Self-believe v ego
The fine line between self-belief and ego. By Nikita Thakrar
I have always struggled with self-belief. When I was a teenager I was ambitious and wide-eyed, but this soon got suppressed by the traditional system in which I studied Indian classical dance and yoga. My enthusiasm and curiosity got misunderstood for arrogance and so I was tamed to tone it down.
As the years went on I became a better dancer and yoga practitioner but a more shy, self-conscious person. I went from being blindly confident to fearfully timid.
As I got older it only became harder to manage and the more successful I became, the more I lost another layer of self-belief.
I was always cautious of not letting my ego get in the way, as I'd seen others do. I had learned from teachers and watched performers where I couldn't see anything except a bubble of ego surrounding them.
When it came to branching out into other areas away from dance, that lack of self-belief followed me; like a silent companion lingering away in the background, reminding me that I am not enough.
I tried to be the opposite of that; pushing myself as far down to earth as I could go. I wanted to be known for my humility, until I realised even that desire itself was a subtle form of ego. I would put 100% into everything I did, only to come away feeling doubt and wondering if I had done enough.
Occasionally, I would try to 'face the fear' by taking on a challenging situation, feeling a sense of pride for a split second before being once again knocked down by someone's negative comment or feedback.
It was a constant rollercoaster of doubt, which held me back from being true to my work. It remained constant and present in everything I embarked on.
Until…I eventually started to experience relief when I let go. Let go of my desire to be humble and let go of my desire to have self-belief. Instead, I focused on feeling it within me rather than it being a state of mind.
For me, ego is experienced in the upper part of my body elevating me towards my higher purpose, but self-belief is felt in my lower body, grounding and rooting me back down. This contrast of both is where I choose to sit; connected to my core, centred and aware of who I am and the gifts I'm here to share.
Do I have self-belief now? There are still days where I doubt for a fleeting moment but then I swiftly move on. I am open minded, curious and willing to learn. I may make mistakes but I am ready to put my hands up and say I could have done that better.
When I teach, mentor or coach now I see myself being on a journey with my student or client. I no longer see me being the one who needs to have all the answers. When they achieve success, it's their success not my ego's. When they don't get the desired results, it's because they’re not ready, not due to anything I am lacking.
I wish I could go back to my younger self and tell her that she IS enough. I wish to embrace her and say: “You are going to do good in the world.” Perhaps, by now, she would have done more had she heard those words. Or perhaps that process of feeling small was a way to magnify her. Time will tell. For now, I am not focused on having self-belief or ego — I am just being me.