I’m looking at a photograph that’s popped up on my Facebook feed from two years ago. It’s a silly photo of me, wide-eyed, mouth open in mock surprise, standing in a beautiful square in Malaga pretending that a Jacaranda tree showing off its eye-popping purple flowers is growing out of my head.
In truth, I laugh a little inside at this photo and then move on to respond to a message. While I have taken a moment to enjoy the photograph a part of me dismisses what that represents and moves on.
Even now, when I’m cooped up at home, driving my cats and girlfriend mad, a part of me dismisses the achievement of running a solo yoga retreat in Spain with all the related marketing, putting down of deposits, fear of failure, hope, imposter syndrome and joy. That part of me also dismisses the years of hard work, the 9 classes a week plus a full-time job and then, leaving the security of that career for the life of self-employment.
What’s interesting is that it takes some serious reflection for me to remember the real reason a part of me dismissed the achievement of running that first solo retreat. Because I didn’t fill every room, and a part of me compared myself to the Instayogis with xxxk followers. And underneath that comparison was a sense that I just wasn’t good enough (that’s a shame story by the way..)
The part of me that dismisses what I achieve, create, overcome and enjoy, over the years has also dismissed the blood, sweat, tears and trauma of my life. The PTSD, the ADHD, the career-changing mid-life anxiety – ALL dismissed in favor of comparison, or “not good enough”, or “it won’t work”, or “but other people have far more experience” stories.
We all do this – we dismiss, we put down, we ignore, we compare, we blame, we shame, yet we don’t encourage, acknowledge and validate ourselves nearly as much.
I see this so much in my clients who work within the wellness industry. Classic stories include: “How can I get new clients in a pandemic/recession?” “Who am I to ask for money from people at the moment?” “There’s too much competition – no one is interested in what I have to offer.”..
My friends welcome to the ego. The ego loves to do a number on us!
When we acknowledge and validate our experience, our history, our life, we can learn to turn down the volume on the ego.
Try This as an Experiment
Notice your energy when comparing yourself to someone else vs your energy in taking time to praise yourself with love.
Notice how hard or weird it can be to feel good about praising yourself.
Friends, we have love work to do. We have to learn how to validate and acknowledge ourselves. We have to learn how to hold ourselves – our lives, with compassion and tenderness. When we can do this, all that we see changes.
It can be easy to believe that what you do isn’t enough, that who you are isn’t enough – that you have to be a better person, a better version of you. It’s common to compare yourself to others and then wonder why you haven’t got it all figured.
Practicing self-validation is key, as is learning not just how to challenge these thoughts but to seek out, understand and have compassion for the underlying beliefs that keep these thoughts and behaviors reoccurring.
Daily Practice Suggestion
As a daily practice why not write in a journal each night before bed one thing you are proud of yourself for – it could be an action, an accomplishment, a thought, a meal, exercise. Just one thing. Try it..
My life’s experiences became my work as a holistic coach, breathwork and yoga teacher and over the years, this has enabled me to see myself in others and to offer my experience and support. Our shame stories lose strength when they are shared because we see we are not alone in feeling like this. It’s genuinely possible to move from low self-esteem, feeling stuck, indecisive or worthless to feeling strong, grounded in alignment and on purpose.
If you are ready to create long-lasting change, then I would highly recommend joining one of my mindset workshops where we learn why these beliefs occur, how to challenge them, and what we need to do to develop self-worth that allows us to genuinely thrive and trust ourselves. If uncomfortable feelings arise when you read this, perhaps it’s a sign that this exploration is for you.
Andy is a certified Holistic Coach, Yoga and Meditation teacher, and in-training Transformational Breath Facilitator. Andy’s passion is teaching and supporting you to master your body and mind, and live an empowered life. Andy lives near Cambridge *UK with his two cats Connie & Mo and is a firm believer that miracles do happen!
Andy’s affordable group REWIRE online coaching programme is open for new applicants. Andy teaches and coaches around the UK, Europe & SE Asia and online. To book a coaching session, join REWIRE, a workshop or class click here.