Overcoming Self-Doubt, From Heart to Heart

I recently spoke at the wonderful Claudia Chan SHE SUMMIT event to a group of women who all came to be inspired and supported in what they do in the workplace and move forward in a successful, creative and connected way to make a difference in the world. Whenever I speak, I always share my own personal story and experiences with the audience of how I overcame some of my own inner struggles to regain my sense of what I am here to do and contribute. I ask the audience if they struggle with self-doubt, and usually three-quarters of the people raise their hands — and I think the other quarter most likely didn’t hear me. This audience was no different.

I think most human beings struggle with some form of doubt. I believe that doubt is the No. 1 killer of the human spirit. And it is imperative that we see it and address it and shake it loose. With fear, you can still feel the adrenaline and get the energy to overcome it, but doubt can paralyze you and you don’t even feel it. You don’t even know you are doubting. It is the equivalent of being in a dark hole under the earth and not knowing that there is a whole world above you full of light. How would you know? You are under the earth!

The voice of doubt whispers in our ears and draws us into this dark hole. And we listen to it. Things like: You can’t do that, you don’t know how to do that, who do you think you are, you don’t have it in you, keep quiet or you’ll get fired, rejected, disliked, disapproved of — fill in the blank. You are not important enough, you are not good enough, you are this, you are that…

This voice can come in as we are trying to take a new step in our careers, to form a new relationship, to launch a creative idea, to start a hobby that gives us joy, to let go of living in an environment where we feel stuck and unfulfilled, to ask for a raise, to ask for help — in any place where we want to expand into new territory. Shakespeare said it best: “Our doubts are traitors / And make us lose the good we oft might win / By fearing to attempt.” We betray ourselves by denying ourselves even the possibility of attempting something new, and then our mighty spirits shrink a little and our gorgeous hearts shut down.

Those of you who are familiar with my story know that I was raised by a mother who was always bigger than her doubt. She would always say to us, “I have no doubt that if you want to do this or that (whatever that was) and set your mind and give it your full attention to it (oh yes, she was very big on giving something your full attention!) you will do it.”

I now have my own little tribe to remind me of this — all of us ready to remind each other of who we are and what we are capable of doing. We have a promise to ourselves and each other that the minute we feel the doubt creeping in, we call it in. “Darling, I am in it. I am doubting myself. Send me a love rope to pull me up.” And all we really need to hear on the other end is, “I believe in you, I support you in what you want to do, and I’ve got your back and your heart.”

The amazing thing is that someone else will often spot it even before I know it, and vice versa. I’ll say to my friend who I see doubting without even knowing it, “Darling, don’t you know who you are? Have you asked for help? Are you trying to do it alone?” And then I send down a love rope to help my friend climb back into the light. I move in with the love of a mama bear to help shift the doubt, and I am ruthless with the part that’s undermining us to stop us from being who we deserve to be. And they do the same for me when I am in doubt.

Imagine if we became secret spies of the truth and any time we saw someone in doubt we had the courage to go up to them and say, “I hear you doubting yourself. How can I support you to move past it?” And the person might say to us, “How do you know that?” And you’d say, “Because I have a become an agent of the heart, and I hear your heart, and it wants to do something. You are blocking it with doubt and I am here to help you open the latch. What can I do? What can I whisper in your ear or shout in your other ear so you’ll hear that you can do it? That if you fall I’ll catch you, that if you quake I’ll hold you, and that if you’re afraid to jump I’ll hold the rope on the other side?”

Imagine if we had that deep understanding and compassion for one another — that we heard each other’s cry and each one of us opened our heart to others to pull them out of that dark. I know that this is the power of our human heart, and I know the magic that comes from extending this heartfelt support. I truly believe that any pain can be alleviated from heart to heart, and that all solutions can be found as we dare to open up to each other with a spirit that recognizes each other’s greatness.

Would you share with me your story of how you found your way out of doubt — or helped someone else find their way out of theirs?

For more by Agapi Stassinopoulos, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.


Books by this author


This Blogger’s Books from



Unbinding the Heart: A Dose of Greek Wisdom, Generosity, and Unconditional Love

Gods and Goddesses in Love: Making the Myth a Reality for You

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/agapi-stassinopoulos/overcoming-doubt_b_3496383.html

The Antidote to Discouragement: 6 Steps to Get Past It

When things don’t go the way I want them to in my life, or I attempt to make something happen and it’s not happening, I can start to feel discouraged and lose my enthusiasm. Here are some of the ways I have found that help me overcome a feeling that can be debilitating and limit who we are.

We’ve all had this experience of going after something. You’re trying for a job you really want, you’ve gone to interview after interview, and you can’t land it. Or you’re dating and you have a relationship here and there, but you just can’t find the love you long for. Maybe you’ve been trying to lose weight — you’ve lost three pounds, but that’s nowhere near the 20 you are hoping to lose. Or you have a book you want to write, a song you want to produce, a career you want to jump start; as much as you try to go after whatever “it” is, you just can’t get “it.” Then you hit the giant wall known as discouragement.

Now, you go about your days, going through the motions with a heavy heart about it all, and you can’t plug into that essential enthusiasm you had when you first started your attempts. This discouragement that burdens all of us, I am certain, is one of the greatest killers of the human spirit. Let me break this terrible feeling down for you, quite simply as a word: DIS-COURAGE-MENT:

  • DIS — is a root word that denotes a sense of failure.
  • COURAGE — comes from the French word Coeur, which means heart.
  • MENT — turns a verb into a noun, it makes an action a thing.

So when you add the “DIS” to your “COURAGE” it implies that you have withdrawn your heart energy. Now, that feeling starts to take over and our heart is sapped of its power, and the connection propelling us forward is weakened. We are no longer engaging the flow of our heart that keeps us moving and constantly pushing us forward with momentum. Instead, our undermining voice bombards us with statements like, “I am NEVER going to do that. This is NEVER going to happen. I am NEVER going to get that. This will NEVER work out. What’s wrong with me? I might as well give up.” At this point, the statement becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and we start to build on our projected failures.

Now, we don’t necessarily do these things consciously. Sometimes this belief, this thought, this emotion creeps in like the tiniest of spiders, and it quietly spins a web around us. This web is a field of unrequited and unfulfilled desires. As it grows, we shut off our creativity, we shut out possibilities, we lose perspective and we miss opportunities. Being stuck in this web is absolutely miserable. However, through this misery we must remember that without a doubt, our greatest test is staying open. It is absolutely essential that we don’t shut ourselves off. In order to stay open, it is crucial to not become too attached to the thing we are going after. Otherwise, we run the risk of turning the journey that we started with the best of intentions into a gruesome process, and our joy is snuffed out of us.

So what is a girl (or a boy) to do?

  1. SEE IT: Right then, in the moment that you sense yourself feeling discouraged, you must realize it fully and see it for what it is.
  2. NAME IT: Now that you recognize it, you have to admit what it is and call it by its name, “discouragement.” When you name the negative emotion, it loosens its hold on you, and you take authority over it.
  3. ACCEPT IT: You see it for what it is and you don’t resist or judge it.
  4. TALK IT OUT: Find a person that you feel safe with, someone who knows and understands you and confess this feeling of discouragement. This way, you start to release the feeling of confinement that discouragement creates.
  5. HELP SOMEONE ELSE: The fastest way to get back to your heart is to extend yourself and give to someone else with anything they might need.
  6. LET IT GO: Now that you’ve helped someone else, you probably realize you are bigger than the feeling of discouragement. Now let it go and focus on the bigger vision to reach a higher altitude for yourself.

Take hold of the inner thread that connects you to your heart, to the source of your being, to your anchor. It is at this point that you must get back to your gratitude, take some time to pause and start to think of all of the things you are grateful for. Truly and deeply, let the gratitude sink in (be grateful for the miracle of you and the extraordinary reality that you are alive!) and this can be your inner springboard to launch you back into the glorious possibilities of an unbound heart.

Please share with us your experience with the feeling of discouragement and ways of getting past it.

For more by Agapi Stassinopoulos, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.


Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/agapi-stassinopoulos/discouragement-tips_b_3071687.html

Four Magic Words: Can You Help Me?

I had a very interesting experience a few days ago that led me to the insight of the importance of asking for help and also the importance of how we ask for help.

Here is what happened:

I was out having dinner with a new friend, chatting away in my favorite way of connecting, which is bypassing the chitchat to get to the heart of the matter of our lives. One of the questions I asked him was, “What pattern are you trying to break to create more freedom in your life?” He shared that he had difficulty communicating solutions that he so clearly saw in how people were conducting business. He continued to express his thoughts in a very passionate way, and I sensed a deep caring about the human problems that he wanted to help people solve. I offered my quick fix solution — you know — the tendency that’s inside us to want to fix things when someone is struggling. As much as I coach myself not to try to offer quick fixes, I can’t help myself sometimes.

Then my new friend asked me: What was I struggling with that I wanted to overcome? What came out of my mouth surprised me; setting up my new iPhone! I was having a major block switching from my BlackBerry to my iPhone, it felt completely overwhelming and the thought paralyzed me. When I would see people quickly press buttons to get instant access to maps or movie locations, restaurants, websites and all sorts of apps, I felt very jealous and wanted to be able to do it but I didn’t have the patience to go through the coaching. He looked at me with a slight grin, being that this man is also an engineer, picked up his phone and said, “These are just buttons that can help make your life easier and more flowing. There is nothing that stands between you and you getting your phone activated, you just go to the Apple store and tell them what you need to do.” I turned to him and said four magic words, which opened the path for me to move towards making it happen, “Can you help me?” I was direct and clear in asking without really knowing how could this man who lives out of town help me. He immediately said, “Yes, go this weekend and text me from there as soon as you have your iPhone.” I said I would.

Of course, the next day there was nothing in me that wanted to move towards going through the maze of the Apple store to start the process, there were a hundred other things far more important. A day later I got a text from my friend that said, “Waiting,” and he was waiting for my text; whoops I was caught! I didn’t really think he was serious about helping me, I thought it was just dinner conversation. I made an excuse that it was snowing and I promised that I would go the next day. He replied, “OK one more day, but that’s it.” Wow, I really had an ally in helping me.

Would you believe it, the next day I was at the store setting up a new phone line, my iPhone, a couple of apps and a fabulous minouette ring. I texted my friend from the store to share my victory; he called back and we ended up talking about the joy of having broken through my block. I thanked him for his support, and I shared with him my awareness of how powerful it is to ask for and receive help. I questioned him if he asks for help? He told me that he had great difficulty asking for help because he did not want to burden people. I asked him, “Did helping me feel like a burden to you?” He answered, “No it was a joy.” I expressed, “Why would you then deny that joy to other people and not give to them the same chance to have joy?”

This experience led me to have a lot of conversations with other people, if they ask for help and if not, why not? Here are some of the answers that I got:

A lot of people feel vulnerable and that they will be rejected.
Some don’t want to appear needy.
Some don’t want to impose on other people.
Some people are proud and feel they should do it all alone.
A few men said they don’t feel that they need any help!

Here is how I see it, asking for help in the absolute knowing that we deserve to be helped, is one of the most loving things we can do for ourselves; not coming from a place of entitlement, or having the expectation that someone should help us, but more like an owning of the areas that we need assistance with. There are hundreds of areas we are all good at and hundreds of areas that we are not, and after all, why should we expect ourselves to be good at everything? The asking is one of the most powerful things we can do for our human heart, because it allows us to be vulnerable, to be open and to receive. One of my favorite Bible quotes is, “Ask and you shall receive.” For me, the initial asking is from your spirit within, and then to reach out and ask those who can support you in your dreams, your visions and how to make them real; also how you can bring your gifts more to fruition and generally any aspects of your life that needs help. We might get it, or we might not, but we must ask and keep asking until we receive the help.

In the meantime, I am progressing little by little with my experience of using my iPhone and loving it….

Will you share with me what are your experiences with asking for help? How do you ask for help and how do you feel when you get it or not? I’d love to know your thoughts.

For more by Agapi Stassinopoulos, click here.

For more on emotional wellness, click here.
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