Annie Ricci: Beating Back Those Self-Doubt Gremlins

confidenceI volunteered for this little writing gig because I love to write, to connect with people through words. As I sit down to draft my first submission, I feel a little anxious. Maybe a tad worried. The self-doubt gremlins step up their attack with questions like: What if moms don’t like what you say? What can you contribute that is worthwhile? What makes you qualified to write anything about this year’s theme around bravery?

Do those gremlins haunt you, too? The attack questions may be different, but you know the feeling I talk about. The sensation that someone just punched you in the gut, you can’t breathe, and your heart races faster than a NASCAR racer. How do you beat back those gremlins? How do you bravely face that barrage of anxiety? Does your method of dealing with those feelings leave you standing taller, feeling braver? Or, does it leave you feeling a little disappointed? Well, for better or worse, right or wrong, here are three ways I put the smack-down to those pesky gremlins. I hope it’s something you can use, too.

1. First I take a deep breath. No, not just a sigh–but an-honest-to-goodness DEEP Breath. I breathe in through the nose slowly and pretend my stomach is a balloon I fill with air. Then I let it out slowly, sometimes slower than the inhale. Oxygenated blood to the brain helps clear out the stress hormones and lowers blood pressure. Then, I can think with a clearer head.

2. Next, I ask myself this series of questions:
“If this gremlin is right, what is the worst that can happen?” And I try to imagine all the worst case scenarios I can. (They will kick me out of MOPS.)

“How truly likely is that to happen?” Well, probably not THAT likely.

“What is more realistic/ likely to happen?” Some people will like what I have to say, some won’t, and some won’t care because the topic doesn’t relate to them.

“Am I going to be ok no matter what happens with this situation; I mean, does my life or happiness depend on the outcome?” Well, it’s not life or death, really and I am probably going to be just fine.

3. I check in with myself to see if I feel any better. If yes, I do the happy dance and move on. If not, I repeat steps 1 & 2. If the gremlin of self-doubt won’t let go after a couple of those rounds, I find a trusted friend or loved one to share my worries with. I listen to them tell me “You got this, girl,” and I listen with my heart and believe them as they recount all the ways in which I really do “got this.” Because, after all, they wouldn’t–and never have–lied to me. AND THEN…we do the happy dance together… on the gremlin’s grave!

So, if you are one of those gals that feels nervous when you are about to share something at your MOPS table, like, you are worried what everyone is going to think when you open your mouth. Take a DEEEEEP breath. Put the smack-down on that self-doubt gremlin. Be YOU, bravely. What you have to say to us matters.

anniebw 001I am a mom, wife, daughter, friend, professional coach and licensed marriage and family therapist who is always seeking ways to be a better person today than I was yesterday.
You can find me at:
You can also find me on Facebook.

photo credit: Son of Groucho via photopin cc

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