I was looking through a long list of irrelevant things one day, and this crazy term popped out at me: self-efficacy. What is self-efficacy? I had heard of all of the other “self’s.” There was self-confidence, self-loathing, self-love, self-esteem, self-help, self-harm, and any other self you can conjure. But I hadn’t heard the term “self-efficacy.” So, I did a little digging.
To be completely honest, I didn’t want to shuffle through medical jargon to come to an understanding of the subject. I just wanted to get an idea about the thing so I read an article. The keypoints jumped out at me as something that I could take away:
1. Mastery Experiences
“The most effective way of developing a strong sense of efficacy is through mastery experiences,” Bandura explained. Performing a task successfully strengthens our sense of self-efficacy. However, failing to adequately deal with a task or challenge can undermine and weaken self-efficacy.
The Curvy Broke Girl’s Interpretation:
Trying new stuff, especially when you struggle with self-love and self-esteem issues can be exhausting. I’ve heard of women breaking down and crying because they had to go to a public dance class. I have a friend that canceled a photoshoot with me because she got so much anxiety that she actually puked.
This stuff is real.
I’ve had that equivalent in my life, as well. When I was a self-loathing individual, I would do this thing where I would obsess and “perfect.” I had to be perfect. If I didn’t get it right (which was inevitable) I decided that I was inherently bad. This was never a conscious process it was simply the way I thought. After working through my stuff, and changing my thinking, I came to this conclusion: perfection will actually kill me. If I try to be perfect, I will fail (because that’s how learning works) and then, I will self-loathe, and fall into a bad cycle. So now, I allow myself some wiggle room. As long as I am moving forward, I am okay. It’s hard to know that, in America especially, but I am working on internalizing this belief. Failing is a part of the process just as much, if not more so, as success.
2. Social Modeling
Witnessing other people successfully completing a task is another important source of self-efficacy. According to Bandura, “Seeing people similar to oneself succeed by sustained effort raises observers’ beliefs that they too possess the capabilities to master comparable activities to succeed.”
The Curvy Broke Perspective-
What this means to a curvy broke girl is that I must see people that I identify with as successful, and capable of having a good life. If I see that people like me can make it in this world, then I too can make it. This is why I love seeing plus/curvy women in the media. Not only do I see women that look like me now but I prefer to see women that look like me now and I want to have the body I have. That is huge for me. I can look up to a woman that is bigger, curvier, louder, smarter, and think, “That bitch is bad, and I want to look like her.”
Bandura also asserted that people could be persuaded to believe that they have the skills and capabilities to succeed. Consider a time when someone said something positive and encouraging that helped you achieve a goal. Getting verbal encouragement from others helps people overcome self-doubt and instead focus on giving their best effort to the task at hand.
The Curvy, broke perspective-
Get a supportive group of people around you. Here are some things that supportive people say, that will help you identify when someone is (or is not) supportive:
“Hell yeah, Girl! You can totally do this! I have seen you do X, Y, and Z. I know that you can beat this. You are a Gallagher.”
“I know that, if you give this a real shot, you can totally get this dance down. You are a Gallagher.”
“Girl, you are a Gallagher.”
(Shoutout to Shameless fam.)
4. Psychological Responses
Our own responses and emotional reactions to situations also play an important role in self-efficacy. Moods, emotional states, physical reactions, and stress levels can all impact how a person feels about their personal abilities in a particular situation. A person who becomes extremely nervous before speaking in public may develop a weak sense of self-efficacy in these situations.
However, Bandura also notes “it is not the sheer intensity of emotional and physical reactions that is important but rather how they are perceived and interpreted.” By learning how to minimize stress and elevate mood when facing difficult or challenging tasks, people can improve their sense of self-efficacy.
From my Curvy, Broke perspective-
Two things need to happen:
- Insure that you have as much calm in your waters as possible. Like, the way I see it, if you’re doing your best to have a calm lifestyle, the things that do aggravate will be less frequent in a tranquil mind. Now, that’s easier said than done but not impossible. Meditation. I can’t emphasize it enough, has helped this crazy girl a lot. I used to fly off the handle (I was usually drunk, but still). I can honestly say it has been a long time since I’ve lost my cool and meditation plays a big part in that.
- Working at breaking down your beliefs so that you can interpret situations more clearly rather than viewing them with distortion a.k.a. feelings and emotions.
So there you have it. Self-efficacy through the eyes of a curvy, broke girl.
The Curvy Broke Girl
A Body Positive Blog