The Nasty Lie I Tell Myself.

My entire life I have struggled with feeling stupid.

Dumb.

Not smart.

My entire life.

As a kid. As a teen. As an adult. During my drinking years and during my recovery years and even when I stood in front of 2,000 people after achieving 3 diplomas in 3 years and accepting the award for the highest achievement at my College at the age of 33.

Even when I published my first book;

And when I launched my first online course;

Even when I present in front of audiences who have chosen to hear me speak;

And after running a highly successful, unique and innovative wellness expo in Ottawa--The Healthy Brain and Body Show.

Even though I receive messages daily from people telling me I have changed their lives for the better, I still hear that voice telling me I am stupid.

Dumb.

Not smart.

Certainly not as smart as other people.

I realize this is a nasty little lie I have told myself since I was a child.

I am fully awake to the fact that believing I am stupid is a limiting belief and that it is simply not true.

And yet, time and time again, despite evidence to the contrary, I don't feel smart.

It doesn't matter where it all started or why these messages continue to try and force themselves into my reality. 

What does matter is how I am pushing back on this belief and how I am choosing to use this information in my life now.

First, I challenge the message. I don't take it at face value the way I did as a kid, where I simply wouldn't apply myself or push myself or work to my potential (a note from every teacher since the second grade) because I believed I wasn't smart enough. Or I believed it wouldn't make a difference to try. Now, I ask the voice who is telling me I can't do whatever it is I want to do, "Who says I'm not smart enough to do this?" And I hear the answer come, quietly, "No one." And I keep that message with me as I move forward with my plans.

Second, I make a conscious effort to set aside my belief and I look at what it is I want to learn or accomplish and I go about doing whatever it takes to achieve my goals; whether that means aligning with the right people or else learning a new skill.

Third, I set aside my pride--and my ego. By asking questions. A LOT of questions. Even when asking questions sees people raising their eyebrows and looking at me as if I am the DUMBEST person on earth. When this happens, I simply have to tell myself that this says more about them than it does about me. It tells me that what they are doing is what's known in psychology as "leveling"; inflating their ego by putting me down.

I choose to behave differently. When people ask ME questions, I make sure I don't make them feel dumb for asking. Why?

Because I know that when people ask me a question, they are being vulnerable. They are trusting me with this gift of a question. They are admitting that they don't know something and that they are open to hearing my thoughts on the subject. The LAST thing they need is for me to look at them and say, "You don't KNOW that??!! Wow!!..."

I am SMART enough to know that I CAN'T know EVERYTHING! And neither can anyone else! There simply isn't even time to know all there is to know on every single subject.

I also know that I have knowledge in a lot of areas that other people don't. And THAT doesn't make THEM stupid. It gives me a purpose in the world and in their lives.

I realize that by pretending to be an "expert" in every area, I would seem completely foolish, and so I have begun to embrace that I will never know everything about everything. I have accepted that I may not even know a little about some things.

But I do know some things about some things; more about others, and I have embraced the fact that life is filled with constant opportunities for learning. If we choose to learn.

So, do you want to talk about business strategy? Yes, please!

How about goal-setting or time-management or pushing beyond your limiting beliefs (because I do it EVERY DAY!)? NOW we're talking!

What about addiction and sobriety and hitting a rock bottom on life? These are my kind of conversations.

Or what about cooking easy meals? Or practicing self-care? Or the truth about sugar? Or creating a life you love? YES, YES, YES, YES!!!

How about writing a book? Or organizing an event? Or shooting a video? Or writing a blog?

Yeah, let's have some really good talks about this stuff.

Because I have expertise in these areas. I have things to share and ideas that might truly help you.

And I want to do that. Most of the reason for this blog is to share my stories so that you can use the content or see yourself in my words, or simplify your life with one of my suggestions.

So if YOU feel you aren't as smart as other people. If YOU feel like you don't measure up. If YOU feel dumb or stupid or not smart, remember two things; First, it is a LIE. Because we don't need EVERYONE to know everything about everything!

But we CAN learn anything we want to learn, creating new neural pathways in our brains, which sets us up to learn even more. Our intelligence is not finite...it is INFINITE!!!

And two, we all get to choose where we want to place our attention in life, and often that means focusing on only a few areas.

Does it mean you should ONLY stay in your lane and never stretch and grow? NO!

But should you feel stupid for not knowing as much about a topic as someone else who has made it their career or who is passionate about the subject and spends 80% of their time on it? NO.

The world needs YOU.

The person YOU are meant to be. With the interests and passion and purpose that is YOURS.

I have stopped trying to "keep up" with anyone else. But over the years since getting sober, I have consistently pushed myself so that I increase my intelligence, expand my experiences and develop and strengthen my brain.

I want the same for you, especially if you struggle with this issue like I do.

DECIDE that you are intelligent and smart and not dumb and that you can learn anything you want to learn. And then set about trying something new! 

I recommend reading the book "Mindset" by Carol Dweck and following her work. She teaches that with the right mindset, we can achieve anything we want; and learn all that we want to learn. She will show you the kind of mindset you currently have and the one you need to adopt if you want to stretch and grow.

Here is her Ted Talk where she highlights her findings and teaches the power of "not yet".

I encourage you to push yourself outside your comfort zone and do things that show you what you're made of. Ask questions even when you fear it will show your ignorance on a topic---because it will allow the other person to share their passion with you..and it will allow you to learn!

Believe that you can learn anything you set your mind to and that there are infinite possibilities for growth.

Because I want you to feel amazing about yourself.

Because I want you to love your life.

Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.

P.S. Last weekend, I spoke in front of a group of people about freeing themselves from sugar. It was an amazing experience and it allowed me to get a better sense of the questions people ask...setting myself up for my workshop in NYC this coming weekend. Without having developed my growth mindset, pushing aside my limiting beliefs and that annoying little voice telling me I am not smart enough to speak in front of these people, I would have never created these opportunities and said YES to the possibilities! If YOU would like a digital ticket to the entire weekend, the event is being live streamed!!! Click here to get YOUR ticket!

Here are the details:

We will be a group of over 500 women in recovery from everything from cancer to codependency to alcohol and drug addiction. The organizers have chosen to livestream most of the event. For only $79 you will get live online access to the amazing keynote speaker sessions:

o Powerhouse author/blogger Glennon Doyle Melton (recovering bulimic and alcoholic)
o ABC 20/20's Elizabeth Vargas (who is very public about her recovery from anxiety-provoked alcoholism)
o Author/motivational speaker Gabby Bernstein (who has been in recovery for over a decade)
o Spiritual teacher and author Marianne Williamson

You will also be able to watch or participate in:

o A welcome address by Dawn Nickel.
o Two yoga classes, one led by She Recovers' own Taryn Strong and the other co-led by Taryn and the amazing Elena Brower
o A spoken word performance by Elena Brower called “The Ritual of Recovery”
o A talk about codependency with Y12SR founder Nikki Myers
o Two sessions on various other recovery topics
o Dinner program that includes a performance by singer/songwriter Elizabeth Edwards
o Behind the scenes activities brought to the LiveStream camera by members of the She Recovers in NYC Sober Blogger Team.

I'd love to have you join us!! Click here for your ticket.

P.P.S. When I was 19, I went to University because I thought that was the natural next step. I went for all the wrong reasons, struggled, didn't go to class and flunked out. When I was 29, I hit my rock bottom and chose to go to college for business. I LOVED my experience and taught myself how to study, thrived in the environment and became a peer tutor. I graduated at the top of my class. Even though it was a huge accomplishment, it was still college...not university...so I went on to get my degree. I did not enjoy the experience but felt I needed the piece of paper to prove to the world that I was smart enough to get a degree. The truth is, formal education is not the only measure of intelligence!! IQ is also not the only form of intelligence, either. I know a lot of really, really smart people who I choose not to spend my time with.

Here is a fun video to wrap up today's post. I hope you enjoy. xo

2 Comments

  • Lori Hurrell

    Reply Reply May 2, 2017

    Such a great post Sarah! I too have struggled with the ugly beast of being stupid and the belief that I don’t or can’t live up to my potential. Seems we have more in common, than just fitness and sugar. 🙂

    • Sarah Roberts

      Reply Reply May 2, 2017

      Yup. It’s a tough one. I’m glad you can relate…and hopefully see what total BS it is!!! 🙂 I never really “learned” to study properly, so it was amazing when I went to college as an adult (30) how much I needed to teach myself how to sit still, read something, take notes, pause and try to teach it back to myself before moving on. We really CAN learn anything we want to…if we have the right mindset and a few tools. xo

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