We all know the feeling. That niggling sense of self doubt or overwhelming heat of shame that spreads from our minds to our limbs and leaves us shaky and uncertain. We all have moments of feeling like frauds which we back up with evidence our minds so helpfully mine from events in our pasts, whether they happened ten years ago, five years ago or two minutes ago. We can recall them immediately in times of worry and stress, reliving the feelings and emotions more thoroughly each time, draining ourselves of strength and wellbeing.
But we don’t live in this state all of the time; we couldn’t survive if we did. So what can we do about it when we start to question our worthiness, other people’s faith in us and our own belief in ourselves?
Remember that this moment isn’t real and true just because it feels like it is. Our memories are unreliable and change every time we recall them so we are literally making up the past every time we remember it. This means we are using evidence to prove how terrible we are that isn’t factual, dependable or enlightening.
We all make mistakes and we learn from these about how we wish to operate in the world and what we are willing to forgive in and put up with from others. Uncomfortable and challenging moments are how we grow and expand and evolve. Recalling something that we have learnt from only in order to create feelings of anxiety within ourselves isn’t just self defeating, it’s nonsensical. Learning from our mistakes releases us from any reason to relive them and freeing ourselves from guilt and shame makes room for positive action and change.
We can choose new thoughts. By trying to work our way out of really unhappy thinking from that same state of mind, just gets us deeper into it and we end up having imagined conversations with the people involved at the time, remonstrating ourselves about our behaviour or justifying ourselves from a space of guilt or defensiveness. It’s a mess and a mess that can be avoided or discontinued just by seeing what we are doing to ourselves in the moment and refusing to get any more involved in it.
We can tell ourselves what we would tell another person in distress about their value and worth; you have a place here, you are loved, you are love. We are all a part of a conscious energy that is healthy and whole. We all have thoughts that tell us otherwise and the feelings they are create are extremely compelling but that doesn’t make them true. Even if we don’t believe in a universal energy of love, we can surely see the sense in moving past self defeating thoughts to spend more time in feelings of peace and wellness because we see the positive effect they have on our actions and the way we exist in the world.
Moving past limited thinking is good for us all. The world benefits from our health and happiness. We discover skills and passions and health when we move past self doubt and feeling like we are somehow tricking the world and ourselves by moving on from our pasts to be better people. Unfortunately we live in a culture that sees reason in torturing people with their mistakes in the belief that it will prevent them from making them again when in reality telling people they are less than, damaged, monstrous just reinforces their own self doubt and loathing and sees them seeking out ways to prove their self hatred valid. True rehabilitation, of every kind, seeks to reconnect a person with the wellbeing within so that they begin to explore better ways of taking part in the world. Connecting with the light within reminds us how often we have felt it and how healthy it is for us to believe in ourselves and honours our innate desire to interact with others in wellness and love.
Every single one of us has our moments of feeling like a fraud but none of us is obliged to live in this feeling full time. It is not good for us, it is not good for others and it is a waste of our time here on Earth. Seeing these thoughts for what they are: fabrications and allowing ourselves to duck out of any discussion we have been having with them creates a distance from them that moves them on so that we can experience new thinking. We must choose the feeling we live in by choosing the thoughts we think in and every thought that tells us we are fraudulent, unworthy, that knocks our self belief must be discarded. Thoughts that are reflective, that move us forwards, that are conducive to healthy change are the only ones of value when it comes to reviewing our worst moments. All others do not deserve our attention because they are fraudulent, they are unworthy and we are so much more than anything they tell us we are.