The first time I noticed it was about eight years ago.
I was in the first few days of my Yoga Teacher Training, and I was next to get up in front of the entire class and teach. That’s when I heard it. It was so loud—like someone shouting in my ear—that I jumped.
“Umm, hello…who the f*ck do you think you are?!”
I ignored it, like one would a fly.
“Look! You and I both know that you are a fraud!”
I picked up my pen and scribbled these words in my lesson journal. The student before me finished and my teacher instructed me to head to the front of the room.
“You can’t do this; you will mess up! We both know it.”
Cream curtains flipped against the breeze, rolling as one would expect softness to dance. With a heaviness in my body, I moved toward the spot up front.
“You are not a teacher!”
I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and circled my arms up over my head. My hands met in prayer and then came to rest at my chest. The room went silent as my chin fell toward my chest and the curtains stopped rustling.
I exhaled, opened my eyes, and whispered, “Watch me!”
We all have an internal dialogue that we choose to either listen to or ignore. It is a collection of words, warnings, and suggestions heard over time.
Our internal dialogue is our mind’s way of protecting us from harm, or an instinctual way of adjusting our actions so we don’t get hurt. In my case, as a child I wanted to act, but when I got up to try out, kids in my class made fun of me and laughed me off the stage. I tried again in college and became crippled with fear. Years later, I found myself in front of this class and terrified to teach.
My mind was trying to stop me from getting hurt again.
After a lifetime of self-study, I’ve come to realize that these words, phrases, and suggestions—even when simple—can create mental barricades that can trap us in destructive patterns and repressed lives. I have sat with my inner dialogue for years and gained the knowledge to tear apart each doubt, fear, and belief that I’m less than.
I’m great at detecting when these phrases will show up, and yes, they still show up. But it’s a practice. I am writing this because even though I teach, write, coach, and speak about breaking the barriers that stop us from leading the lives that make us truly happy, every time I am about to release a new project or teach a new workshop, a glimmer of this negative inner speech creeps into my mind.
It’s like a faucet that I forgot to completely turn off. Just a droplet of doubt at a time, but the same voice that whispers:
“What if I am a fraud?”
”What if I fail?”
”What if someone does it better than me?”
Below are six tools that I use to check myself and discover whether I’m living from my head or my heart:
1. It’s scientifically proven that nobody does it like you.
Quantum Physics tells us that nobody has experienced this life like you. Nobody has had your views, combined with your knowledge, feelings, and words. Basically, we will always do everything a little differently from one another. Our experiences are 100 percent different; therefore, what we present to the world will be our version of that subject. Plain and simple, you are a unique person with a unique perspective in this world—so share it!
2. 80 percent of success is showing up, so keep moving forward.
Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected by publishers 144 times, but the author knew it was a hit. On the 145th time, it made publishing history. Success is like surfing. You must keep paddling until you can get on top of that one big wave. As waves do, it will come but you must be out there to catch it. If you believe in your gift, that’s the end of the story. Keep moving forward—eventually your big wave will come.
3. Check in with your body.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we all know what living a lie feels like. Maybe your throat becomes tight, or your stomach turns, or your lips scrunch to the side in a slight grimace. Now remember what it feels like to do something that is 100 percent in line with your calling. When I live by what feels right to me, my heart feels tingly and full. I feel light and can’t stop smiling. These are two completely contrasting visceral reactions that can be useful if you are starting to doubt whether what you are doing is true to your heart or not. So, the next time that little voice in your head starts to talk you down from presenting your gifts, stop for a moment. Ask yourself, “Is this true?” Then notice how it feels in your body.
4. Are you stuck or does it flow?
Your gifts will often flow from you with ease. The right words come, and nothing feels forced. If you find yourself struggling, frustrated, or at a loss for words, then generally this is a project derived from your head and not your heart. The practice of allowing your gifts to flow through you is a balance of letting go and being completely aware of when to hold on.
5. Ask for help.
Nobody can do it alone. At any point in a hero’s journey, they need help—be it from a book, a teacher, a parent, a friend, or a coach. Presenting a gift to the world includes a lot of variables. Because you’re already so busy creating what you long to create, I highly recommend hiring some help. Allow yourself the graciousness of off-loading some of the work that is not your specialty to someone whose gift it is to handle those things. Even coaches need coaches!
6. Harness your self-confidence.
I’ve decided that my mantra for this year is “My Year of Doing.” So much of what we talk about never gets done, so it’s important to hibernate, be strategic, and plan out our steps. Then, when the energy hits us and the moment is right, we can take action. Go all in—full steam ahead! If you have done the work, know what feels good in your body, and aligned your purpose with your energy, it’s time to bring your gift into the world. Put it out there and share with the ones who want to receive it.
Prove that voice in your head wrong. Take a deep breath, open your eyes, and whisper, “Watch me!”
Author: LeLa Becker
Image: Yaroslav Blokhin/Unsplash
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton
Social Editor: Emily Bartran