Okay. So, apparently, I can be overly dramatic sometimes. In case it’s not obvious, the chains to which the title of this post refer aren’t real. (Psst. It’s called a metaphor.) And yet, they do tend to bind and restrain just the same. They certain can hold a person back and keep one from taking risks and adjusting to change.
In the early 1980s, it was estimated that two out of five successful people consider themselves to be frauds, and it has been suggested that 70 percent of all people feel like impostors at one time or another. [wiki ref.] Now, I would not consider myself successful, but the fact is . . . I’ve felt that way all of my life.
For years (a decade and a half) as a litigation attorney, I lived with a huge amount of doubt and internal stress, constantly ensuring that my work product was exceptional, lest I was to be discovered, as I feared inside, to be completely incompetent. It was as if I were constantly walking on a high wire, without a net.
To even think that I’m a successful person, or that I might have ever been successful, makes me extremely uncomfortable. So much has changed. And yet, successful or not, I often still feel like a fraud.
So, after always thinking I could trust only myself, it seems I have just now realized that I do not really trust myself. My self-imposed self-reliance has proven to be highly questionable.
And, yes, this restrictive self-image affects every aspect of one’s life, not just professional projects and responsibilities. Self-doubt reinforces the fraud persona, which leads to more restraint and hesitation—a vicious circle indeed. What ultimately happens to this self-doubt? You take it home with you.
I have constant doubts about my success in relationships or in my personal goals. I constantly require evidence of success and then doubt the evidence I get. Even outside the professional elements of my life, the fraud persona that envelops me binds me and restrains me as though made of iron links.