Tactics for Belief

Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are. -Brené Brown

It seems I’m not the only one around who battles self-doubt and perfectionism. Your response and feedback to my last blog post were proof of that. Thank you for taking the time to thoughtfully engage with your own stories of struggle in this area. It’s that kind of vulnerability and transparency that brings life and light into those dingy dark rooms of self-doubt with a resounding me too.

As often happens when we touch sensitive yet powerful nerves of truth, it seems the universe aligns to keep that flow moving. It’s like getting a new car (or new to you) and all of a sudden, you start noticing just how many of the same model and color cars are out on the road. Our awareness is tweaked and, in my case, there appears a million white Toyota Priuses in Nashville traffic. With such great feedback and a continuous reverberation of this self-doubt/perfectionism trap, I thought we could tease out some practical application; Lord knows I need it.

I went on a long hike yesterday around Radnor Lake, my beloved local nature scape and sanctuary of sanity. One of my favorite things to do if and when I have a chunk of free time during the week is to get out in nature and listen to smart people talk about the strong convictions they hold. This, of course, happens in the form of an audiobook or podcast. Monday, I had this glorious opportunity for the first time in a while…and I jumped on it. Headphones in, a sunny if not toasty first day of summer to venture into, and a little over an hour to kill. Heaven.

I got about twenty minutes into the talk and realized it was not only for me to store away in the “Cling To” file, but it might also be extremely helpful for you, especially on the heels of looking hard and square into the face of self-doubt and insecurity last week.

Moment of truth: did anyone chip away at a personal creed? Don’t worry; I’m not homework- shaming you. But I still believe it is a simple and self-loving thing to tackle. If you think that might be helpful, take a swing at it. If you need help, you know where to find me.

I spent about fifteen minutes the other day on mine. What attributes do I embody? What are my gifts? What am I deeply convinced of? Who am I? Who am I NOT? And on and on…Again, personal creeds are meant to be reminders of our worth, identity, and desires so we don’t fall in the trap of comparison with others, insecurity, and then go numb out somewhere.

What I was so blown away by in this message was how we grow in the conviction of these beliefs. A personal creed is great and all, yet if we look at it once and let it collect dust in the bottom drawer of our bedside table, we have sorely missed the point. It’s kind of like getting

hitched—saying those binding, life-altering vows and then going verbally dark the rest of the marriage. Not a good look. Here are my takeaways, and three crucial applications to help us lock into our creed or deeply held beliefs.

1. Feed the creed.

It may sound like first class cheese, but it spilled out like buttah. Just like we water a plant and lovingly nurture a child or pet, we absolutely must feed those unique, life-giving, truths that remind us of who we are and what we purpose. Quite simply, the best way to do this is to read and re-read it daily, or as often as you need. That laser focus fuels the flame of belief so much so that it burns away the fear of self-doubt. If that feels weird or woo woo, GOOD! We don’t change unless something changes; change feels weird!

2. Don’t stop moving.

By this I don’t mean never rest. Quite the contrary; rest in the propelling reminder of who you are. When I get stuck and fall prey to comparison with others or perfectionistic tendencies, it is paralyzing and I can’t move forward. Thankfully I have wised up to my confusing yet clever enemy and am able to poke all sorts of holes in those messages. Many times this looks like holding up a gentle, more accurate mirror than mine in the form of a trusted friend or loved one. I must admit, though, after years of practice, those slithering lies are tempting, like a toxic old lover.

A moving target is much harder to hit than one that is stationary.

I may or may not have killed a deer in a past life on a hunting trip in high school. (Full disclosure: I am from Alabama and we did eat venison for dinner that night.) I know, haters gonna hate. However, for illustration purposes, I will say, it was fairly easy because I was totally set up for success. The poor guy was in a field, totally still, and I was up in a tree stand taking a break from gin rummy or something. Cake. I can assure you had there been sudden movement involved, we would have had chicken for dinner. Without belaboring the point and completely offending you, I’ll land this plane: No matter how loud those oppressive voices that long to derail our identity, we must dodge the bullet and keep moving forward toward our freedom.

3. Anticipate the struggle.

It will come, time and time again. We can’t be surprised when it does. Feeding hope with a congruent dose of brutal honesty is essential all along the way. We can’t Pollyanna our way through and be blindsided by a random covert attack those old skeletons pony up. Knowing the the sound of alien voices that sneak up and rattle off in our self-talk is key as we keep moving in the direction of our truth.

For those of you I didn’t lose to Saving Private Ryan, keep the feedback coming! This conversation and community is building in volume and numbers, thanks to you. For this I am beyond grateful.

For more on this topic read the previous post here.