The Day I Felt A Fraud

Christel Van Gelder Stories Leave a Comment

I may be a coach. I may have been trained to deal with emotions, thoughts, behavioUr. So you’d think I can deal with anything. Take it in my stride. But being a coach doesn’t make me superwoman. Doesn’t make me perfect. Doesn’t get rid of my own struggles and fears.

You see, I’m still vulnerable. I still doubt myself at times. And I always have to work on my emotions, my thoughts, my fears and doubts.

Last week I was confronted with some of my deeply ingrained fears: the fear of rejection, of not being good enough.

See, at heart, I’m an approval junkie. I’m conditioned to please. And these last few years I’ve learned to set boundaries. I’ve baby-stepped saying “no”. Yet the pleaser still loves to roar its ugly head.

Like last week.

The result? I felt a fraud. A charlatan. A fake. I felt a total loser.
I felt rejected and not good enough. And for a recovering pleaser-slash-approval-junkie that’s hard.

Before I continue, I’ll briefly share what happened.

I was invited to give a short introductory talk about coaching at a woman’s lunch hosted by a friend.

I hadn’t even uttered two words when I picked up on the energy of this woman – in her 80’s I guess- who sat there shaking her head. Body language in total disapproval.

It threw me. But outwards I remained calm, while my insides were churning hot like a tumble drier. But showing mere disapproval wasn’t enough for this lady, she went on to interrupt me and lecture me.

Apparently, she used to be a therapist, trained in the 60’s. And from what I understood she was into dealing with emotions and doing bodywork.

The problem here wasn’t her. T was me. I allowed her to come into my energy, to throw me off my game and to make me feel like a small child that was being admonished. My conditioning from my childhood kicked in. As a child, I was taught that older people are wiser and should be respected. That children should be seen but not heard. So that’s just what I did. I shut up and took it. I showed respect. However, this respect was not returned. Instead, she judged me and I have a hunch she also enjoyed her power play. She got attention. And that was what she was after.

But like in all bad stories, there’s a lesson to make away. More than one.

My first aha was that I allowed her to cut into my self-worth. And that’s all my doing, not hers.

The second one was that I deserve respect and instead of going into approval-junkie-mode, I could have chosen to stand in my power and not let my conditioning take over. Because we always have a choice.

And the third takeaway was that she was in my business and I let her. She had no affair being in my business. But by letting her in, I became also part of her business. Of her energy. And I can tell you it felt bad.

Needless to say, I was exhausted afterwards. I had my cry at home. I hung on the sofa and watched some Grace and Frankie. I cocooned and took care of my bruised inner child.

I always knew that one day I would have to deal with a “hater” situation. And this was my first one. I wasn’t prepared for it. Above all, it wasn’t online, where it still hurts, but you can create distance or block people and be done with it. This one came right in my face. And it was during my “show”. A first-hand experience of haters will be haters.

I wanted to share this story because it happens so often that we get attacked and then we crawl into our shell and we go over things again and again. Trying to figure out what we did wrong, what we could’ve done differently. But thing is, we can’t change what happened.

It happened. And there’s no turning back the clock,

What we can do —and that’s way more productive— is to find the thoughts that create our feelings of failure, of not good enough. And then work on those thoughts. Ask ourselves whether they are true, useful and make us better. Hint: the answer to all of these is usually “no”.

So you need to find what is true instead. To find what is more useful. What are the lessons I need to learn here?

To do this it’s best to take a piece of paper and “thought-vomit” all these nonsense thoughts by writing them down.

The next step is to turn each this mind-shit to the opposite. Just use the same words. By doing this you’ll get new statements. And you’ll find that those new thoughts are much more useful, much nicer, much more supportive than the original ones.

When you’ve done this and you feel better, get rid of that paper by burning it. Literally, clean yourself with fire from all this stinking thinking. Let go!

And so you learn to support yourself. To soothe your inner chastised child. To tell her/him that …yes, you are good enough. In fact, you’re way beyond good enough. You’re unique and you deserve all the respect and love in the world.

If you can start to believe even a fraction of that, you’re on your way to growth. You’re on your way to self-love and self-acceptance.

And that my friend is huge.

Dealing with difficult or even toxic people? Email me and we can have a chat.

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