Every time I used to start something new, I would come across a block of inner self-doubt.
It would creep in—this belief—I’m not good enough. I’d slip into my pattern of self-pity, or what my partner calls a “loser’s mindset.”
To paint you a picture, most recently I wanted to start sharing my writing and teachings with others. However, my inner victim chimed in and sounded something like this:
What am I thinking?
I have nothing to offer.
I am not creative.
I will be ridiculed. Nobody will read it anyway.
Basically, I would allow the fear and self-doubt to get the best of me. I would suffocate my creative ideas before the seeds even got a chance to sprout. The feedback that I received to one of the articles that I’d written didn’t make it any better.
“Your article is generic. Nobody wants to read a bunch of boring information without your personal experience embedded in it.”
I took it as a confirmation of all my self-limiting beliefs to be true. I felt demoralized, and at the same time ashamed, that I couldn’t take feedback in a more mature way.
That’s when my partner smartly pointed out:
There are no failures—there are only temporary setbacks. It’s part of the process. Take challenges as opportunities to grow and don’t expect it to be easy.
He asked me to make an agreement, that every time I slipped back into my victim story, I would have to pay him 100 dollars. I had to shake on it.
His hand reached out toward me. I paused. I was hesitant. Wasn’t leaving my victim behind what I wanted? So why was I resisting it now?
Another wave of self-doubt crept in.
Can I trust myself to stop this pattern?
Am I going to wipe out my savings by replaying my victim story again and again?
Is it possible to let go of a pattern that’s been running for many years? Is one firm decision enough to break free from years of being my own hostage?
All these questions made me realize there was a part of me that didn’t want to let go. I was addicted to feeling victimized. It was a protective mechanism. It was there to prevent me from feeling pain and potential failure, by staying hidden and small—a form of programming I had picked up in childhood.
He said, “Here is your liberation, but you’re not really committed. You’ve been exposed now.”
Although still a bit hesitant, I decided to slowly reach out and shake his hand.
In that moment something powerful happened; it was as if my body got hit by electric lightning.
Doubts came back into my mind, but this time I knew it was my choice to address them—only I had the power to make this change.
Instead of saying, I can’t do this, I asked myself, how can I do this?
This moment reminded me of a scene from the movie, V For Vendetta. The scene where Natalie Portman’s character is liberated from her fear. She is faced with a choice between remaining imprisoned and tortured, or to die. She chooses death, and through this choice she finds liberation.
After making her decision, she learns that her whole imprisonment was a set-up. I found it to be an accurate metaphor for the death of the old self and a rebirth of the new. After this revelation, she goes outside and onto the roof where she is “baptized” with water from falling rain.
It’s also a great metaphor for the meaning and definitions we ascribe to experiences that happen in our lives. What if we were to assume that we didn’t know what this or that event meant? What if it’s all a mental construct, and can be erased as easily as it was created? It’s only us who have the key to our liberation. It’s only us who can rewrite the stories that we’ve been telling ourselves.
Just because one of my articles wasn’t great, doesn’t mean that all of them suck. It doesn’t mean that I’m not creative or original.
It doesn’t mean that I’m not good enough.
I allow myself to learn, fail, and experiment. I don’t have to get everything right.
My partner dipped his fingers into a glass of water and marked my forehead saying, “The winner is born. You’ve been baptized.”
I asked him to pass the water and explained, “No, it’s not the winner that is born. It’s the inner warrior.” I marked my cheeks with water.
It was the first time I felt I had authentically stepped into my own power. My body was still buzzing from the rush of energy. I sat there in silence and felt that any word would only spoil the beauty of the moment. I was bathing myself in my newly empowered state-of-being.
Before this experience, I had imagined many times how it felt to be powerful. It was only until I had this experience that I was able to truly embody this feeling.
Since then, this feeling has never left me. I still doubt myself sometimes, but in these moments I can now call upon my inner warrior. This inner warrior gives me the courage to move forward, despite my fears and doubts.
Warriors are not born, they create themselves through trial and error, pain and challenges; they find their own power through the courage to embrace their fears and vulnerability.
Think about the stories you are telling yourself—are you committed to your inner victim or your inner warrior?