Stop Underestimating Yourself

Stop Underestimating Yourself

Sheryl Sandberg was a fraud.

She was chief operating officer at Facebook. Forbes had named her the 5th most powerful woman in the world—even above former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Yet she was plagued by the feeling that it had all been a big mistake.

She knew she wasn’t any more special than anyone else. She’d been lucky. She’d gotten a lot of help along the way.

Sandberg shares this story in her 2013 bestseller Lean In to show women that it’s not uncommon to feel like you don’t deserve success.

That feeling even has a name:

Imposter syndrome.

Can you relate? Consider these questions.

Do you find it difficult to accept a compliment?

Do you feel as if other people think highly of you because they don’t really know you?

Have you turned down opportunities because you don’t feel qualified enough?

Do you worry that you’re going to make a huge mistake one day, and everyone will see that you don’t really know what you’re doing?

If you earn a promotion or win an award, do you react by wondering if it has all been a mistake and they didn’t really mean to pick you?

Do you downplay everything you’ve accomplished?

Imposter syndrome can get confused with humility, the virtue of being realistic about your own self-importance. No one wants to come across as arrogant or big-headed. It’s easier to relate to people when you make it clear that you don’t think you’re any better than they are.

But being realistic about your own self-importance doesn’t mean putting yourself down. You may not be better than everyone else, but you’re still special—because we’re all special. You don’t have to make yourself small to stay humble.

Sandberg believes that women are particularly susceptible to imposter syndrome. For example, have you ever noticed that even beautiful, accomplished women wonder what a man would see in them … while even unattractive, unappealing men assume that a supermodel might be interested in them?

Understanding where you consistently underestimate yourself can help your love life enormously.

To illustrate how, let’s look at two women. Pay attention to which one resonates with you the most.

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You Can Feel More Confident

You Can Feel More Confident

You’re on a first date with someone you met online.

You’re sitting across from him, talking and laughing, but part of you is on edge. You can’t relax. You haven’t been able to relax since you got into the car to drive here.

You normally don’t worry what anyone thinks of you, but dates are different. When you go out on a date, that’s ALL you think about.

What does he think of you?

What’s he seeing when he looks at you?

What judgments is he making about you?

Because you don’t have a spyglass that can peer inside his head and read his thoughts, all you can do is guess how he’s judging you. Thoughts run through your head:

I look tired. I shouldn’t have worn this dress. I can’t believe I broke out yesterday; I look like a teenager. That was a stupid thing to say. I’m hogging the conversation. I hope he doesn’t ask me how long I’ve been dating.

During the entire date, two conversations are going on:

The ACTUAL conversation between the two of you…

And the conversation in your head about what you THINK he’s thinking.

Maybe you’re unusually perceptive, but I can tell you one thing:

None of us have any clue what’s going on inside another person’s mind. Especially if we don’t know them very well!

Guessing his thoughts is an exercise in futility.

The energy you spend trying to guess what he’s thinking is energy that would be better spent enjoying the present moment.

But that urge to keep a running monologue of everything he might find fault with is powerful. You’re never as self-conscious as when you’re meeting a potential romantic partner for the first time.

So how do you drop the negative self-talk and enjoy the date? Here are 3 tips.

Tip #1. Recognize where those thoughts are coming from.

You think you know what he sees when he looks at you.

He sees the same thing you see when you look in the mirror, right?


The way you see yourself bears little resemblance to how you’re seen by others.

It all comes down to a psychological concept known as projection.

Because none of us know what other people are thinking, all we can do is imagine what we’d be thinking in their circumstances.

We project our own thoughts onto other people.

You think he is judging you for looking older or being curvy or having a few spots, but in reality YOU are judging yourself for those things.

You’re projecting the voice of your inner critic onto him.

Women who love and accept themselves, who’ve gone through the tough inner work of confronting their inner critic, don’t feel as judged.

They’re better able to enjoy a date, because they’re not worrying about their faults.

Tip #2. Take him at face value.

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It’s All His Fault

It’s All His Fault

When everything goes wrong in your life, you know who to blame.

It’s him.  😊

If he had been more supportive when you came home and told him about the problem you were having at work, you wouldn’t have been so upset. You’d probably be having a nice evening right now.

But he just grunted, “Uh huh, so what else is new?” No wonder you’re locked in the bedroom sobbing your eyes out. It’s all because of him.

If he were more responsible, you wouldn’t be hopping on one leg grasping your foot in agony. The only reason you stepped on that sharp remote was because he never helps around the house.

You have half a mind to tell him to take his mess and find another mother to pick up after him. If your foot swells and you can’t wear your favorite heels tomorrow, you know who to blame.

Coming to that conclusion makes you feel better.

There’s something perversely comforting about realizing your partner is responsible for all the problems in your life.

The world is full of irritations you can’t control. But as long as you can see your partner’s face on every one, you can maintain the illusion that yelling at him accomplishes something.

It’s remarkable. The people we profess to love the most get the brunt of our anger.

It’s a backhanded gift. By letting down our guard and displaying our more unpleasant emotions freely, we show our partners how much trust we have in them. We know they won’t leave us.

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The Most Powerful Way to Hook a Man (And He’s Probably Using It on You!)

The Most Powerful Way to Hook a Man (And He’s Probably Using It on You!)

There’s this guy.

He’s so exciting to be with. You always have the best time together.

Even though you’re normally able to relax and be yourself around men, something about this guy makes you want to impress him.

And because you get the feeling he isn’t impressed by many women, you want to be the one who lingers in his mind like a fragrance he can’t forget.

So you end up doing things you wouldn’t ordinarily do. Trying to be more flirtatious or sassy or aloof than you really are.

Sometimes he responds with great pleasure and enthusiasm. Other times, it’s as if he doesn’t even register.

Every so often—not often enough for you to worry about it, but often enough to notice—you catch a slight hint of annoyance. As if he’d be enjoying himself more if you were someone else … if you weren’t YOU.

It catches you off guard. You think he likes you, but does he? Is he just enjoying your company because he enjoys the company of women and you’re a woman?

Or does he see what’s special about you and appreciate it? It’s hard to know.

You consider yourself a fairly independent woman, so it’s weird when you find yourself obsessing over this guy. You don’t even know if you want a relationship with him. Why do you care so much about his opinion of you?

Then it happens.

Friday night comes up, and he hasn’t contacted you to talk about the weekend. You’ve done something together every single weekend for the past month. You try to play it cool by not contacting him. But the entire weekend feels strange. What is he doing? Why didn’t he text?

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