If your life has been touched by mindfulness, you may feel the urge to share it with others to help them reduce their suffering. As a mindfulness teacher, you want others to feel the same sense of ease and peace that mindfulness may have brought into your days.
When teaching mindfulness, it’s normal to experience hesitation, fear, doubt or nervousness as you share your offerings. If you’ve asked yourself questions such as “Do I have what it takes to teach mindfulness?” or “Who am I to teach mindfulness to others?”, you're definitely not alone.
These questions and worries are often referred to as impostor syndrome. Impostor syndrome, however, isn't necessarily a bad thing. Viewed through the non-judgmental eyes of compassion, you can see that it may actually stem from a desire to skillfully help others.
So rather than letting impostor syndrome prevent you from helping more people, here are some tips for meeting it with mindfulness. As Sean Fargo suggests in the latest Mindfulness Exercise podcast episode, teaching with confidence, compassion, and courage starts by moving from the head into the heart.
Feel excited about those you can help
One of the biggest things that holds many people back from following their passion to serve others is the belief that their actions will only make a small difference. But the truth is, even the smallest change can cause large transformations in the lives of others that work with you.
You may not know how these changes will come about. Others may never even tell you how much you have changed their life as you may be planting seeds that won’t ripen for years down the line. Yet if you consistently share your talents and skills from the heart, you will be able to help those who need it.
As Sean recalls the fear he had about sharing mindfulness, one of his biggest turning points came to him as a dream where he had the following realization:
People are asking for help. I know enough to help a lot of these people. I can’t help everyone with everything, but I know enough that I can help a lot of people with what they’re asking for help with. Who am I to say no? Who am I to not help them if I can help them?
- Sean Fargo -
Place your focus more on the people you can help, and your fear of not being able to help more people will start to diminish. As you notice and recognize the impact you’re making in people’s lives, you’ll feel more motivation that will provide the fuel for you to help even more people.
Let go of the fear of judgment
We all want to present ourselves to others in the best light. It’s part of our biological instinct to belong, to be understood, and accepted. Research shows that when others agree with or reinforce our opinions, our brain’s reward center lights up. Yet when we derive our sense of worth from what other people think of us, our emotions and feelings are subject to others’ thoughts. This diminishes our ability to hear our own inner guidance and to listen to our heart.
Since we can’t control what other people think about us, it’s much more useful to place our energy on our own thoughts and feelings. Practicing mindfulness can help you feel centered and at ease regardless of other people’s opinions. This can give you the energy to keep sharing your passion from the heart.
As mindfulness teachers, sharing our work is ultimately not about us. It’s about those we want to help. To let go of the fear of what other people will think of you when you teach mindfulness, remember why you started. Bring your focus back on the intention of serving. Shift your attention to cultivating your own heart-centered presence and the fear of what others think of you will loosen.
Be kind to yourself by honoring your compassion
If you peel back the layers of fear or worry about teaching others, you may notice a feeling of compassion and care underneath. The fact that you want to help others is indicative of your kind and loving nature. When you recognize that your desire to teach mindfulness springs out of compassion, it’s easier to be kinder to yourself as you experience doubt or nervousness before helping others.
Some level of caution and care around the integrity of the teachings can serve us well. And it’s indicative of respect for people who you’re wanting to help. We don’t want to lead anyone down the wrong path or say something that may be potentially harmful. That caution is wholesome, in my opinion.
- Sean Fargo -
As someone who wants to be of service, it’s only understandable that you don’t want to say or do anything that may harm them. One of the ways to overcome this fear is to continuously work on expanding your skills and your own mindfulness practice. Taking a course on how to teach mindfulness or enrolling in a mindfulness certification program can help you gain the skills that will boost your confidence to help more people.
Use this opportunity to practice trust and acceptance
When you find yourself doubting your abilities to teach mindfulness, look at this as an opportunity for practice. Can you call on the attitude of trust by trusting your natural skills as you serve others? Can you recall times in the past when you relied on your own resourcefulness and everything turned out ok?
Can you practice the attitude of acceptance by gently and compassionately noting your mental narratives about any potential flaws or inadequacies you may feel you have? As you see these mental narratives happen from an objective standpoint, you’ll be able to observe their impermanent nature.
The process of radical acceptance is to accept that a story has appeared in the mind, and then deepen the attention to see clearly what's happening in the body, to regard those feelings and sensations with kindness and acceptance, and to notice how they come and go.
- Tara Brach -
Notice that you can let go of your own judgments about yourself in this very moment. You can intentionally choose more empowering thoughts to direct your attention towards. You can wish yourself well as you go about your next teaching activity. You can also bring in self-compassion and practice some of these self-compassion exercises to help you improve your self-worth
Teach mindfulness while deepening your practice
Teaching mindfulness offers a wonderful chance to nurture and strengthen the attitudes of mindfulness within yourself. You can then use your personal growth to share stories that may help your students. As you embody the attitudes of mindfulness more naturally, this may inspire others to cultivate these within themselves as well.
Would you like to feel more confident teaching mindfulness to others while deepening your own mindfulness practice? Inside our Mindfulness & Meditation Teacher Training program, you get extensive guidance and coaching from Sean Fargo to help you compassionately work with fears or doubts that may be holding you back from serving others. Learn more and become a certified mindfulness teacher today.