What to Do When Feeling Down

Are you feeling uninspired today? Does it seem that you are out of the flow? Are you feeling a bit down? I can relate. I’ve been living with a socked in psychological storm for the past few days. When I’m caught up in the storm, I begin to wonder if the sun will ever appear again. I find myself taking everything more seriously and personally. My inspiration dwindles. My resourcefulness appears unreachable. I forget the blue sky of my wellbeing. 

Can you relate? Do you notice that your focus narrows and negativity increases during those times? I find that I tend to be hyper-analytical, sensitive, and judgmental when I buy into the storm. How is it for you?

During those times, I am anywhere but the present moment. The storm has nothing whatsoever to do with this moment. In fact, when I bring myself back to right here, right now, I can’t find a thing wrong. There is no problem here.

The problem arises when I start spinning stories in my head. I jump aboard thoughts about the past and future. I tell myself that my past mistakes will surely be relived again and again. I tell myself that I’m not prepared for the future and never will be. I live inside my imagination about past and future. Neither is true but I experience it as if it were.

What are we to do when we are caught in a psychological storm? Amit Ray, an Indian author, says, “If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” When I sit still and bring my attention back to my breath, I catch glimpses of what Thich Nhat Hanh sees: “The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” 

My friend and colleague, Debbie Trent, who is a psychotherapist, recommends, “Get out and do something you love and know it will change when its ready.” I think she was pointing in the same direction as Thich Nhat Hanh. There is beauty and goodness everywhere but when we are caught in the storm, our negativity bias often kicks in which can veil the positive.

You and I could bring ourselves back to the present moment rather than living in the feeling of our imagined past and future. We could remind ourselves that this storm cloud will move along in time. We could stop fighting it as it is not a problem in the first place. We could relax a bit knowing that the blue sky of our wellbeing remains despite the storm.

No techniques, effort, or struggle are needed. Analysis and judgment are unnecessary. We don’t have to take the storm clouds personally or seriously. They’ve been here before. They will be here again. They will pass. They tell us nothing about who we truly are.

If we could pull out a bit and widen our perspective, we would see that the storm clouds always reside in the vastness of the sky. Our psychological storm clouds are the same. They reside in the vastness of our innate wellbeing. This is true whether or not we feel it in the moment. 

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well. For there is a Force of love moving through the Universe that holds us fast and will never let us go.
— St. Julian of Norwich (1342-1416)

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The Storm Will Pass, Live it Once

Rain dances on palm trees and puppies press against me. Wind blows storm clouds across ocean and land. A welcome reprieve from the heat. Rain drenches dry ground. Earth drinks in much needed moisture. Thunder claps. Puppy trembles. I soothe her. The storm will pass. It always does. Even now I see patches of blue sky.

Weather changes quickly at the ocean, often offering little warning. Storm clouds are much like psychological storms. Emotions arise suddenly and, too often, we are blindsided. We forget the blue sky of our true essence. Like the puppy trembling beside me, we worry that the storm will never end. We worry that we are in danger. We live the fear of our imagined future. We live it again and again. The puppy fears that the thunder will harm her. Maybe it will, maybe it won't but she is living as if it’s happening now. She’s living the imagined harm moment by moment, experiencing it repeatedly. All the while, she is safe and unharmed.

We are much the same, aren’t we? We fear an imagined future and we live it repeatedly as if it were true right now. We worry about an upcoming meeting or trip. We imagine conversations in our head. We imagine worse case scenarios. We imagine the inconvenience, the rejection, the failure, the stress, the exhaustion. We imagine it all and we feel it all, even when it isn’t actually happening.

My question to you is this, what would life be like if you lived it all only once. Just once. If you are dreading an upcoming meeting, what would it be like for you to drop your story about it and live the meeting once? What would it be like for you if you stopped imagining the upcoming conversation in your head and simply lived that conversation once?

Do you see what I mean? I have no idea how the conversation, trip, or situation will go. It may go perfectly or it may be a disaster but we only have to live it once, in the moment.

Here's what I’ve discovered: when I stop imagining how the trip, conversation, or situation might be, I’m able to face the situation with more clarity, resources, and energy than when I’ve worried myself to death about it. It usually turns out much differently than I had imagined and if it doesn’t, I only have to live it once.

This has been a game changer for me in many ways, from simple situations to more difficult situations. I remember when my dad got sick with cancer. I was worried how it would be, if I could handle it, and how awful things could get, especially since we’d never been close. It turns out that those two years were healing years for us. Against all odds, years of anger and disappointment dissipated and a tender love filled the void. It could have been just the opposite but why live it more than once?

I used to believe that if I worried about the future, I might be more prepared for it. I find the opposite to be true. When I worry, I become stressed, unclear, and less resourceful. I’m less prepared and less capable.

You see, the storm always passes. Let’s live the storm only once knowing the clear blue sky of our wellbeing always remains.

I always welcome and appreciate your comments. You can find the comment box below.


Schedule a Taster Session to learn more about coaching and how you could benefit. Carla's commitment is to help her clients overcome self-doubt and anxiety and return to confidence and peace in their everyday lives.


Misunderstandings in Relationships

It happens to all of us at one time or another. There is a misunderstanding. Feelings are hurt. Someone is offended. Defensiveness ensues. Tension is in the air. We may wonder what in the world happened.

It happened to me last week. I asked a question that was misunderstood. Someone felt hurt and angry. I, in turn, felt terribly defensive.

I wondered why it bothered me so much. It was all an innocent misunderstanding and yet I went down the rabbit hole of stressful, fearful thinking.

I realized that my ego took a hit, or so I told myself. I had to admit to myself that I have this carefully crafted persona that I desperately want to protect. I want people to see me in a certain way. I want to be seen as kind and good. My reaction only proved how very attached I am to the story that I must control what others think of me. No wonder I got so stressed. I’m attached to an impossible story.

I felt terribly helpless and powerless when my attempts to explain myself seemed to be disregarded. Maybe they were disregarded, maybe they weren’t. Maybe I just created a whole drama in my mind. I’m good at that.

I can look back on my life and see countless times when I created drama in my mind. I bought into those dramas hook, line, and sinker. They seemed so real to me. I suffered immensely. Looking back, I can see that they weren’t real. The drama was created when I bought into my stressful, fearful thinking.

We create our experiences via our thinking. I can see it so clearly now. Something happens, I create a story about it, and the story becomes my felt reality. It often has little to do with what’s actually happening. Pema Chodron says, “It’s not life that causes suffering, it’s our story about life—our interpretation—that causes so much distress.”

Why do I have this attachment to people seeing me as kind and good? I suppose I worry that I’ll be unloved and rejected if they don't. I forget that those are simply fear-thoughts that I have jumped aboard. They are old, baseless fears. The truth is, I have been unkind. I have lacked integrity. I have been unfair. There have been many folks who have loved and accepted me during those times despite it all.

Pema goes on to say, “We are all a mixture of aggression and loving-kindness, hard-heartedness and tender open-heartedness, small-mindedness and forgiving open mind. We are not a fixed, predictable, static identity that anyone can point to and say, ‘You are always like this. You are always the same. Life’s energy is never static. It is as shifting, fluid, changing as the weather. Sometimes we like how we’re feeling, sometimes we don’t. Then we like it again. Then we don’t. Happy and sad, comfortable and uncomfortable alternate continually. This is how it is for everyone.”

I feel a release and softening as I read Pema’s words. Thoughts and feelings come and go. Being human means not having a static identity. I am human. Misunderstandings are human. They don’t have to be a big deal. I don’t have to take it all so very personally and seriously. Freedom is only a thought away.

When we understand that we create our lives via our thinking and we each have different thoughts thus different reactions and realities, we can feel a sense of freedom and relief. We can find compassion for others and ourselves more easily. We no longer have to feel the victim, analyze others or ourselves to death, or try to explain ourselves over and over again. We can relax a bit and take it all less personally and less seriously. As we do, we become clearer, more grounded, and capable of responding in a kind and authentic way.

Don Miguel Ruiz says, "Don't Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.”

We don’t have to be afraid of our human experience, or others' experience. We can let the stressful fear-thoughts move along. We can return to the clear sky of our true essence which can never be harmed.

There is no drama here, only the drama in my own mind. What a relief.

I always welcome and appreciate your comments. You can find the comment box below.


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Why Do I feel Irritable and What Can I Do About It?

I awoke in an irritable mood this morning. My little toe hurt. A mosquito bit me between two other toes and it burned all night. My hip hurt. I was tired. It was my day to run and workout. I was worried about hurting my toe further. I didn’t want anything getting in the way of my hard-won workout groove.

I dragged my butt out and hit the trails. Pedro was being ultra slow with all his sniffing. I was being cautious with my toe. Something was in my shoe. I noticed my furrowed brow. I became curious.

Did I really wake up irritable? What is irritability? Can I parse out what’s happening here? Becoming more curious, I followed the irritation. I could see that I had certain sensations: itchy, burning, pressure. I could see that my energy was on the low end. Sensations and low energy. Is that irritability?

I could also see that it was a beautiful morning. Birdsong filled the forest. A lovely breeze played over the trees. I could smell a hint of salt in the air. Frogs ribbited. Turtles sunned. I was walking with my precious boy dog and my love but my attention was elsewhere.

It occurred to me that the irritation was nothing more than focused thoughts and the meaning I gave to the sensations and energy level. The sensations and energy were not a problem. They were neutral. They only seemed to be a problem when I attached a bunch of stressful thinking to them. “Here I’ve worked so hard to get in a good exercise pattern and my little toe is going to stop me.” “Why does something always happen to get in the way of my exercising!” “What’s wrong with me that I’m so irritable?” “My whole day will be ruined!” "Waaahh!" You could call that exponential thinking. Thinking upon thinking upon thinking. 

I could see clearly as I watched myself that the irritability was about my thinking, not about the sensations and energy. Once I saw it, I was able to take those thoughts less seriously and allow them to move through me. I was able to relax a bit and just be with the sensations and low energy without attaching all kinds of meaning to them. As I did that, the irritation began to subside. I could see that trying to positive-think my way into a better frame of mind wasn’t necessary. I could see that trying to “fix” the sensations and low energy wasn’t necessary.

As I removed the stories from the sensations and energy level, I could see that they were neutral. They weren’t a problem. Yes, I was cautious with my toe but I was no longer worried or stressed about it; I simply took care of it. Yes, Pedro was still trailing behind but it was no longer personal.

You see, we create our experience via our thinking. Sensations, energy, and draggy dogs are not a problem. It’s the stories, the meaning, the exponential thinking we attach to those sensations, energy, and draggy dogs that create our experience. I could not see this for decades. Now I can. Except, of course, when I can’t.

You may be thinking, OK, so it’s bad to be irritatable and I should try to stop it. Well, no, it’s not a problem feeling irritable, afraid, or low but you don’t have to make negative meaning out of it. You don’t have to feed it. You don't have act on it. And it is not you. But, guess what? If you do feed it, that’s not a problem either. It just means that you are going to feel it more strongly. If you feed irritability, you will feel irritable. That’s how the human system is designed to work. Your system is working perfectly.

As you allow the thoughts of irritability to move along, the feelings of irritability will flow with them. If not this moment, then the next. If not today, then tomorrow or the next day. I can't tell you when they will move along, only that they will. That's what thoughts and feelings do. There is no need to be worried about them. As you allow them to flow, you may notice that they aren't as sticky. You may notice that you can hear the birds singing from time to time or catch yourself smiling at your animal friend or child.

Like clouds parting and forming, parting and forming, so are thoughts and feelings. The clear sky of your wellbeing is always present despite the clouds. You can count on it.

I always welcome and appreciate your comments. You can find the comment box below.


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Schedule a Taster Session to learn more about coaching and how you could benefit. Carla's commitment is to help her clients overcome self-doubt and anxiety and return to confidence and peace in their everyday lives.


Dealing with Suicidal Thoughts or Low Feelings

A couple of big names were in the news this past week. Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain committed suicide days apart. People are talking about it. I began wondering about the other 850+ non-famous people who’ve committed suicide this week alone. I’d like to know their names. I’d like to remember them, too.

The CDC says that the suicide rate in the US has increased more than 25% since 1999. 1999 was my darkest year. Suicide had become a viable option for me. In February of 2000, I went to the brink and ended up in the ER, then intensive care. I know what it’s like to feel hopeless. I know what it’s like to believe that there is no way out of the despair. I know what it’s like to be consumed by shame and fear. If only I had known that the desperate thoughts and feelings would pass. If only I had known that I was resilient and whole despite how it all seemed. If only Kate, Anthony, and countless other people had known.

This is why I do the work I do. I want people to know. I want them to know that desperate thoughts and feelings pass. I want them to know that they are not those thoughts and feelings. I want them to know their own wellbeing and resilience.

You see, no matter how it may seem at this very moment, you are whole. You have innate wellbeing and resiliency. It may be that no one has ever told you. It may be that you’ve been told all your life that you are broken. It may be that you’ve come to believe it. I believed it. That belief was devastating. No matter how it looks to you at this moment, you are not broken; you only believe that you are. That belief is causing you tremendous suffering. Your essence cannot be broken. If you listen deeply, you may feel the truth of this, if only for a nanosecond. It’s no less true if you can’t.

Listen, it’s OK if you don’t believe it. I’ll believe it for you until you can. I believe it with all my heart. I believe in you. I see your light. I see your wholeness. If you can’t, it’s OK. It makes it no less true. You’ve only forgotten. You could remember at any moment. These desperate thoughts and feelings will pass. They will. That’s what thoughts and feelings do. They are not you. They are not permanent.

When we are in the throes of the devasting thoughts and emotions, they feel utterly and overwhelmingly real. They are supposed to feel real, that’s how this human system works. I get it. I understand. I’ve been there. All the way down. Sometimes it’s at the very bottom that we get a taste of who we really are, of our divinity. Over the Rhine has a line in their song, Nobody Number One, that I love: “I’m so far down, I’m beginning to breathe”. That’s what happened to me. I went all the way down and it was there that I found I could breathe. It was there that I touched my essence.

Sydney Banks, a philosopher and writer, said: “If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.” I believe it. I was so afraid of feeling down. I was so afraid of feeling shame. I was so afraid of feeling alone. I was so afraid of feeling afraid. I did not know that I could have touched it all more lightly. I did not know that I could have taken them less seriously and personally. I did not know that they were not me. I did not know that they would pass. Despite not knowing, they passed anyway but I kept them alive for much longer than necessary and I suffered greatly as a result. Now I know that thoughts, feelings, and circumstances pass. Now I know that I don’t have to take them so very personally and seriously. Now I know that I can find my way through. This is possible for you, too. It is.

If you are feeling suicidal:

  1. Reach out for support. I’d be happy to have a conversation with you or you could call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255
  2.  Remind yourself, whether or not you can feel it, that you are whole. You are resilient. You are made of star-stuff. You are divinity. If you can't remind yourself, find someone who can.
  3. Remember that thoughts and feelings want to move through you. That’s what they do. They are not permanent. They are not you. Imagine watching them pass without attaching to them. They cannot hurt you. You could think of them as a dream that you will wake up from or a fantastically immersive movie that will end.
  4. Instead of adding to the desperate thoughts and feelings with more thought and analysis, you could bring your attention back into the present moment. Feel your body in your chair. Feel how that chair supports you. Notice your breath, the inhale, the exhale. You are created for this present moment, not a future or past moment. Bring your attention back to this very moment. 
  5. You could notice that even in the midst of the despair, a puppy, an unexpected smile from a stranger, the wind caressing your skin can still make you smile at times. That could be a reminder to you that thoughts and feelings come and go. Notice it or you may miss it.
  6. Remind yourself that countless people have found their way through. You can, too. I could never have imagined 20 years ago how good life could be for me and how much like a distant and fading dream those desperate years feel to me now. Don’t give up. You are resilient. There is a way through this.
  7. Reach out for support. Yes, some things need to be said twice. Humans are relational beings. If no one around you is supportive then call the hotline or contact me. There are those who want to help.

As you wake up to who you truly are, you will find your way. Get support from someone who knows you have innate well-being and who will point you back to your essence, to your own light. That's where you will find your resilience, clarity, and peace. There is hope. There is hope.

This song brings tears to my eyes because I can breathe again and I wasn't sure that was going to be possible 20 years ago. There is hope.

I always welcome and appreciate your comments. You can find the comment box below.


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Schedule a Taster Session to learn more about coaching and how you could benefit. Carla's commitment is to help her clients overcome self-doubt and anxiety and return to confidence and peace in their everyday lives.


Can I Change Someone I Love?

I had a conversation with friends this weekend that had us all very thoughtful. We were talking about the people in our lives who struggle with addictions of one sort or another. Every one of us in that conversation has had someone close to us caught in desperate addiction. It’s difficult seeing someone we love throwing away their lives, or so it seems. We wondered if it’s possible to change someone we love and what to do if we can’t.

I’ve been on both sides of the addiction issue. My beautiful mother was an alcoholic and I went to the mat with alcohol myself during my break-down break-through. I almost didn’t survive it and I know people who haven’t. It can be excruciatingly painful to watch someone we love in the throes of it all. It can be terrifying not knowing if they will make it through to the other side. We can become desperate to change them just as I was desperate to change my mother.

As my friends and I were talking, I told them that I was surprised to find that the only thing I truly regret since my mother’s death, is that I tried to change her. If I could have one conversation with my mother today, it would be to apologize for that. It would be to tell her how differently I see it all now. How differently I see her now.

You see, I don’t believe it’s possible to change another person. I believe that change comes from within. Always. I believe that when we attempt to change another, we set ourselves up for even more suffering and I don’t believe it’s particularly helpful to the other person.

In my desperation to change my mother, I had all kinds of expectations that I put on myself and on her. I felt tremendous angst and pressure, from myself, to help her. She felt pressure to change for me and other family members, but the change she attempted was not from within her so it didn’t last. Change happens through insight, not from outside pressure or expectations.

I can remember the church trying to change me. I remember feeling tremendous pressure and then shame when I couldn’t change or sustain the change they wanted. I remember the few close friends near me during my break-down break-through who were pressuring me, innocently, to change. I couldn’t do it… until I could, and that came through insight, not from pressure. The shame I felt was partly why I couldn’t change. I couldn’t see my innate wellbeing. That’s no one’s fault but my own but it’s part of what was going on for me at the time. I know mama felt shame.

You see, when we are consumed by shame, we forget that we have innate wellbeing. We forget that we are not broken. We forget our resilience. We lose touch with ourselves and that is devastating. When that happens, some of us go down the path of addiction. Some of us go down the path of anger and manipulation. Some of us go down the path of depression and anxiety. Some of us go down the path of self-righteousness. There are many paths.

So, what can we do if someone won’t change? I believe that all we can do is love them. Love them without expectation. Love them without judgment. Love them without the demand that they change. Love them from your place of wellbeing, knowing that they, too, have wellbeing, even if you or they can’t see it right now.

That does not mean that you stay in harm’s way. That does not mean that you don’t have boundaries. That does not mean that you don’t take care of yourself. That does not mean that you don’t offer support if that seems the thing to do. That’s not to say that if someone commits a crime we just let them go on their merry way. It may mean we lock them up for everyone’s safety but what if instead of seeing them as criminal, we see them as whole and forgetting their wholeness? How might we treat them differently? How might we support them? What if we saw the addict as whole? 

I believe that the most helpful thing we can do for another is to trust them on their path, even if their path looks destructive to us. I had two people during my darkest times who absolutely trusted me and loved me despite how it all appeared. They reflected back to me my innate wellbeing and wholeness. I don’t know if anyone did that for mama. It made a difference.

What if we did that for one another? What if we reflected back to those around us who are in desperate straits, pure love and acceptance? What if we reflected back to them their wellbeing and resilience? Look, it’s no one’s responsibility to save or change another. It’s our responsibility to change ourselves and we can do that when we remember our innate wellbeing. And by remembering that those we love have innate wellbeing, too, then we can offer support and love without expectation and demands.

Everyone is on their own personal journey. We cannot understand what another is going through. We cannot possibly know what’s best for them. 

We cannot possibly know what's best for them.

Yes, I said that twice and it may need to be said repeatedly. All we can do is love them.

I know firsthand that what I’m saying could sound simplistic and naïve. It is simple but it’s not necessarily easy, especially when we aren’t in touch with our own wellbeing. Just do the best you can. Open with love and try to stay with love. You know when you’re coming from love and when you’re not. Love is not controlling, manipulative, anxious, coercive, self-righteous, or judgmental.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." I Corinthians 13:4-8


Schedule a Taster Session to learn more about coaching and how you could benefit. Carla's commitment is to help her clients move from anxiety and self-doubt to confidence and inspiration in their everyday lives.


How to Find Peace When the World is Falling Apart

I sent out a survey a couple of weeks ago asking folks about their main life stressors. Some folks are concerned about the state of the world, both politically and environmentally. They are feeling anxiety and deep sadness, as well as a sense of powerlessness. I understand.

When I get caught up in political divisiveness and all the ills of the world, I can get sucked down the rabbit hole of despair, too. I can feel overwhelmed and powerless, also. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to become completely absorbed and riddled with anxiety.

Nicole Bird is a wonderful, insightful coach whom I follow. This morning she sent out a brilliant blog post called, What Facebook Has to Teach Us About Anxiety. I hope you'll take a couple of minutes to read her post. In a nutshell, she is comparing our thoughts to our Facebook feed. Facebook is constantly updating our feed and, whatever we click on, Facebook gives us more like it. If I click on despair, I’ll get more despair. If I click on divisiveness, I’ll get more divisiveness. If I click on puppies, I'll get more puppies!

This is how our thoughts work, too. Whichever thoughts we “click on” become the thoughts that show up in our mind’s “feed” more often. If I want to feel less anxiety and more inspiration, then I need to stop clicking on the stressful thoughts and let them move along. No need to fight, control, or change them, rather, stop clicking and let them move on. The algorithms of my mind will show them less often when I stop clicking on them. This understanding is important regarding Facebook algorithms and our minds’ algorithms as it relates to finding peace and making a difference in the world because what we click on becomes our felt reality. 

So, you want to make a difference but you feel anxious, sad, or a trembling outrage. My question to you is this: What would happen if you stopped consuming the articles of horror? What would happen if you’d let your nervous system calm down a bit from the constant onslaught? What would happen if you tapped into your innate resilience and wellbeing and recognized the same in those around you? How might you show up differently in the world? What would become clear to you about your role in a world full of injustice? Of course, you can't possibly know as long as you are caught in the onslaught.

When we are consumed with overwhelm, fear, or rage, I believe our effectiveness is severely diminished. I remember at the time of my deepest depression, 20 years ago, I sat on the couch for weeks at a time watching the Kosovo War on television. I watched for hours a day becoming more and more depressed and despairing. The depression and despair rendered me absolutely incapable of effectual action. You see, I couldn’t do a damn thing about the Kosovo War. I truly couldn’t. But by going down the rabbit hole of despair and becoming consumed with what I couldn’t do, I was unable to see the difference I could make in the world. Instead, I did nothing. Instead, I became what consumed me.

When we become overwhelmed with the outrageous injustices in the world by our constant “clicking” (which we do innocently), we lose sight of all the good in the world (there is plenty!) and we lose sight of what we can do in the face of injustices. When we are consumed with guilt, overwhelm, rage, or apathy, we lose sight that we can make a difference and how. When we stop clicking on horror articles and thoughts, we can settle down, let the barrage clear, and connect with our innate wisdom. We can connect with the good, the true, and the beautiful which will buoy us. From that place, we can see what action is needed and how to take it. We may even find joy.

We can make a difference. Mother Teresa said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” We could feed the one. We could feed the one. It makes a difference. It makes a difference to that one and it makes a difference to the world. If we could understand that we don’t have to save the world, then maybe we’d be free to feed the one. Imagine.

When we stop clicking on the stressful articles and stressful thoughts, our innate wellbeing and peace can surface again. From that place, we could change the world.

If you'd like to take the survey I mentioned at the beginning, you can find it here. Your answers give me ideas for writing meaningful blog posts and I would appreciate your time.



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Schedule a Taster Session to learn more about coaching and how you could benefit. Carla's commitment is to help her clients move from anxiety and self-doubt to confidence and inspiration in their everyday lives.

How to Let Go of Self-Doubt

I’ve been reflecting on my clients and on many folks whom I know. I’ve noticed that many people struggle with self-doubt and lack of confidence even though they are clearly smart, capable, creative, and resourceful.

The theme of self-doubt emerges repeatedly. I see it all around me. Self-doubt can lead to all manner of symptoms: lack of confidence, anxiety, depression, insomnia, under-earning, over spending, weight gain, diminished creativity, relational conflict, isolation, distraction, and much more. Can you relate? I see folks who are brilliant, shining lights who hide that light. They suffer as a result and the rest of the world misses out on their brilliance.

Looking back, I can see how true it has been for me, too. I call myself a late bloomer because I lacked confidence for so much of my life. Shame and anxiety were crippling at times. I was capable, smart, and resourceful all along, yet, I continually doubted myself. I didn’t trust myself. I didn’t believe I was OK. Until recent years.

My mama was a bright light who faded out over the years and I believe so much of that was because of her self-doubt. I think her fading light has been a huge motivator for me to figure out this self-doubt issue.

I see it in other folks, too. They have a multitude of gifts to offer the world but hold back because of self-doubt. Hiding, dimming their light. So many live unfulfilled lives devoid of the deep meaning they desire and are capable of living. Do you experience this? I understand. I’ve lived it.

When I reflect on how I have been able to move through the self-doubt, two things come to mind. One, I have always had someone come alongside me to offer guidance. Someone who believed in me. Someone who saw my light and reflected it back to me. Not perfectly, mind you, but enough for me to catch a glimpse of my true essence. I do this for my clients. I reflect back to them the light I see in them. I reflect back to them their brilliance. It’s easy to do because it’s so clear to me.

Two, I have come to understand how we create our realities. I used to think that life happened to me and I had to manage, conquer, control, avoid, or suffer it. Boy, did I suffer. Now, I understand that at our essence, we are whole. We’re OK! As Pema Chodron says, you are the sky, everything else is just the weather.

I also understand that we create our reality via our thinking. We cannot control our thoughts but we can turn our attention away from them or towards them. The thoughts we buy into, we feel, thereby creating our reality. I bought into the self-doubt thoughts and they defined my life for decades. I totally experienced it as if I were it. That’s how this human system is designed. We feel what we think. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Self-doubt is a thought we buy into. Innocently. By buying into it, it feels incredibly real, as it is supposed to feel. When we regard it as real, we find all kinds of “proof” that it is true. My “proof”? Bankruptcy, foreclosure, struggles with alcohol, failed relationships, and more. These things appeared to support my self-doubt. In truth, these things were not proof that I wasn’t capable, rather they were the result of me buying into self-doubt. I acted or didn’t act from a place of self-doubt rather than from a place of clarity, wellbeing, and wisdom, all of which are innate.

There is always a new thought on the horizon. We get to choose which thoughts we will feed and which we will leave alone. If we leave them alone, they will pass. Neuroscience shows the truth of this. When we trend a neural pathway repeatedly, it becomes all the more ingrained. The minute we stop treading it, it grows over.

This is fantastic news! I no longer have to buy into my thoughts of self-doubt. When I don’t buy into them, the self-doubt pathway grows over just as an untrod path in the woods grows over. I don’t have to take thoughts of self-doubt personally or seriously anymore and neither do you. It’s not that we won’t have them, it’s that we no longer have to entertain them. They are no longer the enemy, rather, they are neutral, no longer having power over us.

How does this work practically? Well, let’s say you’ve come up with an idea that you’ve never attempted before or you’re facing an extremely challenging situation. It feels completely out of your wheel house. Without the understanding that your true essence is whole and that you create your reality via your thinking, you may begin to worry that you won’t be OK. You might begin to attach to the thoughts that tell you you’re not capable, that you’re not smart enough to find your way, that others won’t understand, that you will surely fail. Your thinking revs up. I'm sure you know exactly what I mean. You begin spinning stories. Your thinking exponentially multiplies and you may find yourself utterly overwhelmed and paralyzed as a result.

When you understand that your wellbeing is innate and cannot be harmed, you are more likely to try new things and to find your way through challenging situations with more ease. When you allow your thinking to settle down, you have more clarity to move forward. You are no longer afraid to experiment. You feel more confidence. But even if you do feel fear, you don’t take it as seriously and personally. It becomes neutral. You’re clear, settled. If you're not, you know to wait. Once settled, you can see your next step when you need it. Always.

You get to experiment. You get to create. You get to give your gifts. You can trust your resilience, resourcefulness, and wellbeing. They've been there all along.

I'd love to hear how it is for you. Leave a comment in box below. I'd be delighted.


Schedule a Taster Session to learn more about coaching and how you could benefit. Carla's commitment is to help her clients return to a place of confidence and inspiration.


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