I met a friend for lunch the other day. As we talked, the conversation slowly turned to strong women “finding their inner sass”. I was telling her about my presentation that I give on courage and confidence. During the talk, I spend time discussing why women struggle to find their voice.
I looked over at her and she had a funny look on her face. I asked her what was confusing her— she stated that she can’t imagine that the women that she works with struggle with this concept of “finding your voice”. She shared that they are all strong women that are very clear on who they are and what they want in life.
I listened to her and reminded her that although she must work with some strong authentic women, there are still plenty that are working daily on this goal.
I thought about this off and on for the rest of the day. After dinner, I went out to my car and began to clean it out. I found a big bin of supplies I had left in my car since I had last given a large presentation. I brought it in the house and dragged it upstairs to my office. I took out my props and then I saw the many crumpled pieces of paper covering the bottom of the bin.
During the presentation, I asked these very strong, professional women to think about the beliefs that were holding them back in life. What are all those negative thoughts that come to mind when you’re feeling bad about yourself? Those “go to” ones that swirl around in your head and play in an endless loop in your brain? Most of the time, you rationally accept that they don’t define you, but when you’re at your most vulnerable, you believe every single word.
I asked each woman in the room to write them down on paper and ceremoniously let them go by throwing them in my bin. I watched as the whole room got busy writing on their small pieces of paper and eagerly came to me as I walked around, dragging my bin.
Now, back to the present— I’m sitting on the floor of my office and seeing the many crumpled pieces of paper. I decided that I would take a look and see what the women had written. What I found, devastated me. One after another, each woman shared that they were not enough. They weren’t smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough. Over and over and over I read the same exact words until I had cleaned out my whole bin.
I thought back to my friend and her comment about the strong women in her workplace. They could never have a problem finding their own voice, right? Wrong. Here was proof of what was really going on inside of all of us. Yes, most of the time we know who we are, we’re successful, and we accomplish great things. But down deep, way deep, there’s that constant nagging doubt that no matter what we accomplish, it just might not be ENOUGH.
Most of the time, you probably appear as if you have it together, you know what you want and you know where you’re going. But if you’re brutally honest, you’ll admit that it’s sometimes a great illusion for others to witness. There are obviously still things that are holding of you (and even me!) back from true greatness and success. There are still doubts in each and every one of us that hold us back from unbridled happiness.
I believe that it’s time to let this go.