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Often people hang onto stories about themselves because they are safety nets. They make them more human, more deserving. The root of most self-sabotage is when we have a vision for our lives that is propelling us forward, and a desperate need for love that is holding us still.

We often think of fear as this big, shocking thing – the kind of emotion that makes your core shake and heart pound – but the fear that will ruin your life is actually silent. It dims you slowly. It makes you cower back and hide. It doubts what is effortless. It questions what is known. It outsources its need for love, for peace, for safety.

People like to self-depreciate not because they understand the virtue of humility, but because it makes them more likable. It’s the cool kid thing to do. Joke about how you can’t adult, drink another glass of wine.

The point is that being a mess does not make you more likable, it makes you more pitied. The illusion here is that successful people incur the jealous criticism of those who are less successful, and unsuccessful people gain companionship, and they gain connection. This is only true if you’re hanging around the wrong people. 

You don’t have to qualify your accomplishments with the struggle it was to succeed; you don’t have to justify your happy relationship with how many years you spent waiting for it; you don’t have to give cause or reason or yang to yin when it comes to any part of your life.

You don’t have to emphasize your messiness to make you more likable. You don’t have to tear your heart to let people into it.

The people who you should keep in your life will honor and celebrate your victories with you, they won’t make you shrink yourself so you’re not too threatening to love.

If you have to become a lesser version of yourself to be accepted by someone, you aren’t really loved by them – you’re being used by them. When we truly love another person, we care about them like we do ourselves. Their joy is our joy. Their success makes us vicariously proud. When we’re keeping people around as placeholders, as faux-friends, their success is triggering.

At the end of the day, you need to realize that there’s a difference between being grounded and throwing yourself to the ground so that you think someone will like you more.

True humility is effortless. It is a product of taking into account your honest strengths and weaknesses. Self-depreciation is a move of manipulation. You only have to do it when you both think too highly of yourself, and not realistically of yourself at the same time.

Focus on actually liking yourself first. Honor the parts of you that need to be cleaned up. When you do that, you’ll feel less compelled to hide them. And when you feel less compelled to hide, you’ll be more inspired to share the truth of who you are. Not the story you have to tell people so you think they’ll shower you in praise, and affirm that you are good enough for them.

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