“What if I’m screwing it all up? What if I don’t know what I’m doing? What if they find out that I’m clueless? I’ve already messed up so much, how do I get up and move on and act confident now? What if I’m not good enough.”
These are really scary questions!! They’re common to all of us. Pause and think about that for a second please. You’re not the only one thinking you’re awful sometimes. I do too. I don’t think you’re awful, I mean I think I’m awful sometimes…. And so does every person you’ve ever met. The only difference between content people and miserable people is what we do with these thoughts.
The mind is designed to ask these questions to keep you safe. Safe to the mind is you doing nothing. No risks. No rocking the boat. No confidence. This is your old tribal programming. It was used to keep people safe by sticking close to the tribe. There was strength in numbers. Now the only place this reasoning works is in a jail cell or padded room! Safe? Yes. Living life free and fulfilled? Not at all!
So now we have to update the old programming. The first part of this is to realize it’s not who you are. It’s just the mind. To really see this as a part of you that wants you safe. Not your identity. Notice I’m not calling it your mind. Just the mind. I want to take away some of it’s power. Of course, it is your mind. But it’s like your heart, or ears, or fingernails. Just doing what it’s designed to do. It’s not you. It’s like an overprotective parent. And at it’s worst, an overly critical bully.
You have left the tribe, struck out on your own and are doing important things- maybe even starting a new tribe! So you need support as you make decisions and choices each day. It used to be that we had less choices. You knew what you’d be when you grew up- whatever your dad or mom did. You knew where you’d live- most likely close to home. And you knew about how much money you’d make- most likely what your parents made. Now we have a million choices. And a million opportunities to wonder if we’ve chosen correctly! How do we feel confident about our decisions and overcome self doubt?
The first thing is to notice what you’re saying to yourself. Notice what the dialogue is in your head. When you mess up or forget something- what’s your response? If you have a decision to make, how do you process it? If you find yourself being critical, here are some ideas of how to change that.
Install a cheerleader. Imagine an energetic, positive, bouncing cheerleader in your head every day. She’s shouting, “You are enough! You’re doing a great job! You’re better than you were 5 years ago! You’re better than you were last year! Look at this great choice you made! Look at this obstacle you’ve overcome! You’re alive! You’re meant to be here! Look at how you got back up after you fell down! You got this!” You can program this cheerleader to tell you what you need to hear each day so that you feel great. This may sound nuts. But it’s really no crazier than having a critical bully living in your head, telling you what a piece of crap you are, or how stupid you are each day. If you gotta pick one, go with the cheerleader!
Rewrite the story. I recently had someone ask for advice about dealing with her father who was dying in the hospital. She was so mad at herself for being too emotional when the doctors and nurses needed to talk with her. So her mind was telling her she was too emotional and needed to stop feeling so much. Is that helpful? No. Shame and saying we are bad for how we are reacting doesn’t help. She couldn’t help how she was responding and in fact, she was being totally normal. She wanted to be able to communicate with the nurses better. So I told her to say something like this to herself, “I’m doing a really good job. It’s OK to cry. It means I care. There’s no right way to do this. There’s a lot on my shoulders and the doctors and nurses understand. As I allow my feelings to flow, they’ll be less when I need to talk to the nurses.”
Change the feeling. So take whatever situation you have and find the part where you’re feeling ashamed. Then tell yourself “I am enough.” And think about what that looks like. For this woman, being emotional when dealing with her dying father was enough. For me, being angry at my kids more than I want to, is enough. Having projects take longer than I want, is enough. Maybe for you it’s changing jobs or knowing if you’ve done the right thing. Making the decision you think is best, with the info you have at that moment, is enough. Learning from mistakes, is enough. Not getting it perfect the first time, is enough. Falling down and getting back up, is enough!
Forgive yourself. This is where self love and forgiveness come in. You did your best with what you had. You were operating with the programming you were given. You were enough! You’ve always been enough. We do better once we know better. And amazing things happen when we let ourselves off the hook. The crazy thing is that being critical keeps you in the old programming. Thinking you deserve to “pay” for what you’ve done, creates more of the same. Being a better person starts with accepting yourself right now, as is.
Listen to that still small voice. If you don’t already have a practice of listening to your intuition, or prayer, or meditation, I encourage you to start. It’s incredibly helpful to separate the mind from you. To spend a little time each day programming your mind for good. And listening to your intuition. I find this voice of truth is always calm and loving and peaceful. Never angry or judging. Practice tuning in to it.
In an RTT session we reprogram the mind, and each of my clients gets a recording to listen to for 21-30 days. This rewires the mind for success with specific issues. But telling yourself “I am enough” is a lifelong practice. Figuring out what you specifically need to hear, and telling your mind wonderful truths, is the game changer.
Lastly, know that self doubt is normal- but you don’t have to stay there! As soon as you notice it, kick it out! There’s no reason to drag that critical bully around with you anymore. You got this!
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If you’re needing help in this area of self doubt and self worth, visit www.cyrinatalbott.com.