Confidence…The Missing Ingredient in Women’s Health

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Oh, my!  I’ve had so many conversations around this topic lately.  If I’m honest, this topic comes up regularly in the work I do, helping women build hormone health.  Lately though, these conversations have expanded to conversations with friends and colleagues,too.  Women who are doing, and have done, some amazing things in their lives…and still, we are having these conversations.  It intrigued me so much that I thought I would do a little more research and share my discoveries and insights with you in a series of posts…and maybe a video or two!

Dictionary.com  gives this definition
confidence
noun

  1. the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.
  2. the state of feeling certain about the truth of something.
  3. a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.

I watched an interview with Mel Robbins (love her!) where she shares her belief that most people have got the idea of confidence all wrong. She says that confidence is a skill, and not a matter of personality.  I have to agree.  Here’s what she says about confidence…

“Confidence is the ability to move, in my opinion, from thought to action.”  She goes on to say, “Because when you’re a confident person, you believe enough in yourself and your capabilities that you are willing to try, that you’re willing to share. To me, confidence isn’t the assuredness that it turns out, it’s the willingness to try.”- Mel Robbins

Practically speaking, confidence is what gives you the ability to move from idea to action.  It doesn’t guarantee action, but if you don’t have it, you are most unlikely to act.  In this failure to act, we often accept what is, and remain where we are.  Sadly, this often leads to suffering in one way or another.

Now that we have a better idea of where confidence comes from, you probably want to know, “how do we get it?”  Confidence comes from our belief in an ability, and that belief comes from experience.  So, you might ask, “If experience is required to believe we can do something, so that we can then do it, how do we ever get the experience in the first place?” Good question. 

This is where RISK comes in. 

Whether it be a baby letting go of its parent’s hand in order to take those first steps, the first time you speak in public after practicing in a mirror for weeks, or, as is the case of the women I work with, taking my advice, trusting me, and making changes to build their nutrition and health.  Each of these actions requires a gained trust, followed by an element of risk. This is where we TRY.

When the risks we take provide positive experiences.  We gain that trust in OUR OWN ABILITY to do ‘that thing’ we didn’t know we could do.  AHHH!  Now we know that we have the ability and can trust that we are capable.  Once that happens, we will try it again, experience it again, learn, and build confidence in that ability each time.  Sounds like a SKILL to me!

But what does any of this have to do with confidence being the missing ingredient in women’s health?  I’ll tell you…

  • Did you know that most medical research, about 75%, is done on men?
  • Over 30 million of women are struggling with fatigue, depression, joint pain, weight challenges and other symptoms of thyroid problems and resultant hormone imbalance.
  • Millions of women are on hormonal birth control for years and are uninformed of the consequences. 
  • Hysterectomy is the most frequently performed surgery in the US and very frequently it is unnecessary.
  • 1 out of 10 women are struggling due to Endometriosis as well as PCOS which impairs fertility and increases risks for other chronic health conditions.

Does this information spark confidence from you about the ability of our current healthcare system to effectively serve women’s health needs?  I know it doesn’t increase my confidence in the system.

While this may seem negative, I want you to understand that I am not anti-doctor.  I am pro-women’s health.  I believe that every woman has the right and responsibility to understand and play a starring role in her health care.  These statistics may seem to point to failures in the healthcare system, but they also point to the fact that women continue to place their confidence in a system that is failing them.  No, the system and the people in it are not malicious. The problem has grown out of circumstance, ignorance, and a system that is failing at many levels.

Aviva Romm, MD, Midwife, and Herbalist, has said: “Women in their early 30s are opting for hysterectomy over any more suffering. Because they’ve been suffering alone, undiagnosed or without real solutions, sometimes for a decade or more – and they’re over it.”

She also shares…

“It’s known that many women who come to the doctor seeking a diagnosis of one of these conditions gets labeled as a difficult patient. I’ve seen this term in women’s medical charts. Many are given a prescription for an antidepressant instead of an appropriate evaluation.”
-Aviva Romm

She’s seeing this from the inside!  And sadly, I have, too.  I watched this same thing happen over and over in my years working inside the healthcare system, and I continue to hear stories of this from my clients every day.  Even more discouraging, I have been a victim to this myself.

In my case, my lack of confidence in the healthcare system caused me to seek out evidence that eventually restored my own confidence, as well as my confidence in a different model for women’s health.  This holistic model places the woman (the patient) at the center of the model for care, where women can be heard, seen and appropriately evaluated and treated.  While the Functional Medicine Model is still young and the execution of care isn’t perfect, it’s focus is spot on. 

If you’re a woman, you know your body better than anyone else.  You have an intimate relationship with it 24/7 and no one else can observe the myriad of data that you can observe from day to day.  The power of this is amazing.  However, without a background in biology, physiology, medicine, nutrition, exercise science, psychology, and oh so much more, you are left to your own devices to interpret all that information.  When that happens, there’s only one thing left to do….Consult Dr. Google. 

Yep, that’s what most people do.  It’s usually the first step that people take these days, and that is where things get overwhelming.  Where do you look first?  How do you know if the information is helpful? True? Not gonna kill you?

Where’s your confidence now?

While I know that the healthcare system at large doesn’t have all the answers, I am keenly aware that Functional Medicine doesn’t have all the answers either.  No system does.  I do, however know that as a culture we have lost much of the connection with how our bodies were designed to function.  Modern lifestyles have also conditioned us to be good at ignoring the signals our bodies are sending us…or at the very least, it’s made us really bad at interpreting what is going on.  The conventional medicine model has conditioned us to remove ourselves, our intuition, our own observations from the model of care and farm that out to doctors who are trained to diagnose and treat allopathically. 

The picture is bleak in women’s health. We need practitioners who will lead women to begin to trust their own bodies again, to trust their intuition, their observations, their ability to ask the right questions of their doctors, and their ability to say “no” when they don’t agree with the care that is recommended, and the courage to reach out for a second, or even third opinion.

We need a movement

More than that, we need a movement that brings this awareness to women who are suffering and not finding real and relevant solutions.   A movement that fosters the confidence that helps women believe they have the power to understand and care for themselves in ways that no one else can.  A movement that makes women the center of their own health care with holistic solutions like nutrition, self-care, exercise, rest, stress reduction, community, connection.  Lastly, we need trusted mentors who will help women discover and implement these solutions.  Because that, my friends, is the recipe for restoring a woman’s confidence in her body and her ‘self’.

I’ve seen it with my own eyes.  Not only in myself, but in the lives of the women I have helped guide and mentor to nourish, nurture and connect with themselves in order to rediscover their hormone balance, their health, their energy, and focus.  It is possible.

If you’ve found yourself feeling isolated, like there are no answers for the symptoms you are struggling with, you are not alone. There are solutions that can help you rebuild your health, and the confidence that’s been undermined by the narrative you’ve believed.  It isn’t all in your head. You aren’t crazy.  Your confidence has taken a hit, but trust me, it doesn’t have to be this way.

If you’re ready to be part of the movement to restore confidence to women’s health, I invite you to watch my latest video. I share the 3 Most Important Things You Need to Restore Confidence, and begin your journey to better hormones, better health and a better you!

See you there!

 

 

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