We all have a personal view of ourselves that quite often is extremely different than how others view us. We tend to be very critical of ourselves, much more than those closest to us. This critical view of ourselves is very powerful and if not properly interpreted, can lead to crippling fear and self sabotage.
It is quite common for us to compare ourselves to other people, to basically size people up. The one problem with sizing people up is that we tend to judge ourselves too harshly and view ourselves as inferior to others. I believe this to be a result of a fear of success and a fear of failure that happen simultaneously. To be successful we would need to develop new skill sets, take on more responsibilities, and acquire a new role to play. After all this is achieved, we then need to maintain our success, which will include more uncertainty. On the flip side we could take action and fail horribly. With failure comes judgment by others and the pain of knowing that our efforts were in vain. So our own mind plays a trick on us and views ourselves as inadequate, and then we become inferior to others. This keeps us from taking action thus creating a false sense that non-action equals safety.
I know this sounds pretty crazy, but the job of our minds is not to think, but to keep us safe. It is apparently safer to our minds to avoid possible success/failure than it is to even attempt it. The problem I see with this conflict in our mind is that neither outcome has happened yet. All these emotions are “what ifs”, and are based in the future. It tries to picture the worst case scenarios and the unknown variable to prepare for all the situations. This leads to “paralysis by analysis” where you are frozen with fear of the possibilities of future outcomes that have not developed yet. When you break it down to this level it begins to sound a little bit funny. We basically make a mountain out of a mole hill.
Some of the solutions I have developed to help boost my personal identity are to remember all the accomplishments in my life time. Number one on my list is I am still alive. I have made it through this life with my health and I am still intact. This is a pretty big accomplishment considering many people die every day, so I must be doing something right. I have also adopted the view point that you can drive a car from California to New York, at night with the headlights on and only need to see 100 feet ahead of you. What this means to me is that I know I am smart enough to figure out how to solve problems as they happen. I do not need to foresee all the problems and have solutions first in order to take action. I have also developed life principles or rules that govern the decisions I need to make based on my personal values. These little tricks have helped me to view myself in a positive way, and to hold myself in high regards.
The next time you look in the mirror, really take a hard look at how you view yourself. Go easy on yourself, and give yourself a break. Remember as long as you can take a breath and your heart is still beating you have what it takes to succeed at whatever you desire. You really do not have the right to hold yourself back and not believe in your own abilities, so stop beating yourself up and move toward what it is you want to achieve.