Sometimes, there is a little, ugly monster who sits on my shoulder. He whispers horrible, self-doubt-inducing questions in my ear.
As a result, I feared no one else in the room would agree with my thoughts or suggestions in work meetings. During networking events, I felt too shy to chime in on a conversation others were having. It’s happened in social settings, when I was sure that no one there had the same tastes as me.
The monster whispers…
“What if everyone thinks your idea is stupid?”
“What if they don’t want you to join in their conversation?”
“What if they think your love of Broadway musicals is uncool?”
This monster is a thief of connection. He feeds on missed opportunities. Every single time that his sinister questions shamed me into holding back, he feasted on my silence.
But, I have found the thing that can thwart this demon… vulnerability.
“Your ideas are valuable no matter what anyone thinks.”
“They might welcome your contribution to their conversation.”
“If loving Broadway musicals is wrong, I don’t want to be right!”
When I let vulnerability win, I’m better off for it. Sure, there are times I feel judged or rejected or embarrassed. But more often, I feel engaged and connected and seen. I’ve realized that the risk of rejection is worth the chance at connection.
Now, I have to admit, even though I know vulnerability is the answer, sometimes the monster still eats. He’ll probably always be there, ready and eager to summon my self-doubt. But I’m getting better at flicking that monster off my shoulder and letting my true self shine.
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