Becoming Your Own Best Friend — If you have a healthy relationship with your best friend, you can model your relationship with self from that. If not, how would you like to be treated? How would you like for your best friend to respond to you in challenging moments? What are some things you would like for them to say when you’re feeling down? Speak these things to yourself. Being your best friend is being your own greatest encourager.

Starting something new is scary. Learning to believe in yourself can be a critical precursor to starting a new initiative. Why is it so important to learn to believe in yourself? How can someone work on gaining these skills? In this interview series, we are talking to business leaders, authors, writers, coaches, medical professionals, teachers, to share empowering insights about “How To Learn To Believe In Yourself.” As a part of this series we had the pleasure of interviewing A. Raheim White, The Transformation Wizard.

A. Raheim White is a wellness specialist, mindfulness master, keynote speaker and the author of Mindfulness Matters: How To Live The Joy-Filled Life You Desire & Deserve. Raheim earned their bachelors and masters of fine arts degrees in dance performance & choreography from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and New York University Tisch School of the Arts with a semester study at the Taipei National University of the Arts. They are a wellness specialist, mindfulness master, keynote speaker, 200-hr certified yoga instructor and social-emotional learning facilitator, Reiki Master-Teacher and akashic record reader. For their contributions to Chicago’s LGBTQ community, Raheim received a Windy City Times’ 30 Under 30 Award.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

As all great epics start, “it was the best of times and the worst of times…” My childhood holds opposing truths simultaneously. I am the oldest of 13, grew up in inner-city Chicago, and was born from two teenaged high school dropouts. It was rough where I grew up. Although our loving community was close-knit, the dangers of reality were just as close. Being born to such young parents, I had the blessing of spending lots of time with my great-grandparents. There, I enjoyed the pleasures of being a child. We played “it” until nightfall, we swam in blow-up swimming pools, rushed the candy store to get those two-cents strawberry cookies… Life was simple and loving.

I’ve always loved learning. School was my safe space. It was the only place where I could just be a kid. I did not have to make life-altering decisions. I only had to worry about my lessons and what we were having for lunch. At the motel we lived, my queries carried more weight. “I’m so hungry. When is she going to bring us food? Mom hasn’t called to check in. Something’s wrong!” I lived in constant anxiety.

I was a child raising children. For several years, I was the primary physical and emotional nurturer of my younger siblings. I earned the title Mama Raheim. A typical day for me was school 9a-2:30p; walk a mile home to arrive by 3pm; Mom leaves within fifteen minutes to go “hustle” and I’m at home with the kids until. I was seven years old raising two-, one-, and months old children.

Although I was a cheerful kid, I also felt very misunderstood. Being highly effeminate made me an easy target for other children and adults alike. When I finally embraced my sexuality, owning my queerness at age fourteen, things got rougher and I got tougher. I became braver because I’d stepped into my truth. Once I understood myself, there was no going back.

Dance allowed me to embrace this newfound freedom. Dancing encouraged to be dynamic, bold and to take up all my space. On stage, I could never be too big. I had amazing teachers who encouraged and pushed me beyond what I perceived was possible. My teachers parented me. And I had some tough teachers who are still present in my life today — helping guide me higher.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

My tumultuous childhood led me to seeking tools for my personal healing. In undergrad and graduate school, I was in psychotherapy to help me balance and get deeper insight into some of my self-sabotaging, destructive habits.

Growing up, going to a “shrink” meant you were crazy. One thing I realized during my time in therapy was how anybody can benefit from the wisdom of the therapist. Therapists offer different perspectives on your life to help you be better understand it while providing effective tools to navigate your challenges.

Although therapy was great, it wasn’t enough to nourish my spiritual center. I discovered reiki in graduate school. Reiki is a Japanese-based energetic healing modality that helps balance on the mental, physical, emotional, energetic, and spiritual levels of a person. It even has roots in Tibet from over 3,000 years ago. I became certified in this ancient wisdom to liberate many of my traumas held from childhood so I could be authentically empowered today.

Because of my varied experiences and tools, my intention was to provide the same support systems to others. We all can be well. We just need the tools to thrive.

As the adage goes, “be what you wish to see in the world.” I became everything I needed with a desire to share with my family and others who could benefit.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I don’t know if this is funny like “ha ha” but it’s funny as curious; believing that I could do it all by myself. When I first began my speaking business, I tried to figure out everything alone. I had heard many times people speaking of pulling themselves up by the bootstraps and thought that I needed to do the same. I bumbled around for months until I found mentors to help me build my business out.

To thrive, mentorship is a must! Working with them quickly increased my output and helped me feel confident in my ability to provide great experiences. Their feedback also supported my improvement.

My mentors’ mantra, “it’ll cost you more later,” resonates deeply. I’ve had sleepless nights filled with worry and stress that I could’ve avoided if I worked with others who’d already done. it well sooner.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I just released my first book: Mindfulness Matters: How to Live the Joy-Filled Life You Desire & Deserve. I had to face so much of my darkness in this process. Worrying about being an imposter, “how will they see me?” What will they think about this work?” I soon realized none of that matters. I cannot control how people will feel about or perceive this work. My pushing through fear in order to share this is an accomplishment all of itself.

I believe this work will provide effective tools for leaders, entrepreneurs, educators, and artists who desire to create healthy boundaries in their personal and professional lives, connect to their personal power, increase their confidence, reduce stress, and increase their well-being. It will also help those individuals get more attuned to their own magick. As children, we all believed in magick — the wonder of the universe. I just never forgot and I desire to help people remember their unique kind of power.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. This will be intuitive to you but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to believe in yourself? Can you share a story or give some examples?

When you don’t believe in yourself, your self-esteem suffers. With low self-esteem, you cannot pursue your dreams. If you don’t believe in your ability to succeed, to provide great products, or to facilitate amazing experiences, why should anybody else believe you? Your clients and your customers will flow to you on the winds of your belief.

Not believing in yourself also can cause poor boundaries in personal and professional relationships. This can lead to being manipulated, bullied, and not feeling comfortable asking for support. Believing in yourself encourages you to be an advocate for your well-being.

What exactly does it mean to believe in yourself? Can I believe that I can be a great artist even though I’m not very talented? Can I believe I can be a gold medal Olympic even if I’m not athletic? Can you please explain what you mean?

Believing in yourself means you honor your own intrinsic value — knowing your worthiness to experience the life you desire and deserve because you exist. You don’t have to prove your worthiness. Your beingness IS the proof.

Belief also requires action. You can be a great artist even though you’re not currently expressing that talent. With consistent practice, dedication, and a positive mindset, you can improve your technique. Yes, there will be certain things that you’re naturally gifted at AND your dedicated action sharpens any skill. The man who is told he’ll never walk again after an accident walks again because of practice, dedication, and belief.

The real question is, what are you willing to invest in order to see your beliefs manifest?

Was there a time when you did not believe in yourself? How did this impact your choices?

Absolutely! After my transformative time in Taiwan, I wanted to attend the Taipei National University of the Arts for graduate school but I didn’t apply. University rules stated potential international students could not have a failing grade on their transcripts. I had a withdrawal, which they considered a fail.

I didn’t even apply — I didn’t use the connections I had already cultivated. No fighting for my desire to be there. No belief in my ability to succeed. Because I didn’t apply myself, I automatically lost.

With age, I learned everything is negotiable. All you have to do is ask. Because I was afraid of asking, I couldn’t pursue what I really wanted. That was a hard lesson to learn, but it taught me the importance of advocating for yourself and what you want.

At what point did you realize that in order to get to the next level, it would be necessary to build up your belief in yourself? Can you share the story with us?

In the middle of pandemonium, I moved to Atlanta. It was the first time I had ever lived alone, without the support of an educational system, roommates, and or an easily accessible transit system for commuting. I felt extremely isolated.

My sister kept saying, “don’t fill the space too quickly” and encouraged me to use this time to learn more about who I am. If you don’t know yourself, you cannot win. And frankly, I didn’t know who I was beyond my accomplishments. I used my degrees and certifications to demonstrate my value. I didn’t believe that I was worthy just because I existed.

Atlanta provided the opportunity to investigate myself on a deeper level. Not compared to others, but only with myself. It was the most fear-evoking, complicated, nuanced experiences I’ve ever had and I am still in process. I AM my process!

Believing in yourself requires tenacity and dedication to being your best self. And because I want to be the best me I can be, I am willing to confront my darkness.

What are your top 5 strategies that will help someone learn to believe in themselves? Please share a story or example for each.

1 . Reflection / Journaling

You don’t know where you’ve been until you’ve reflected. Most of us are running through our lives trying to get to the end of the day. We miss the minutia in-between. By reflecting and journaling, you’re able to remember your accomplishments, your wins. This boosts your confidence.

At the beginning of 2023, I was feeling as if I had done little over the past few years. So, I made a list of accomplishments from 2020 until now. The many projects, large and small, I had started and completed shocked me. Without that reflection, I would’ve had a very limited view of my triumphs.

2 . Mirror Work

Mirror work is a way to program your subconscious mind using your reflection. I’m going to give you two simple ways to add mirror work in your life.

1. Speaking affirmations to yourself in the mirror using the preface, “I am.” I am powerful. I am purposeful. I am creative. I am beautiful.” As you’re speaking this, take the time to feel into the affirmation. What does it feel like being powerful? What does it feel like being creative? You can also write these on a note and stick it to your mirror so you see it daily.

2. Create a vision board with pictures of you in it. Imagine yourself living the vision. What does it feel like? Get in as much detail as possible.

The brain doesn’t know the difference between an imagined happening and reality. As you visualize and create the feelings of your vision, your body and brain are building new connections to make this vision real.

3 . Exploring Curiosity

Allow yourself to be adventurous. As children, we unabashedly ran into experiences that intrigued us. However, as we aged, we lost that sense of wonder and became frightened of the unknown. Your curiosity is invites you into newness. How amazing will it feel when you discover that you have a knack for knitting or fashion?

Curiosity can lead to novel experiences. You won’t know unless you try. Explore unfamiliar tasks. You may discover joy, inspiration, or success in that arena. It’s a great confidence booster.

4 . Becoming Your Own Best Friend

If you have a healthy relationship with your best friend, you can model your relationship with self from that. If not, how would you like to be treated? How would you like for your best friend to respond to you in challenging moments? What are some things you would like for them to say when you’re feeling down? Speak these things to yourself. Being your best friend is being your own greatest encourager.

During pandemonium, I learned to love myself differently. I had all these new expansive ideas that others could not see the vision for. Although it was daunting, I kept encouraging myself. “You can do this! You can do anything.” And being the supportive voice that I needed, I was able to start two new businesses.

My “best friend self” believed I could. So, I did.

5 . Grace

A necessary quality you must infuse into your journey from the start. There will be many pitfalls along the way. There will be moments of darkness, fear, wanting to quit, insecurity, anger, grief, and everything in between. Your experience of these undesired emotions doesn’t make you a bad person. They don’t mean you’re weak. It makes you human. The same loving grace you’d extend to friends, you must learn to extend to yourself.

I’ve made many mistakes in my life. I’ve ruined relationships by being dishonest. Have lost love from my fear of being vulnerable. Have missed opportunities because I didn’t believe in my ability to succeed. For the longest time, I thought they were missed chances and would beat myself up over it. I cannot change the past. But I can create a better future. I stopped punishing myself and made a promise instead: I choose to live more authentically. To not run from difficulty. To not cower from opposition. I will speak the truth even when I’m afraid. I give myself grace for my past mistakes. I did the best I could with what I had. I am now making better choices.

Conversely, how can one stop the negative stream of self-criticism that often accompanies us as we try to grow?

Imagine yourself as a child. How would you speak to little you? The same gentleness, care, and attention you would give to a little one, give to yourself. There is no need to bad mouth a being who is learning how to be. Would you berate a child for learning how to walk or feed themself? Give yourself grace. You are in process. You’re getting better and better every day.

Are there any misconceptions about self-confidence and believing in oneself that you would like to dispel?

I would like to dispel the misconception that self-confidence is immune to doubt. Just because you are confident in your abilities doesn’t negate doubt. Confident beings are still human. Still living a life with fears, worries, and nuances. Self-confidence just gives you the power to move through that fear.

What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is something that I’ve dealt with heavily for many years. I attended a workshop for imposter syndrome and the facilitator asked three questions:

  1. Are you trained in what you offer? Either schooling, certification, experience, etc.
  2. Do you believe you can successfully deliver on your offer?
  3. Do you believe you can provide great quality on your offer?

If you answer yes to all 3, you’re not an imposter.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

It would be for more people to move their bodies in joy outside with nature. That could look like dancing, yoga, tai chi, jumping rope, anything that allows the body to expand in natural spaces.

Many of us have traded our relationship with a natural world for electronics. I desire for us humans to feel better together in motion. I want us to get back to sharing loving space with nature and each other.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

Vishen Lakhiani, CEO of Mindvalley has positively affected me in so many ways. From introducing me to the Silva Method, to the Mindvalley Podcast, the tons of videos from A-fest on YouTube… he’s a hero of mine. His ability to gather intentional, spiritual, dynamic beings from all over the world to share their wisdoms is astounding. And, he’s created a $100 million business that’s spiritually centered. Inspiration at its best.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

The best way to connect is by signing up for my newsletter. Here, I share upcoming classes, workshops, and inspirational messages with my subscribers. You can email me via my website and I’m on all social media: Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter @RahTheWizard. You can also find me on LinkedIn

Plus, purchase Mindfulness Matters: How To Live The Joy-Filled Life You Desire & Deserve via Amazon. I’d love any feedback on how the work is positively impacting your personal journey.

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

Thank you for this time and for your generosity. It has been such a pleasure being with you.


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.