This morning I coached an intelligent, attractive, funny, well-educated, professional woman. She is thirty-ish and lives with a constant sense of “I’m not good enough”. It you were to meet her, you’d never pick it. But then things aren’t always as they seem. The cover is not the book. The marketing is not the product. Over the years, I have coached many women just like her so off the back of today’s session, I felt compelled to reach out to my female readers – and anyone else that you feel compelled to share this message with. If you’re a bloke, you can come back tomorrow. Or, if you’re a smart bloke, you can pay attention and learn something.
Dear Women of the World…
Despite what some of you have been led to believe, I want you to know that you are enough. Even when you don’t think it, feel it or know it. You are more than enough, in fact. Attractive enough. Smart enough. Talented enough. Courageous enough. Strong enough. Good enough.
Now, I know that based on some of your experiences this message might be hard to believe (deep down) but I also want you to know that your self-worth should only be determined by you. You can, of course, allow other people to do it for you but we all know that never ends well; so I don’t recommend it.
Sadly, some people want you to believe you’re not enough because that’s how they endeavour to control, manipulate and/or defeat you. Such people are full of self-serving shit. They are smiling scumbags. Ignore them. Recognise them for what they are (and are not) and do not give away your power. Some people don’t want you to be empowered, confident or courageous. They don’t want you to tap into your considerable potential. It scares them. They don’t want you to think, create, choose or learn for yourself. It doesn’t suit their selfish agenda. They too are purveyors of toxic crap.
* Of course, there are also many people who are generous, kind and selfless.
By the way, if you don’t know how powerful you are then the problem lies not in your power but rather, your understanding of, and belief in, your power. It’s there but it’s impotent until you do something with it. Take it for a test drive. The thing that invariably stops people from exploring, exploiting and embracing their power and potential is fear; which invariably manifests itself in the form of negative self-talk.
If not, self-loathing.
As a rule, it’s in your interest to be conscious and careful about who you let into your head and your heart. Who you pay attention to. Who you respect and trust. Like other pests, some people are very hard to remove once they’ve moved in.
Of course people will label, treat and assess you in less-than-desirable ways; it’s what people do. Well, some people. Even in the middle of my moderate success, I’ve been labeled everything from egotistical, arrogant and ignorant to fat, ugly and stupid. As a small relatable example, some people hate the fact that I often talk and write about behavioural psychology (like right now) without being a psychologist. It bothers them. Fortunately for me, I don’t need a psychology degree or anyone’s permission to encourage, support and coach people towards their best lives. To the haters I say, stop wasting your negative energy on me and do something positive in your own world.
Or fuck off.
Despite being called Jumbo all through school (a reference to my obese body), I chose to work in the ‘body industry’. Apart from it being empowering and liberating for me, I wanted to help people over-ride their destructive fears and beliefs and to let go of their painful past. I wanted to help them understand how much more than a body, a bad experience or a negative label they are and to support them in the exploring of their potential. If I allowed other people’s opinions of me to determine me, I would never say anything, do anything, create anything or achieve anything.
In fact, I’d never be out of therapy.
As a man in awe of the power, strength, wisdom, compassion and beauty of women, it hurts me to see such amazing potential attached to so little self-belief and self-esteem. Despite the outer semblance of ‘girl power’, when I scratch the surface, what I often see is many brilliant and talented women who are paralysed by fear, poor self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy.
If you relate to this message then I’m well aware that one post from me ain’t gonna undo years of damage, painful experiences or self-doubt. I’m also aware that me telling you you’re amazing and powerful doesn’t instantly make you ‘feel’ amazing and powerful. Of course it doesn’t. But hopefully it might interrupt that incessant negative internal dialogue. Even for a while. Maybe it will help you realise that your negative feelings and thoughts don’t need to become your literal reality. And perhaps over time you will begin to tell yourself better stories.
Changing your default setting and your internal dialogue from “I am crap” to “I am okay” to “I am pretty freakin’ awesome”, is not a quick process but the good news is, it’s possible. Totally possible. If I’m someone who you trust, respect and pay attention to as a writer and mentor, then pay attention (and don’t over-think it) when I tell you that you are…
If you think this message will benefit someone you know, please feel free to share it any way you see fit.