Sometimes things outside of our control shake our self-confidence.
Maybe it’s when a family member criticizes your appearance. A boss attacks your latest project. A troll leaves a nasty comment on social media.
It’s happened to all of us.
But in the worst of cases your whole world suddenly seems to flip upside down. You begin to doubt who you are and what you stand for.
No matter how smart and accomplished, so many of us — especially women and high-achievers — are prone to suffer from impostor syndrome. And despite our success, we still feel anxious and depressed. We can’t shake off that feeling of inadequacy, like we’re frauds.
I’ve struggled with this a few times, and it’s taken me a while to learn how to remain unfazed.
Recently, just a week before I was scheduled to fly to Greece to speak at a conference, my confidence was crushed by the words of a few childish trolls. They were feeling threatened by my thought leadership platform and decided to bully me after discovering that I was going to appear on The Doctor Oz Show.
I felt blindsided.
I began to question everything about who I am to the very core. Even worse, I found myself stuck in a negative feedback loop: I knew better than to let a few negative voices drown out the millions that appreciate my message of love, and I was getting angry at myself for being upset in the first place.
How on earth could I stand on stage in seven days, in front of strangers in a country I’d never been to, with my self-esteem so low?
I had two choices: I could either quit altogether and let the naysayers win, or I could figure out how to boost my self-confidence and nip the impostor syndrome at the bud.
To make matters worse, it felt like no one was available to help me.
I was facing a pivotal moment, and the realization struck that I needed to pick myself back up all on my own.
Luckily, you don’t have to experience feelings of intense self-doubt if you follow these three steps to conquering impostor syndrome:
You are worthy and valuable, no matter what.
When you look to others for their advice or opinions, what you’re really hoping for is that somebody else will give you the answers.
You already have the answers.
The reason no one in my support network was available to talk before my trip was because I was meant to face and solve this — one of my biggest fears — all on my own. If I had looked to other people to tell me whether I should cancel my flight or go on that stage, I would have been asking them for permission.
It’s a beautiful moment when you realize that your task isn’t to figure out who to turn to, but how to go deep into your soul to listen to what you truly want.
The key to believing in your worth lies deep inside you.
It’s difficult. It’s painful. It’s uncomfortable to hold a mirror up to yourself because you might not always like what you see: negativity, past traumas, emotional scars that never healed.
We’ve all got them.
When I looked closely at myself (I literally held a mirror up to my face), I saw the dark, empty parts of my soul. I noticed how my overachieving nature was a way for me to fill the void in my heart.
Wanting to excel has helped me accomplish great things and build a powerful network, but it was covering up my feelings of inadequacy. An old need to prove myself to others reared its head back into my life, and now was my opportunity to slay this dragon.
In order to heal your wounds, you need to figure out what’s blocking you from feeling confident.
It’s not comfortable to increase your self-awareness, but it’s necessary if you want to free yourself from what’s holding you back from the next stage of your life.
Most of us have deep layers of shame and hurt, which make it difficult to love ourselves.
Conquering impostor syndrome means reframing your situation.
In my case, the trolls weren’t actually what triggered me. Instead, their criticism took me back to feelings I had buried long ago and still hadn’t faced.
That’s why we tend to call them trolls. They know exactly what they’re doing, attacking your character in the places where it hurts the most.
You empower yourself by clearing your issues, forgiving yourself, and cultivating self-love.
This is how you attain strength.
When you’ve faced the core of who you are in this way, your foundation becomes so solid that nobody can break you.
Once I did this, I immediately noticed a shift in my entire being. My confidence grew, I felt secure in the value I bring, and I trusted that I could get on that stage and connect with the audience. Even if they didn’t like what I had to say, I was solid in my worth, and no one’s criticism could shake me.
In fact, some of the audience members even ran up to me, begging me to work with them.
And to think that seven days before, I was so paralyzed that I couldn’t even get out of bed, let alone get on my flight.
Originally published on Medium.
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