My New Happy: I Belong - A Tale Of Believing In Yourself

Monday, November 19, 2018

I Belong - A Tale Of Believing In Yourself

I don't belong.

Those were the words I told myself as I traveled to LA to attend FierceCon 2018 last month.  I repeated them as I arrived at the airport and called an Uber.  They flashed through my head when I pulled up to the hotel and stepped through the front doors.

After checking in, I met Catherine and the rest of the members of the admin team.  I still felt unsure.  Not because they weren't completely lovely and welcoming.  This is a group of beautiful, kind, successful, accomplished women.  And really, that was the problem.  They are all those things.  And I didn't belong.

I have struggled with low self-esteem for as long as I can remember.  Much of it stems from my childhood.  And while I thought it was dealt with and long resolved, many of my issues came roaring back with the death of my father and the reality of the empty nest.  However, I don't want those experiences to define me.  I know that I'm holding myself prisoner with my limiting beliefs. I truly feel the only person I can change is myself.  So I'd been working on things, with limited success...clearly, not enough.

Signing up to be on the "hugging committee" for the opening night gala seemed like the right thing to do.  I wanted each woman walking through the door to feel welcomed and special, and I knew it would ensure that I met everyone.  But once that job was over, I found myself standing back rather than mingling and having fun.  I felt at a loss, afraid to approach people and start a conversation.  Later that night, back in my room, I was so disappointed in myself.  I'd been looking forward to this weekend for months, but was falling back into old habits.  I didn't belong.

On Saturday morning, I headed downstairs, with all of my shields up, ready to "protect" myself.   From what, I don't know.  I had no idea how much would change by the end of the day.  We started with an hour of meditation led by a master, davidji.  Slowing down, breathing in and out, listening to davidji, I felt the slightest release of my armor. 

And then the magic happened.  Catherine had scheduled two "beachside chat" panels for the afternoon.   During each session, five women shared their stories with us.  Here were the beautiful, accomplished women who had seemed so intimidating to me the night before.  And every one of them had their own  story to share.  Tales of difficulty, loss, courage, strength, and reinvention.  Feelings of fear, insecurity, not being good enough, wondering where to go next in life.  I was captivated and inspired.  

As the stories continued, I felt my armor continue to slip.  At lunch I chatted with some new friends, and decided to share a bit of my own life story.  I was surprised and touched when they expressed how they saw me.  Why couldn't I see the same when I looked in the mirror? 

Slowly, I began to realize that the difference between myself and these incredible women is that they believe in themselves.  They know in their heart that they are beautiful, worthy, strong and capable.  They're not perfect, they stumble now and again, but they always come back to that belief.

I felt a little like the Grinch, because my heart grew a million sizes that day.  My mind opened up to these women and this experience.  Did I suddenly become the life of the party? No.  Was I still insecure and unsure of myself?  Absolutely.  But the work has really, truly, finally begun.

In the group picture at the very top of this post, you can see me, hiding in the back left corner, where I always put myself.  Next year, I promise to be in the front row.  And maybe I'll be part of a beachside chat, sharing the story of how far I've come and what I've accomplished, all because I put the shields down and finally believed in myself.

I belong.

For a fantastic recap of the weekend that was FierceCon2018, read Jodie's post here.  And to join the Forever Fierce Revolution, go here.


  1. I'm so glad you took this step of courage and headed to this conference. It is so crazy how our view of ourselves is often nowhere near what others see in us. I struggle with so many of these same things Lana! Thanks for sharing your heart.

  2. Our minds are crazy- also you're the coolest person to hang out with.

  3. I'm holding you to that Lana....I'm going to find you for the photo and drag you to the front. Right where you belong. Next to me.
    Love you, adore you and sending you hugs and more hugs!!!
    Jodie me when I say I was like you before. You can read about it Friday on Instagram. but change is good....

  4. Got a little teary when reading your story... I, too, struggle with similar self esteem issues most likely linked to childhood of being the youngest of five siblings and feelings of not being enough.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. This sounds like such a wonderful weekend for you and I'm glad by the end of the weekend you relaxed and really got something out of it! I want to see you in the front next time with your glowing smile! :)


  6. I hide in the back row too. And it's been a long and arduous journey to believing in myself. I really believe that the steps are small but powerful.
    You are equal with all those women, and they could have been intimidated by you too!

  7. Awww friend, if only you could see and FEEL what we all see in you. I love that you went there and got so much out of it, and you were a part of the hugging committee, that is amazing. I love that they had that!

  8. What a powerful post and you nailed it - what holds us back is what's in our head - not our brains but the messages we give ourselves, over and over again. On a cognitive level I know this and believe it but I'll tell ya the truth. I'd be so intimidated in a group of accomplished women! That is something I need to do though = put myself in that situation and see that we are all so alike. I'd love to be at that gathering some day!
    I appreciate your sharing and honesty Lana!!!
    Happy Thanksgiving sweet friend!

  9. I see you, your strength, beauty, and courage. I am a bit teary reading this as I resonate with so many of those feelings. Thank you for sharing and allowing us to do the same.

  10. Lana, you are all of us what a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your story. We are sisters on different coasts. I'm so happy you were there and we had a chance to meet in "real life".

  11. Thank you for this truthful and heartfelt post. I totally adore you and your honesty. You belong friend and so valuable...more than you know.


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