Think about that quote for a second.
Believe me, years back I’d have cringed and sneered at this… then I learned it’s the truth.
This is one of those posts on my social media account that I thought would get zero interaction, a little bit ‘too much’, but I did it anyway. I was blown away by the interaction, and it seemed to resonate with a lot of people, so here it is as a blog post too.
Sometimes talking openly and publicly about your own experiences can be difficult, but as I said in a recent interview with Ebony Escalona on Vets: Stay, Go, Diversify, my message has always been bigger than my fear. The thanks that I receive are the fuel that keeps me going to realise that this is helpful, and I’m sure enough of myself now that I can handle any negative reactions (of which are very low in number). Deep down we are all human, and I want to use my experience to help others. I want nobody else to feel alone in feeling like a fraud, and start to open the conversations to not only highlight it, but to encourage seeking help.
I became so passionate in fact that I trained in the methods that changed my life to formally help others too.
This was the post:
But it’s important, so here it is for those that see it.
You can have all the achievements and skills in the world, but if you’re not kind to yourself and don’t value yourself, it means nothing.
How do I know?
I spent many years looking to add value to ME. I did my internal medicine certificate the minute I could post-graduation, still didn’t feel like a good vet (even with a high mark and a synoptic pass). I bought a house, didn’t feel successful. Received thank you cards galore, didn’t feel deserving. Bought all the labels and brands, didn’t feel better about myself. I was stuck in a game of “it’ll be ok when”, which never came to fruition. It’s not just me, I’ve coached so many people that failed to see their value too in the beginning.
I’d been looking in the wrong place.
This started with realising that the negative voice in my head listing all of the reasons why I was not deserving, not valuable, and not enough, was NOT me. We listen to it, but we don’t have to own it. I thought I was the only one to have it (you might be listening to it pipe up for you right now). It’s a combination of all that conditioning that’s been put upon us, when we have it engrained into us that value lies on grades, labels, accolades, and more. It’s pretty repetitive, in fact, studies showed 95% of our 12-60,000 daily thoughts are repetitive and 80% negative (National Science Foundation, 2005) – it’s no wonder we don’t feel good about ourselves when that’s what we believe.
I have connected with so many amazing people that have shared their stories and the recurrent narrative of “I’m not good enough” coming from people despite doing phenomenal things is ASTOUNDING. Diploma holders, PhD holders, presidents of associations, externally amazing communicators and those who many aspire to be like. When will enough be enough with this? This is why I speak out.
It starts with us.
Underneath all of those thoughts is you. An amazing, unique, 1 in 400 trillion, one off – you. With your own set of skills, values, and strengths, and full of potential. You are still valuable even if you lie in bed and do nothing. Our self worth should not be up for debate. Some days we won’t feel it, or hear it, or believe it – but the truth remains the truth – you’re enough; sometimes the truth seems the hardest to believe at first. Let’s start treating ourselves like that, and others too.
How much easier is it to try new things when you choose not to believe every thought and add in some encouraging ones?
When your value as a human doesn’t lever on the outcome.
Do you want the same for everyone else, give up the comparisonitis and just wish the best for them?
Hey, I’d have called BS on this too years ago, but I’ve seen it’s true as I’ve LIVED IT. I went from being a ‘self-deprecating’, snappy and worried clinician internally that looked externally like it was all sorted – a certificate finished by four years qualified, working as a senior vet, a loyal client base – to realising that the bruises we don’t see are from the words people listen to between their ears, seeing that I’m valuable and changing my outlook completely.
Someone asked me the other day how I do so many things and fit so much in. I quite simply choose which thoughts I want to believe, don’t give significance to the ones that don’t serve me (like the fraud ones), and know that my value starts with an inward look and a choice: I’m enough. I still have bad days, but they don’t make me a bad person. Yes, it takes practice, but we get better at what we practice in our actions and thoughts, and I know what I’d like to be good at.
One of the ingredients that massively helped me with my imposter syndrome was this, looking at my identity and how I choose to treat myself. Yes, I still have all sorts happen in my life, and the ‘feeling’ of imposter syndrome sometimes pop in when the thoughts beat me to it, but then I change my focus and remember my value is beyond circumstance. Sometimes that inner critic pipes up, sometimes I just sit with it, weather the storm and treat myself kindly and know it’ll pass.
I’d love for those who are ready to take something from this too.