Our brain is so smart but sometimes it tell us lies.
From the outside, most people have no idea the lies you are telling yourself, generally because they likely have the same lies running through their own heads.
I ran into a friend the other day…you know the one. It’s the friend who seems to have it all.
Confident, successful, a go getter, an absolute Boss Babe.
I love these kinds of people, simply because I resonate with that mindset. But after sitting down to coffee and connecting on a deeper level, the truth behind the “façade” emerged. She was struggling with her own self-worth and wondered if she even mattered.
I was shocked.
And I was devastated for her.
The ironic thing was, I didn’t view her through that lens at all. In fact, she was an inspiration, someone I admired tremendously. In so many ways, I felt like I didn’t matter TO HER.
Friends, I’m here to tell you a truth. The lies we tell ourselves simply are not true.
What is true is that everyone struggles.
Even this girl…Erin Engelke...with the successful career, a wonderful family, a litany of titles behind her name. Yes, I struggle too with the lies.
There's no end to the stories we write in our heads, but these three seem to capture the biggies that I tell myself...and that I've heard from so many of my coaching clients, family or friends. These are the ones that seem to rear their atrocious heads on the regular.
Lie #1: I’m not enough.
WOW. This is such a deep one. Don't we all want to feel like we matter? Like we are accepted for all of who we are and that we don't need to be anyone different?
As a parent of three children (two teens and one pre-teen), I'm regularly reminding my kiddos they are enough and perfect just for being themselves.
My oldest daughter was born with the most darling freckles around her nose and she HATED them all growing up because they made her feel different than her other friends. As young as age 7, she would even beg me to find a solution or a medicine to get rid of them!
While fretting over freckles is a seemingly small issue, it represents this much greater desire for all of us to be or look or perform so others will view us as enough.
As my children (and I!) have gotten older, those "I'm not enough" lies have just gotten bigger.
- "If I don't go to college and go to a trade school instead, I won't be enough."
- "If I don't make the basketball team, I won't be enough."
- "If I don't get that amazing award/job/new title, I won't be enough."
Friends, I'm here to tell you there is no one else on this planet just like you. And no amount of doing or changing will make you any more enough or special BECAUSE YOU ALREADY ARE.
If you are living a life of character, following your own dreams and desires, you will be enough for you. Focus on being enough for you and not what's viewed as "enough" for anyone else in your life.
Lie #2: I’m not loved or valued.
At my core, I crave to be loved…for others to value me in their life. I’d like to believe this does NOT mean I am needy! In truth (and in all seriousness), it is a very normal and realistic expectation. It’s also a basic human need. The mental, emotional and social benefits of love and affection are the secret sauce to our relationships but let’s be honest, the more loved and valued we feel, the more confident we feel about ourselves as well.
When I start to write a story in my head that I am not loved, it hurts so hard. But digging deep to determine why I’m feeling that lie is the first step in repairing the hurt.
1. Am I struggling to love myself? It is not uncommon as humans for us to push our own hurts and issues onto others instead of facing them directly first. When I’m feeling like a failure or insecure about something going on in my life, I will almost always assume the worst of other people. It feels like a sure fire way to remove the need to identify what’s really going on with me and make my issues about someone else. This does NOT mean others don’t love me. It means I am not loving myself first.
2. Am I feeling unloved because of an unmet expectation? Most relationships begin to unravel or suffer when one person expects something of someone else and it doesn’t happen. If you’ve ever read the book The Five Love Languages, you likely already know there are several ways we show love and receive love. One of the ways I feel loved is when I receive gifts…even something small. To me, it sends the message that I was thought of, valued and appreciated. So when I expect my husband to bring me flowers once a week or pick up my favorite candy when he’s at the store and he doesn’t, I feel crushed. The reality is, he does so many other things for me that demonstrate his love but I am often blind to them because of my own personal expectations. It is also likely because I’ve never told him what I want. Last time I checked, he wasn’t a mind reader!
If you are experiencing unmet expectations on the regular and feel unloved as a result, you must have the conversation. My guess is those in your life aren’t aware of what you are needing.
Lie #3: My voice isn’t heard.
I have a lot of opinions and thoughts and feelings…and often perceive people either (1) don’t want to hear them or (2) when I do express them, don’t hear what I’m saying or forget a word I’ve said. Yet again, ya’ll, my brain tries to sell me these lies and I am so dumb that I believe them! I’ve learned that a big reason others may not be “hearing” me is because their own brains are so cluttered with their own lies and personal traumas and stresses that they don’t have the headspace to be present for me.
What it means is sometimes we have to be present for others first before we can be served and heard by those in our lives. Beyond that, however, seeking the help of a licensed therapist, an executive coach or a trusted mentor is critical. In fact, I am a fierce advocate for all three of those options. Hit me up if you’d like recommendations for therapists or if you’d like to explore hiring an executive coach (I am one, by the way!).
Let me say it again for those in the back, the lies you've been telling yourself are NOT true. You do matter. You are valued and loved. And your voice matters so much.