Part of being fearless is facing the enemy within.
Our biggest enemy is not the devil, your ever growing number of haters and other external factors, your biggest enemy is yourself.
Ever felt like there were two yous? One that is a faith ninja, that roars like a lion and has Beyonce stage wind service for her hair as she bulldozers past haters, including self hate, towards her destiny. What an image. Then there’s the “realistic” you, the one who dwells on their shortcomings, calculates to the nth degree the probability of success, hyper sensitive and risk averse…you know, the one who prefers to be bullied by circumstance into action. These two are always wrestling and draw strength from different forces; One is Jacob, the other Israel. One is Saul, the other Paul. One is Abram, the other Abraham. Now, I know that is not new, but it needs to be repeated so we stop misdiagnosing our actions and circumstances
Growing up my late father used to say my problem is that I don’t fear anyone. I believe he was trying to use reverse psychology to keep me there but he was wrong. Human beings, nah..school/exams, nah…I would proudly and often exclaim, to convince myself more than anything, that “I will not be beaten” by a piece of paper!”, so no! Many called me confident, sure of myself and God forbid, at 8 years old my report card said I was “bossy”. I mean! Did they say that to the boys in class or was it termed “leadership potential”. Anyways, that is for another day, but you get the gist…fear wasn’t outwardly visible and I didn’t know any different. Then I listened, for affirmations beyond my parents and God and a new narrative started to be built.
I was told that I was “too much”, “ugly”, “selfish with my intelligence”, “too outspoken”, ” too opinionated” at about the same time I was going through ado (aka adolescence). I allowed those words to be bricks in the empire I was building. This built an alternative to my true self. She was much more apologetic, downplayed her intelligence, was risk averse, people pleasing and unsure. However, people seemingly gravitated towards and accepted her more and so she stifled the fearless one and the imposter was born.
Side note: Now I am not referring to the imposter syndrome, which is very real and can actually be a symptom of our subject today. I have experienced it and have sadly seen it especially amongst African corporate beasts. FYI: Imposter Syndrome is the phenomenon where generally high-achieving individuals feel intellectually fraudulent, despite all evidence to the contrary, and have a resultant fear of being ‘found out’ as an imposter. Shout out to Pauline Clance and Suzanne Immes for putting into words what we have struggled to explain most of our lives.
So why do I call the “imposter” as if I am bipolar? It is due to the fact that people are given a glimpse of who they are, but the world can be given the power to disagree and share a more “realistic” view, often resulting in a “socially” fit, slightly passive and apologetic human…aka one that fits right into the latest fabric of society. Windows 10 is a problem, okay this is not the platform for my issues, but as a way to land my point, they have this issue where if updates are not installed correctly, for example; when you logon, it cannot find your original profile and creates a temporary profile where nothing you worked on is visible anymore. How apt as an analogy of the imposter profile and the real one hidden somewhere in the REGISTRY (can you tell I was frustrated? Psh!)
There is something glorious and beautiful about simply being yourself. It is now considered brave to stand for something in our liberal world, but also believed to be close minded…latest fabric vibes at play. I believe that authenticity is the ultimate display of fearlessness but as with most things it requires us to win, daily, the inward battle between the imposter and our true selves. For the life of me I cannot tell you how to kill the imposter, especially since we live in a broken world and it is an ongoing struggle, rather let’s focus on some ideas on exposing and silencing this talkative unwelcome side of us.
I cannot emphasize enough the need to take an honest look at oneself. Take the time to reflect on who you are or have become and check if you still like or love you. Having had one or two Damascus moments in my life and what I saw threatened to fill me with regret, I thank God that He jumps into solution mode when we expose ourselves to Him. All who know me know my slight obsession with my distant mentor Dr Dharius Daniels, the following thoughts are a collation of much of his work. Do not be deceived, you cannot outgrow brokenness and as much as I can respect your ability to get back up again, the person that comes up is not the same one that fell…check what you lost (yes you are alive, but where is your joy, self belief, vision?) or what you picked up in the form of dirt (bad attitude?) and scars (bitterness?). I have learnt that facing yourself will usually pit you against the imposter, and what really counts is who God is backing. If God is for you, who can stand against you…thankfully not even you can. Thank God He will always back His design, broken as it is, He can and always fixes it!
Take hold of your thoughts
Look we have to get a bit aggressive and protective of our thought life to win this battle. We are a summation of our thoughts, we thought ourselves into a lot of what is happening in our lives. “As a man thinks, so is he”. It is so important to manage your thoughts!
Eat what you want to produce
The world rightfully believes that you are not what you eat, although sometimes I believe I am, as I munch on a scone…EEK. However, in the spiritual world, you are what you eat. When you speak, your mind dips into your knowledge base, heart and memories to communicate 360 degrees. This is why someone can say “yes I would love to” but their body language, tone and facial expression say something totally different! Your mind dipped and pulled bitterness up and so while your self control was able to spurt out something different, the rest of you didn’t quite agree! Silly example, but I cannot be the only guilty one. Anyways, what you watch, listen to, read, consume in any manner (too many mediums these days) is locked in the form of opinion, feelings about things, way of processing information and solving problems. You produce, act, behave from what you placed in the library of your mind and heart. So, if you are constantly chewing negativity, comparison, selfish ambition, you will spew it out, one way or another. What goes in must come out. Luckily you can have some fibre, in the form of surrounding yourself with people who challenge your thinking, reading good books, listening to positive music, etc. As with any habit, it will take time, but hey, each time a good thought takes over, you are weakening the imposter. Best of all, it changes your narrative!
Seek affirmation…just from the one who knows you best
Look I can lie and say we must be so strong in our self concept and belief that we don’t need any affirmation. As I said, I could lie. Words of affirmation are one of the five love languages. Jesus, a God and sinless man, was affirmed during the people (sic) by His heavenly Father. People can act out without affirmation from their parents, schoolmates, teachers etc. Something in our design makes us need affirmation. Now ask God why, as I personally am not 100% sure.
Anyways, who you seek affirmation from matters as what they say creates the narrative/belief system you have of yourself. Social media, friends, family, work, achievements, recognition, money, success, material belongings are all rather powerful affirmers. The changing, “dependant-on-circumstance-period-environment-fad -feelings” nature of these affirmers means one day you could be great and the the next day, not so much. It is like willingly buying into a rollercoaster where your evolution is based on how the world feels that decade or even that day. I reckon we need a solid/consistent affirmer. God, naturally, comes to mind as His main selling point is He doesn’t change. One meaning of “Holy” is constant. That and the fact that He designed you and all your quirks and so if He says you rock, best believe you do. No pot has ever turned and argued with the potter.
So, in the spirit of managing thoughts, a note to my imposter:
“I know my faults, weaknesses and strengths. I am okay to be less than perfect. I take hold of the thought that I am not good enough and place it at Gods feet. These thoughts must answer to God now as I cannot deal. Did I mention that I have stopped hanging out with people who make me feel less worthy or who are takers while I am a giver? Oh and I have dethroned money, work, achievements and emotions from dictating who I am. The only voice I listen to now is God’s one, and man He makes me blush when He says I am the head and not the tail. He has the final say. Fullstop.”
Let me know thoughts
Portia, The Spiritual