My friend, Janet Powers, posted this question on Facebook the other day: “How many women in this world do you think say to themselves at least once a day … I am not good enough for …?” Not only is this an excellent question, it is one of my hot buttons. The answer to this is, obviously, too many women. Too many of us listen to a voice in our head, all day every day, telling us that we aren’t good enough. Good enough to get that promotion. Good enough to give an opinion. Good enough to expect a certain kind of treatment. We tell ourselves we aren’t thin enough, young enough, smart enough, educated enough, tough enough, kind enough, thoughtful enough, talented enough, tall enough, sexy enough. No matter what it is, we aren’t enough. The list is endless.
Did you ever once ask yourself: Whose voice is telling you this garbage? We aren’t born thinking we are less than anyone and everyone. We aren’t born with a built in, hard-wired sense of inferiority. We had to learn to beat up on ourselves relentlessly from someone, somewhere, sometime. The key is: who, where and when? Have you ever stopped beating yourself up long enough to ask yourself if you recognize that voice? Is it your father? Your mother? A teacher, aunt, grandmother, older brother? Who put the words there, who had such power over your young mind that you continue to hear them, decades later? Why are you not only listening, but actually agreeing with this voice? Why are you still doing what it is telling you, instead of what you want to do?
We all have a tendency to be hard on ourselves. We have been told that this is the way for us to stop being lazy, to push ourselves to aim higher, our way of keeping our nose to the grindstone. Well, the stone is certainly grinding away at something, all right. It is grinding away at our self-esteem, and we are still listening.
No matter whose voice you are listening to, who they are in your life, this much I know: Unless you are listening to your own, authentic voice, you aren’t getting the real story. You are only giving your power over to that voice. And you can make it go away – if you want.
Next time you hear that voice in your head telling you “You can’t possibly do that…” stop and ask yourself if you remember when you first heard it. Instead of agreeing, tell the voice that It Is Wrong. Or, even better, try telling it to shut up. Then, prove to yourself that the voice is wrong.
It will take practice. It will not always work. You will need to remind yourself that you have strengths, you have talents, you are unique in the world and you have a lot to offer. Something that has been driving you for decades can’t just be shut off like a faucet. But believe me, it can be done. Every time you do it, it gets a little easier. When you replace that voice with your own voice, you may find strengths you never knew you had.
Remember: Don’t let a voice in your head hold you back! Especially a voice that isn’t yours! Listen to your own voice, and see how far you can go!