Monday, January 16, 2012

Believing in Yourself

"It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not."-Anonymous

When I was working for a business process outsourcing company, one of the accounts that I contributed to had a supervisor that used to tell me (repeatedly) that it was ok for me to believe in myself. I used to feel guilty at just the thought of being able to believe in my abilities, my potential, my own perspectives, my own journey. I don't need to see a fancy psychologist to know that it stems from being told (in one way or another) that my needs didn't matter and that no matter what I did (or didn't do), it was never good enough. I'd seen and talked to enough of those by the time I was 16 to write a novel. And in the end all they get paid for is to point out what you already know deep inside. You still have to do the work. You still have to change your inner voice.

There was always that stigma that I would turn out to be a "bad, hurtful" person. But the thing is that a child doesn't choose a "bad childhood" or "bad experiences." They just happen. It doesn't make them a bad person. It certainly doesn't mean that they'll grow up and participate in anti-social behavior. Some of the most beautiful people come out of ashes and darkness. And people who have wonderful childhoods can grow up to not be so "beautiful," and commit several "bad" behaviors simply because that's who they choose to be. The real demon that you have to fight is your own inability to believe and value who you are.

Yep, I'm still fighting that demon. I haven't conquered it yet, but I'm trying. Apparently the universe has faith that I can, because it keeps showing up. A former boss who tried to make me feel incompetent and unable to go after what I thought I wanted because in reality she was threatened by my abilities and credentials. A mentor who sees her former self, but wants to project her own experiences and her own capacities onto someone else. It's funny sometimes how we end up trying to sabotage and punish ourselves through other people who either remind us of what we think we're lacking or who we just might be inside. Jealousy, envy, and competitiveness are dark traps that I consciously try to avoid. Sometimes that means ending relationships with people and situations that I otherwise love, enjoy, and truly value in some way. But there's no sense in living a lie of "toxic support."

The thing is I know who I am inside. I know what I'm capable of. I know that I have ability, knowledge, experience, talent, wisdom, insight, determination, and elasticity. And so does everyone else. The difference may be that they grew up in an environment that reinforced these beliefs by the time they were 10. I have to build and re-build my own foundation. So what? At this point I am tired of listening to external opinions about what I may or may not be capable of. Sometimes you have to go through the class twice. And the reality is that each of us are capable of accomplishing anything that we choose. But we have to believe that we can, and then we have to do the work. There's no easy path to graduation-only the inner strength that propels you to keep walking as you say "no matter what anyone thinks, I'm doing this."


  1. Yep, can totally relate to this. Especially love the last line "no matter what anyone thinks, I'm doing this." Absolutely right on!!!!!

  2. Ditto, SketchArtist. I love this post. "Toxic support", "change your inner voice", "elasticity". Love it!