This is an edited version of a podcast episode. If you prefer to listen, click Make Me Whole Podcast or click Podcast in the menu above to find this and all my other episodes.
Hey, everybody! Welcome back to another post. Today we are navigating the transformative journey of reclaiming your power. Let me ask you something. Have you ever felt like your life was a movie, but you weren’t in the director's seat? Well today is the day to claim your rightful place in that chair!
Imagine a door in your mind. You hear a knock, then another. Who could it be? These knocks are your younger inner selves: a confused child, maybe a rebellious teen, or maybe your ever-so-insecure early 20-something you. They knock, and when they’re tired of being ignored, they start talking directly to you. “I don’t feel like I’m enough. I don’t feel safe. I don’t feel like I belong.” Oh, if these walls could talk, they’d tell you to listen to that knock. You might think slamming the door might quiet your brain, but no, it gets louder. Kind of like trying to bury a plant under a heap of soil, thinking it won’t grow. Life finds a way, and so do these aspects of ourselves.
Let me tell you about a time I kept hearing this persistent knocking. It was during a really stressful part of my life. Work was demanding, my relationships were not so good, and my mental space felt like this chaotic jigsaw puzzle where none of the pieces fit together. The knocking grew so loud that it became unbearable. And guess what? I had to address it. I had no choice. And the relief in acknowledging it was liberating. That’s a story for another time, but it’s what led me to this tool I’m about to share with you.
Here’s what I want you to do. Grab a piece of paper and write down the numbers 1 to 10. Leave some space between each number. Now I want you to write down 10 different What-ifs that keep you awake at night. For every What-if, I want you to write a counter argument. It’s like preparing for a debate, only this time your opponent is your inner voice. The point here is to provide yourself with evidence that you are safe, that you are loved, or that you are more than capable of navigating life. Here are some examples.
What if I’m alone forever?
-I have a circle of close friends and family that love me. Loneliness isn’t my permanent state of being..
What if I fail?
-Well, every failure is a stepping stone to success. I have the resilience to get back up.
What if I’m never actually happy?
-Happiness isn’t a destination, not a journey. I’ve experienced happiness in the past, and I will again.
The point here is to deconstruct these intimidating fears and show yourself that they are not all-consuming. You’re breaking down walls, brick-by-brick and each brick you remove reveals some of the daylight you’ve been missing. Fears and anxieties are part of the human experience. There’s no shame in experiencing them,but ignoring them doesn't give you power. Acknowledging them does. You bring them to light on your terms, and what is illuminated can no longer thrive in the darkness.
Years back, my What-ifs were centered around other people’s opinions of me. Over time, they evolved into fears about my career and my purpose. Each phase of my life has had its own set of fears, but they all responded to the same treatment. Acknowledgement and confrontation. Remember, this isn't just a one and done deal. Your fears evolve, so should your list. Revisit it, update it, keep it in a separate journal if it’s helpful. But whatever you do, don’t let the knocking go unanswered. Let’s end this post with an affirmation.
Repeat after me:
I am seen.
I am heard.
I am loved.
I have the power to make myself whole.