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Case Study: How Todd overcame his Fear and Anxiety and Found his Authentic Confidence

Subhajit Banerjee

December 30, 2023


From struggling with low self-esteem, anxiety, and a harsh inner critic – to being in control of his thoughts and emotions and absolutely crushing it at work – this is Todd’s story.

Todd is a 35-year-old working professional from California.

He has a well-paying job, a loving girlfriend, and his entire life ahead of him.

A picture-perfect life, right?

Or so you would think.

Because Todd had a demon living within him.

An entity that made his life a living hell.

His inner critic (sorry to disappoint you if you expected an exorcism story 🙂).

It fed on his regrets from his troubled past. It fed on his fear and anxiety of putting himself out there.

And it kept growing stronger, harsher, and more unforgiving.

It led him to constantly worry about what others are thinking about him.

It led him to betray himself, neglect himself, and make choices that weren’t beneficial for him.

It made him addicted to others’ validation and approval – even from his so-called “friends” who didn’t have his best interests in mind.

Todd was living in a shell.

He was afraid to put himself out there – scared of what the consequences might be.

He tried a couple of things – he worked on his habits and routines. He tried changing his thought patterns.

But nothing seemed to stick.

At best, he could go for a couple of weeks like this.

Then the old cycle repeats once again. And he kept falling back into the old thought patterns.

Todd was tired of living like this.

He just wanted to wake up and not feel like shit because of these intrusive thoughts.

He wanted to put himself out there.

He wanted to stop being always afraid of meeting new people.

He wanted to build new, authentic, social and professional connections.

He wanted to feel proud of just being himself.

This is when he saw one of my posts and reached out to me. We went on a call to gain a better understanding of his struggles.

And we decided to work together.

During the initial assessments, we found that he had a ton of anxious and depressive thoughts.

I knew that Todd had a tough journey ahead. He needed to score some early wins and get the momentum going.

So we started working on Todd’s daily routine first.

He wanted to develop a habit of working out.

So we figured out how to add a regular pushup routine to his daily life – something that he can stick to.

Since Todd’s inner critic was so hostile and unforgiving – I wanted to ingrain habits of gratitude and introspection into his daily life.

So he started with a daily gratitude journal habit (This is a habit that I swear by).

Todd crafted his short-term and mid-term goals in his personal and professional life.

And he started making small tweaks to his daily routine to reach those goals

Through this approach, Todd stacked up some early wins and proofs. He was setting up the groundwork for a friendlier and more hospitable mental space.

Now it was time to tackle the incessant caustic voice of the harsh inner critic.

Todd was racked with regret and guilt over his past choices.

He was struggling with impostor syndrome. Despite how he had turned himself around, he was anxious of being found out as a fraud.

He was terrified that everything that he has built would fall apart.

Working with me, he was able to recognize the cognitive distortions warping his thoughts.

He recognized how these thoughts led him to anxiety and despair.

He learned how to examine those thoughts and pit them against evidence. He stopped taking those thoughts at face value.

And then something clicked for Todd.

It finally dawned on him that the critics in his head were not his own voice.

They were of his family members and his harshly critical friends. Voices he had internalized. And that he can be assertive with those voices as well.

It was the beginning of him being back in charge of his mind.

It changed everything.

Next, we tackled his people-pleasing tendencies.

He had a habit of saying yes to every demand – even when they were unjust.

We crafted a bill of rights for him – to help him hold onto the same high standards that he was holding everyone up to.

So that he could finally stop shortchanging himself.

Speaking up for himself was a big obstacle for Todd as well.

To counter that, Todd learned about the primary communication styles he was using.

He developed assertiveness and learned how to set better boundaries.

His inner critic was merciless when it came to mistakes.

So we dug deep to create a self-compassion mantra for him.

In our coaching calls, I kept pointing out whenever he was being unkind toward himself or beating himself up for minor transgressions.

Todd was under the impression that this self-flagellation was what kept him going.

I showed him that he was who he was despite it – not because of it.

Next, it was time for Todd to face his fears.

He created a graded ladder of his fears. We designed a plan for Todd to face his fears one by one, starting with easier ones and gradually progressing to more debilitating ones.

Todd became skillful in dealing with his emotions as well.

He was no longer helpless.

Now he had an armory of tools at his disposal which he could call upon on a moment’s notice.

Armed with them and with a new sense of hope and pride – Todd started applying the lessons in his day-to-day life.

And soon – he started seeing results.

He started receiving compliments from his girlfriend, his parents, and his loved ones.

At work, he started to assert himself.

He started making better connections.

He was no longer allowing his inner critic to hold him back.

And he refused to take things personally when there were conflicts.

 

And that’s not all.

He started to stand out to his bosses as well.

Today, Todd is no longer a helpless victim of his own mind.

He has learned to silence his inner critic who was filling him up with despair.

Free from that constant onslaught, Todd has realized that the world is a much kinder and warmer place than his inner critic had led him to believe.

He has begun to put his most authentic self out to the world.

And he is finding out that people appreciate, respect, and love who he is.

He no longer needs to put up a front.

His heavy burden has been lifted.

He is free.

Here’s what Todd had to say about his experience of working with me.

 

Are you struggling with a harsh inner critic like Todd?

Are you struggling with anxiety and worries?

Do you find yourself betraying yourself just to win approval from others?

Then let’s figure out if we are a good fit and work together to get you results like Todd.

There’s absolutely no reason to keep suffering alone.

Book a call here and let’s start talking.