A while back I read a good way to frame a piece of advice that centered around a discussion between Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio:
“As a child, I was overweight and I was very chubby and I was always the wrong kid at the audition because my hair was wrong and the shoes didn’t fit. I did lose weight very sensibly when I was younger but those days are very much behind me.”
Turning to DiCaprio, she adds, “I remember you saying to me one day, ‘You’ve really got to let the whole fat girl thing go’. And that’s the truth, you’re right.”
Replace “fat girl” with “beta guy” and it works for men too. Almost nobody can’t cite a period in life when they were less than impressive.
Seriously, life is long. People change. if you’re dedicated to fixing your problems, you will at least make a significant dent. If you can’t give yourself credit for that, if you insist on semi-consciously falling back into the fat girl guys didn’t want, or the nerdy kid who got bullied, or Zit Guy or whatever cross you bore at some point in your youth, you’re really just chopping yourself off at the knees without help from anybody else. You’ve done the work of your opponents for them.
I didn’t say it was easy. There’s a little person in most of us who wants to remind us of our old, since-dispatched flaws. This psychological homunculus sits on our shoulder and tells us we’re reliving our old ways decades later, that we’ll never get to where we want to go because we used to be whatever it was that held us back. Sometimes we want to listen to this person, because at least the expectation of achievement would dissipate and we could accept failure.
Fire that person.