How Jacqui, Jo and Sarah learned to embrace their flaws

Prioritising your self-worth ultimately helps you make better choices. Jacqui Felgate, Jo Stanley and Sarah Davidson explain how to tackle self-doubt and find acceptance.

Whitney Houston was spot on when she sang “learning to love yourself, is the greatest love of all” in her classic 1985 ballad.

While fairy tales and films focus on finding love with someone else to secure a happily ever after, it is self-love that is the true key to long-term happiness

So, what is self-love? Basically, it’s about prioritising your own needs and figuring out what’s important to you in order to make better choices.

While several studies have shown that a little self-doubt can be a powerful motivator that drives us to try harder and perform better, psychologist Sandy Rea says practicing self-love can help people identify patterns of behaviour that are unhealthy.

It might be that you are snacking on junk food or drinking heavily because you are unhappy with something else about yourself, she explains. 

Or perhaps you are making bad choices in relationships because you don’t believe that you deserve better.

“Self-love isn’t the same as narcissism,” Sandy says. 

“Rather, it’s all about finding ways to look after yourself to nurture your long-term health and wellbeing.” 

Three successful women share their journeys to self-love and acceptance.

Jacqui Felgate

When have you experienced self-doubt?

Leaving Channel 7 was a massive leap of faith to take. 

That’s because my self-worth, like a lot of people, was tied to my profession. 

Since taking control of my own life and career, I’ve discovered that my worth is not tied to a title. 

I am good enough to do whatever I want to do at whatever age I choose to do it.

How did you find self-acceptance?

Sometimes you have to make a change to see things clearly. 

I think, too, as we age, we become more critical of ourselves and our work as women. 

I can be so critical of every little flaw in my appearance. 

You need to realise that as long as you are a good person then the other stuff doesn’t matter. 

And I get help with ageing. 

I am not going to lie about that. 

I do it for me and it makes me feel better about myself. 

What advice would you give to others facing self-doubt?

You do you. 

If you want to get help with ageing, go for it. 

For women who are considering those things, don’t listen to any outside noise, do what’s going to make you feel better physically and mentally. 

And if you don’t want to take that route then don’t feel pressure to do it either. 

On the career front, I wish I had taken a risk sooner. 

Yes, I was in a privileged position because I had a partner who could support me, if things had gone wrong, but you have to bet on yourself.


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A post shared by JACQUELINE FELGATE (@jacquifelgate7)


Jo Stanley

When have you experienced self-doubt?

Like pretty much every woman on the planet, I’ve had a voice in my head my whole life that told me my body was never good enough – that I was either too fat or too skinny, too flat-chested or my bum was too big. 

As I got older, it became that I was getting saggy or wrinkly. 

We are so mean to ourselves when we look in the mirror, and it totally robs us of our confidence and sense of self.

How did you find self-acceptance?

Mindfulness is now my daily practice. 

A part of that has been learning to recognise when I have those negative thoughts – they call it Name it to Tame It.

Once I can notice the thought, I see it for what it is – a thought that doesn’t reflect who I truly am on the inside. 

Side by side with that work, I’ve focused on my body as an experience rather than something to look at. 

That is done through a lens of gratitude. 

I’m so grateful for what I’ve been able to do with my body – I can run and stretch and do Pilates. 

I can hug my daughter and dance in the kitchen. 

I can snuggle up to my husband or feel my dog’s fur under my hands. 

It’s all a gift.

What advice would you give to others facing self-doubt?

I think a gratitude practice is very powerful. 

Expressing what you’re grateful for every single day – and getting to the details of it – really shifts your attention away from the churning self-doubt. 

And listing – actually doing the work to write it down – all the strengths, skills and experiences you bring. 

When you start listing and challenge yourself to keep going for at least 60 seconds, you always come up with an amazing list that just doesn’t lie.


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A post shared by Jo Stanley (@realjostanley)


Sarah Davidson

When have you experienced self-doubt?

Every single day. 

I once put a lot of pressure on myself to “outgrow” feelings of fear or inadequacy, believing that with more time and experience any self-doubt would fade. 

Nowadays, especially after hundreds of interviews with accomplished people who still experience impostor syndrome and self-doubt, I’ve come to embrace it as a sign that I’m getting out of my comfort zone and that I really care about doing a good job. 

How did you find self-acceptance?

With a lot of blood, sweat and tears. 

Self-acceptance takes a lot of proactive work on your thought patterns, habits and behaviours. 

I personally found reading widely, doing regular therapy and making time for self-development has helped me find peace with who I am. 

And the most important thing is the people you surround yourself with while you’re doing such vulnerable work. 

The love and acceptance of others helps enormously. 

What advice would you give to others facing self-doubt?

Don’t worry if you experience it regularly. 

That’s absolutely normal and a beautiful sign you’re not complacent. 

The difference is what you do with it. 

Do you let it consume you? 

Or do you push it to the side and continue on your merry way? 

The best thing you can do is acknowledge the feeling but let it have no influence over your decisions. 

Better to try and fail than not try at all.


Written by Siobhan Duck.