Overcoming the irrational fear of being great.
A few months ago I was invited to a farewell party. I love parties! They're fun full of great new personalities, witty banter and a healthy dose of social awkwardness to remind us all we're just people trying our best at this thing called life!
I met a young woman there, who by all intents and purposes was possibly the smartest, most articulate, personable and funniest person I've met in my adult life. The only thing that seemed to bother me about her was the fact that she hid herself behind huge glasses. Not just large-on-her-face glasses, but monstrosities that practically robbed her of her identity.
Even more heart-breaking was that behind the glasses was curly, bouncy beautiful hair, a beautiful smile and model-esque cheekbones.
I saw in her what I saw in myself and my heart broke. She was me, in fact she was a lot of women.
She was the part of me that had always been too afraid of what people thought and conversely the side of me that downplayed my achievements, choosing instead to ignore a compliment or shrug off attention. This was the side of me, of all of us women, that downplays one aspect of who we are in order to feel better about exposing something else...after all, no one likes a show-off! You can't be smart & talented & beautiful! How dare you!
Oh, the double edged sword of Impostor Syndrome, or is it Reverse Ugly Duckling Syndrome - the sickness that makes you yearn to be less than the amazing version you are just to fit in, even though you've already blossomed into greatness or undoubtedly have the potential to.
Instead of walking away without articulating my thoughts, I spoke to her quietly aside and in the kindest, gentlest way possible told her what I wish someone would tell me when I am in the mood for excessive self-deprecation.
'You are kind, smart and beautiful. Do not hide your beauty from the world and don’t judge yourself too harshly. Love yourself. Not in vanity and conceit, but in a way that allows you to love your flaws, every one of them.'
Easier said than done?
No one said it would happen overnight. Self-love is a journey and each day is a process of learning. Here's to the journey!