How To Step Out Of The Shadows And Let Your True Self Shine

woman in shadows

Your best friend attracts guys like bees to honey. She is never without a date, never without some guy's eyes following her around the room. She has a well-paying job, or maybe she makes less than you but her social calendar is worth gold. Happiness follows her wherever she goes. 

"What"s the magic she has that I lack?" you might ask yourself.

And then there's you: living with a guy who, at 38, still works as a local barista dispensing lattes and advice while trying to finish his novel. You have a great job, you keep advancing in your career, making more money, getting recognition, moving up the ladder, and yet—you can't figure out how to be happy. Your mother, as modern as she tries to be, subtly reminds you that as impressive as your career is, you are childless and somehow that trumps all of your successes. She compares you to your younger sister who, by age 30, had two kids.

You sometimes feel as if nothing you do or have is ever good enough. Where does this profound sense of not enough and being undeserving come from? Why does the day after your promotion feel flat instead of joyful and proud? And, if one more person tells you to "just be yourself", "shift your thoughts", "just be grateful", or "honor your worth," you are going to scream!

You Suffer From "Sieve Mentality"
This "sieve mentality", as I call it, prevents us from holding onto anything good that comes into our lives, whether it be a promotion, winning an award or even accepting a simple compliment. Feelings of "being enough" pour straight through us and never linger. What remains is a feeling of unworthiness that corrupts our capacity to feel emotionally competent or own that we earned that award for doing a great job. You are talented. But when someone tells you that you are loved, you quickly sneak a glance over your shoulder to see who they are talking to (because it couldn't possibly be you, right?). 

Here's the simple truth that I learned from the notable Susan Piver: we are all born wanting three things—warmth, closeness and acceptance. When we compare ourelves to others, we kill our authentic self. We dishonor and destroy what makes us different, what makes us unique, what makes us desirable and deserving. But the irony is, sometimes it feels much safer to remain a "less than" in someone's shadow. When we remain singing in the chorus (versus claiming that solo) it keeps us safe from the harsh limelight of criticism.

It's easy to throw around sound bites and buzz words about letting-go, changing your perspective and being grateful, but the truth is, a lot of personal work is required to allow yourself to been seen as your authentic self. But, challenging as it may be, being a true version of "you" is still a choice.

Self-awareness Is The Only Road Out.
At this stage of your life, you are the only one who can right this toppled carriage and Krazy Glue Humpty Dumpty back together again. By taking the steps to learn about yourself, your softening will beckon in new friends who are attracted to your unique gifts and your unique personality.

The steps needed to shift from feeling undeserving to worthy are small but require consistency. Take another small step every single day, and I promise you will end up miles down a new, happier path in no time. Being consistent takes mindfulness and self-accountability. The goal is healing your damaged self-esteem; remaining intact in the areas of your life where you are strong, while slowly but steadily creating healing and forward movement in areas where you are skewed. Small steps, made daily. That's what it takes to walk out from behind the shadows of others. You're on your way to self-respect, the portal to truly trusting and loving yourself.

You'll know you've arrived when you can stand still and fully receive that compliment, receive that award and know you've earned it. When you can hold your value in your heart with softness and humbleness, you've arrived at self-love.

Find tools to help you on your journey to self love on my site. And, of course, you can always sign up to take your 30-minute free session or get my free e-Book by signing up for my newsletter.