I’ll start by sharing the story of a little girl: She grew up in a house with alcohol abuse and violence, multiple marriages and dads, and lots of yelling, screaming, chaos, and fear. There were days she felt she literally fought for her life. She slept with a pillow over her head to drown out the noise, but that didn’t stop her from repeating in her head the hateful words she heard over and over: “You’re rotten, stupid, fat…I wish you had never been born!”
That little girl was me.
How did it affect your life and work?
I struggled with insecurity and constant negative self talk. I never felt good enough. The words I heard as a youth became my own internal dialogue. I had successes: degrees, good jobs, and a solid career path. My poor choices were made in private; my relationships were in shambles and self destructive. I felt like a fraud. Part of me believed my true self was the child who should never have been born. I felt that none of my successes counted since I made poor choices in other areas of my life.
Life was an uphill battle. I poured all of my energy into school and work, holding two or three jobs, even while attending school full time. The busier I was, the less time I had to spend in my thoughts. But I realized that holding in negative self talk and residual shame was more exhausting than my uber-busy life.
What was it like still having to perform as a high-level executive?
It was both exhausting and exhilarating. My “public” professional face was positive, driven, competent, and powerful. I received acknowledgement and positive feedback for my accomplishments. When my faith was strong, I held the belief that I was doing the very thing I was created to do. The fact that there was a purpose greater than me was often what kept me going. I had very little room for anything in my personal life. At the point that I began to make self-honoring choices, in all areas of my life, I found that I had more energy, more creativity, and a bigger vision of all that could be accomplished to make an impact in the lives of children and families. The periods of self doubt have become moments and hours, rather than weeks and months.
How did The Truth Behind Our Titles™ impact you?
Expressions of love from my husband and children make me smile. Dancing makes me smile.
Dr. Belhumeur’s #ShareYourTruth Advice
1. Create your own personal Board of Directors. Ask your strongest supporters, those who love and care about your success, to be among those you can confide in during times of trouble. It’s important to have honesty and accountability around the tendency toward negative self talk. Choose people you know will be accepting and loving, who will support and encourage your efforts to do the great things that you’re capable of achieving.
2. Build “self-honoring time” into your schedule daily. Let’s face it: Our work can consume every minute if we allow it. Schedule time to take care of YOU. The result is that you have the energy to take care of others.
3. Begin each day in gratitude. The adage, “what you resists, persists,” is true. Express gratitude, especially with regard to the struggles. They are opportunities to excel and improve in the very areas that we need to the most.