be reminded: you are capable and you can do anything you set your mind to. Forget the haters, and the voices within you that tell you otherwise. Anything you want to achieve is out there to be achieved- regardless of whether it was “designed” to fit your demographic or not.

Those who don’t pay you just a little bit of respect are not worth having around. If they take you for granted, someone else will appreciate every ounce of skill you have. Those are the people you want around you.

This is your own personal pep-talk.


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