I have a question. But you have to be honest when you answer it. Do you ever doubt yourself?
That wasn’t a real question, because we all do. I definitely do. Not because we don’t believe in ourselves. Not because we don’t have big goals or dreams. Not because we are incapable. But because we run into obstacles and life can knock us down. Sometimes harder than we could expect. Doubt inevitably creeps in, when we’re comparing ourselves to our friends both in real life and on social media, when we experience setbacks of any size, when we don’t achieve a goal we set for ourselves, or when we just feel lost in our direction.
When we’re sitting on our bums, feeling like the wind has been knocked out of us and we can’t see the way back up yet, it’s easy to let that doubt manifest and take hold. It’s easy to hear that voice in the back of our heads grow louder, telling us to give up, telling us we can’t do it. But those are just words, and they mean nothing. That’s what we have to remember.
It’s in these moments that we have to force ourselves to see past the setback and past the doubt to see our power and our potential. It sounds easier than it is. I know. But I don’t mean to ignore the disappointment or to stubbornly plow head on without taking a moment to reset. What I do mean, is to recognize where that doubt comes from and shut it up, find your inner strength and get back up to accomplish your dreams.
Last time I talked about disappointment – and doubt uses our disappointments to get our attention. Like many of us, I am my own worst critic and even though I rarely tell myself I’m not good enough, I often see myself as “just like everyone else”. Sometimes I forget that just because I’m using neutral words, it can still be negative. I recently got into an argument with someone very close to me who told me to stop being so humble, to realize my power, and to take it. And that has stuck with me, sitting in my big head, poking at my brain for days. Stop being so humble? But, that’s what I’ve been taught my whole life. None of us are better – we have abilities and gifts that are different, but we are all capable and powerful. But, if I take a step back, I don’t want to unhumble myself, but I can appreciate the point he was making. I am not better than anyone else, but I am also not just the same as anyone else either. And in standing out, in doing what I love, I see that power.
There are times when we all feel stuck. Even if we’re in the midst of successes. And contrary, again, to what I’ve been taught, it’s not only about how we see ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, how we see ourselves and how we feel about ourselves is of utmost importance. But, as this same friend so adamantly worked to remind me, sometimes we have to see ourselves from the outside to understand. It’s impossible to see exactly what others see in us, but if we can try to see from an outside perspective from time to time, then maybe we can see our power and potential more clearly. Maybe then we can get unstuck. We can move past the disappointment and remove the doubt.
One of my favorite quotes is from Marianne Williamson, you’ve probably read or heard at least part of it before. It starts with, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” So how do we get past our doubts and fears, how do we see past our own silly ideas of who we are, to get unstuck and to take our power?
It starts with recognition. It always does, doesn’t it? We have to recognize what we are capable of in order to push ourselves to achieve bigger and better. But, we also have to recognize when we need to ask for help or take a step back, and when we fall short we need to recognize how to overcome that. We need to practice humility, without limiting ourselves or forgetting our worth.
We also need to recognize our emotions around power and success. All too often we stand in our own way because so many of us have a fear of that power we want. It’s easier to stay where we are and wish for more, and possibly hide behind our excuses of why we don’t have more, than to accomplish those dreams. Recognize this emotion, and be honest about how you may be standing in your own way, whether it’s excuses or unrealistic expectations.
And then we have to take the time to find what our light is. Remember the ending of that Marianne Williamson quote; “It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Maybe you are a stay at home parent who shines brightest when you’re caring for your children. Or, a teacher whose light comes from watching your students excel and find their own worth. Maybe you’re a professional in the finance or banking field whose passion is helping others become financially literate and able to better their situations. There are endless opportunities, you could be a medical professional, a climate researcher or a fiction author. Don’t forget that you don’t owe an explanation of what your light is to anyone, just be honest with who you are.
This is how you shine.
Let’s find your why, your light and let’s fuel it.