Many years ago, my father used to tell me that: A) I had no personality; B) I would never have any friends and C) that nobody would ever like me. Over the years I did not consciously think of his words, but they insidiously infected my way of being in the world. I "knew" I was inferior. I only entered into relationships doomed to fail. And generally, in most aspects of my life I was afraid to speak up or to set boundaries.
Something unusual happened today. I gave a work-related presentation to a group of well-to-do people. It was very well received and as I left the building, an older gentleman offered to help carry my props to my car. As we approached my car he said, "You know, you have a wonderful personality. I don't know if you have any idea how entertaining and engaging you are. I am surprised - often, people in your field are quite introverted."
Well, as soon as he spoke those words, my father's erroneous message from so many years ago was erased. It's not that I now think I'm superior- it's just that the damage is fixed.