If you came here through a search for words like 'anxiety', 'self-help', 'self-esteem', 'self-confidence', 'inner critic', 'self-acceptance', then I might have something for you here. Read on, brother.
If your answer to the question above is yes, chances are you are looking for some reassurance or comfort or a solution to your 'problem'. This problem is probably an apparent lack of self-confidence, 'faith' in you, or constant anxiety about 'how am I doing?’ You probably beat yourself up over the tiniest mistakes and goofs, often. You often doubt your ability to do well in almost anything: studies, job, sports, and creativity. You are often, if not constantly, burdened by a guilt that you are not 'good-enough'. So much so that it actually prevents you from aiming higher!
Sometimes, you do manage a truly remarkable performance, but you immediately downplay it as a fluke or dumb-luck! You sabotage your own moment of success by criticizing yourself ruthlessly! And you’ve become very good at that over the years.You are often as scared of success as of failure, just so that you don't raise the expectations too high. But deep down inside you want to celebrate that little success as if you've conquered the world. As if you finally managed to wipe off the not-up-to-the-mark label with that one success, once and for ever. Or atleast you wish that you did.You believe that your accidental successes will be exposed one day and you will be found-out to be a ‘fake’ who really isn't good at anything.
You probably don't love yourself enough to feel deserving of all the good things that the world has to offer. Again, it’s just because you are your own worst critic. And so, you stay in the 'safe zone', the level that you have reached and have maintained for a while. But you know inside that you have held on too tight and too long to it, and won't let go of it for something bigger and better.
If you somewhat identify with what I just described, I would like to tell you this:
1. You are not alone: There are far too many souls out there like you. They are all looking for the same thing and suffering the same pain.
2. You can change this: Slowly. With some directed effort and discipline. It *is* within your reach.
3. The problem is not with your actual ability, it is only with your belief.
4. And that belief is a lie. You are not a ‘phony’.
Other than that false belief in your mind, you are no different than that 'star-performer' at your school or workplace.
The first step towards fixing your ‘problem’ is to know and believe that that inner-critic is a liar. After you get this down well and good, you will be quite ready to fix everything else. So take your time, think about that lie, and how to tell that inner liar to shut up. I will write back with more in a day or two.
(Edit: Part 2 of the post is now available).