She leaned forward and said, “Don’t you see yourself as a leader?”
I said, “Oh yes. I do, yes.”
But no. Yes and no.
This woman I admired looked at me and pointed out my strengths, telling me what she saw for my future, and I nodded, flattered but also panicked.
I’m a fraud, I’m a fraud, I’m a fraud!
That’s how my head works: I believe and don’t believe. I aim high and then hide in case my shots come crashing back down on my head.
This has gone on for a lifetime. I battle it daily, to stop running, to step into my bigness, to be bold, to rise up.
I know this isn’t just me, that many women experience this, even if they haven’t had the kind of past I have. Even if things are going really, really well, they can still feel like a fraud. Any minute now, someone will see. Any minute now, someone will look at you and tell you to get out, you fraud, you faker!
But, in recent months, I’ve been hearing this call: Rise up. Own your power.
New words, different than the ones that try to call me out as fake, a fraud, stupid, worthless. This new call is a challenge, but it is also truth telling me that I am already powerful — to own it, to rise up and own it.
Several people have been consistently speaking truth into my life. The same message over and over: you are powerful. I have meekly shaken my head, eyes downcast, but with time, I have heard the words more clearly, and I have lifted my chin and raised my eyes to meet these words.
There has always been a side of me that believes I am powerful, strong, and smart. The lies of too many in my past became the lies I carried on with long after those other voices no longer had access to my heart.
I penned these words for a reason:
There’s a huge difference between “something is wrong with me” and “something wrong happened to me.”
I’ve understood the difference and yet have not always felt the difference.
Now I do.
I am strong. I am able. I am powerful.
I don’t think it’s a quick, easy shift. It’s repeating often that I was made to be powerful, to rise up, to be ME. I am talented enough, smart enough, and powerful enough to stop running and hiding. I am not faking it. It is actually real now.
Maybe next week, I’ll have to rise up all over again, and that’s OK. I am challenged daily by life, and to grow means to keep rising. So, I will rise again.
Wherever you are on this path to healing and reclamation of self, I encourage you to rise up and own your power. Once upon a time, someone told you lies and tried to take your power. But you still have it. Release yourself from the lies of yesterday and lean into the truth of today: you are strong, and you are able, and you are powerful.