Cultivate Gratitude You might ask, what does gratitude have to do with believing in yourself? There have been several prominent studies done in the past couple of decades that show that cultivating gratitude has all sorts of positive effects on our general state of well-being. The more well-being we feel, the easier it is to feel good about ourselves. That’s why I always recommend some kind of daily gratitude practice to my clients. Whether it’s a gratitude journal or some kind of meditation, reflection, or prayer, find a way to make gratitude a daily habit.

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 Chris Lemig from True Nature Hypnotherapy.

Chris Lemig is a hypnotherapist, author, and meditation teacher. Prior to pursuing a career in hypnotherapy, he spent several years as a Buddhist monk studying philosophy, meditation, and religious ritual in India and Nepal. He founded True Nature Hypnotherapy in 2019 where he works with private clients to heal past traumas and create powerful, healthy changes in their lives. He is a contributing writer to Choosing Therapy, a premier mental health resource site, and the author of “You Can Change Now! A Hypnotic Pathway To Confidence, Happiness, And Success”.

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?

Thank you for having me! It’s a pleasure to talk to you.

On one hand, I have a lot of great memories from my childhood. I grew up in a little beach town in Connecticut called Pleasure Beach. It was really a wonderful place to be a kid. The beach was literally right across the street and our backyard was bordered by a thick forest of broad-leaf trees. Summers were always an adventure. My younger brother and I spent almost everyday exploring every inch of coastline and all the hidden nooks and crannies of the forest.

But there was a dark side to those days as well. My grandfather-who lived next door-was an alcoholic. He was both physically and emotionally abusive to his wife and us kids. My mother’s second husband was also an abuser who sometimes turned violent. So on the one hand I had all these wonderful experiences growing up, and on the other there was a lot of chaos, pain, and fear as well.

As I got older, I was introduced to a wide variety of religious and spiritual traditions by my mother and her second husband. We had moved out to California after my freshman year of high school in the mid-80’s. It seemed like every other month they were joining a new movement. Spiritualism, Scientology, the personal power movement, crystal healing, Vegetarianism, The Self Realization Fellowship. You name it, we were a part of it at one point or another. It was exhilarating at times but it was also disorienting and confusing.

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

I like to joke that it was pure laziness that propelled me into hypnotherapy!

In 2016, I returned from a long stay in India. I was living and studying there as a Tibetan Buddhist monk. When I got home to the States, I was looking for the next step in my life journey.

I originally wanted to enter into the field of psychotherapy or addiction counseling. As I looked into those options, I was a little disheartened. In order to become a licensed mental health counselor in Washington state, I was looking at about 6 years of additional schooling plus supervised hours before I could open a practice of my own.

That’s when my new partner (now my wife), suggested I reach out to a friend of hers who offered a unique hypnosis certification program that was much shorter than completing a masters degree. That program not only gave me the tools to become a professional hypnotherapist fairly quickly, but also incorporated elements and perspectives from the eastern philosophical traditions I was already well-steeped in.

So, in 2019, I opened up my private practice, True Nature Hypnotherapy, and haven’t looked back since.

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?


It was my first professional hypnosis client. I was nervous but I also felt pretty confident I was going to do great.

I went through my checklist of all the things I was trained to do before a session: give the client a brief explanation of hypnosis, build rapport, and so on. I made sure they were comfortable and ready to begin. Thinking I’d covered all the bases, I just launched into the trance induction. The session went on for quite a while. Probably about 45 minutes of me just talking in my still evolving “hypnosis voice”. I actually remember thinking how well everything was going.

As the time ran out, I brought the person out of trance and asked them, quite optimistically, how they were feeling. I was expecting at least a little positive feedback.

“Yeah, I didn’t feel anything,” they said.

I stammered a little bit, trying to regain my footing. Then they got up and after an awkward silence, and just walked out of my office.

For one thing, I knew that it was my first client so I was mindful of not being too hard on myself. Still, I felt bad. They had paid me and wound up not being very happy with the experience.

After reflecting on the session, I realized that I just hadn’t tuned in enough to what the person was experiencing at the moment. There are all kinds of visual and nonverbal cues that I pay attention to now. I try to always improve my listening and empathy skills as well. I’ve also learned to just trust the client more. So I check in more and ask them, “what are you experiencing right now?” They often tell me exactly what I need to do in order to make the session successful.

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

This is an exciting question! I have several new projects that I’m getting ready to roll out this year.

The first is that I will be offering my signature Pathway To Confidence™ 1:1 hypnosis program as an online group course for the first time.

Over the course of this program, I will teach participants how to access deep resource states of learning, healing, and growth while in hypnosis. Some of these experiences include connecting with the Higher Self and other natural sources of wisdom and problem-solving creativity that we all innately possess.

This program has yielded a tremendous amount of transformative growth with my private clients. I’m excited to adapt it to a group setting because I’ve seen how a group dynamic and energy exchange can be a powerful catalyst for change.

I have also recently released a brand new, expanded edition of my book, “You Can Change Now! A Pathway To Confidence, Happiness, And Success”. This is a companion guide for my Pathway To Confidence programs but can also be used independently by anyone interested in beginning deep change work with hypnosis and NLP.

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?

The main reason that it’s important to believe in yourself is that your opinion of yourself is the only one that truly matters.

I mean, even if you get all kinds of glowing, positive feedback, praise, and accolades from other people, you’re not going to believe any of it if you don’t believe it yourself. As a result, you’re going to find it difficult to stay motivated to achieve your goals, celebrate your accomplishments, and simply enjoy the gift and the miracle that is your life.

This is the crux of the problem with imposter syndrome. People with imposter syndrome suffer enormously because the story they’re getting from their friends, family, and peers (“you’re awesome”, “great job”, “we love you”, etc.) just doesn’t line up with how they view themselves.

I work with people who experience this all the time so I’ll just share a kind of patchwork-quilt kind of story.

A client comes in. They’re outwardly successful. They’ve got a family that loves them. They might have even done some good therapeutic work on self-esteem already.

But they have this nagging, sometimes even debilitating, belief that they’re just not good enough. No matter what they do or achieve, they just feel like it’s all a sham. And so they feel hollow, incomplete, depressed, anxious…you name it. This underlying belief — that they are not even worthy of believing in themselves — blocks them from all kinds of opportunities for growth, development, learning, and joy.

On the flip side, when you clear away all those false beliefs about yourself (and they are all false by the way), you begin to recognize that your value and worthiness as a human being are absolute. They aren’t dependent on any external things like praise. When you have an undeniable experience of this, you are able to believe in yourself naturally and effortlessly so that even if self-doubt does ever creep back in, you have a far easier time seeing it for what it is: total BS.

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?

Ah, I see where you’re going here.

So, believing in yourself really means that you have begun to believe in and appreciate your own innate goodness and basic worthiness as a human being. When you have this sense of your fundamental value and begin to claim your right to simply be in the world as you are, it becomes much easier to align yourself with goals and aspirations that are right and appropriate for you.

This could be something that falls in the realm of “greatness”. After all, we have all sorts of examples throughout history of “unlikely” people achieving extraordinary things. People write their first novel in their 80s or summit Mt. Everest in their “senior” years.

My experience has been that when people believe in their true selves, they are intuitively drawn to those things they truly want to achieve, rather than things that may have been rooted in false expectations, “should’s” and self-deception.

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

I spent many years suffering from alcoholism and addiction. During that time, I didn’t believe in myself at all. In fact, my inner world was a maelstrom of self-loathing, fear, and shame. Because of that, I was severely limited in my choices of what I felt I could and couldn’t accomplish. Thankfully, I stumbled onto a better path back in 2007 and have been sober ever since. That immediately opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me and my life.

I still have residual self-doubt and uncertainty. To a degree, I think it’s healthy to have those. But for the most part, believing in myself has allowed me to do things that I never thought possible. Like living abroad, publishing books, and owning my own hypnotherapy business.

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?

This is an ongoing project! I should make it clear that when I say believing in yourself comes out of an experience of your innate worthiness, that doesn’t mean that you stop growing and learning. Nor does it mean that you don’t still have to work with old patterns of thinking and acting.

That being said, right after I returned from India in 2016, I went through an intense period of self-doubt. I was struggling to find my way after the path I had chosen as a Buddhist monk didn’t work out as planned. I’ll freely admit, I did wallow in helplessness and just plain not believing in myself for a while. But I soon realized that that behavior and thinking wasn’t going to turn out well. In fact, there was a real danger of going back to a life of addiction.

That’s when I knew that I had to redouble my efforts of self-love and self-care. I went to therapy and started attending more support groups. I re-examined my life-long resistance to prescription medications and found something that worked for me. By the time I got into hypnotherapy, I had built back a pretty solid foundation of self-worth that was then only amplified by my hypnosis work.

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

1 . Recognize Your True Self. First and foremost is connecting with your True Self. Now, there are so many ways to do this and what works for someone else might not be right for you. But basically, any form of honest self-enquiry is going to get you there. This can be various forms of therapy, support group or 12-step work, meditation and spiritual practice. Of course, I’m a big fan of using hypnosis to directly connect with the True Self. In that state of relaxed, open awareness, we are better able to “drop” the normal everyday storyline about ourselves so we can start to hear, feel, and experience more of who we truly are.

2 . Celebrate Your Successes. In a way, this is both the goal and the path for anyone who has trouble believing in themselves. I recommend making a list of your accomplishments and successes. These can be graduating from school or a trade program, getting hired at any of the jobs you’ve had, buying a home, raising kids, etc. Put 3–5 of these accomplishments on an index card or sticky note and post it somewhere you will see it first thing after you get up. This becomes a powerful reminder of what you are already capable of.

Some people say to me, “Yeah, but I haven’t succeeded at anything in life”. My answer to that is that everyone, even if you adamantly deny it, has experienced lots of success in life. Unless there are physical or medical limitations, you have been successful learning how to walk, to speak your own language, to dress yourself, to read and write, and so on. These are actually monumental tasks that took a tremendous amount of energy and commitment to accomplish. So don’t forget those things when making your list.

3 . Give Yourself A Break. Ironically, a lot of the people I work with to improve confidence and a sense of basic worthiness are high-achievers. These folks (and I include myself in this category), are notoriously hard on themselves. Whether it’s pushing ourselves to physical limits or carrying on an inner dialog of relentless self-evaluation, we could all benefit from giving ourselves a break. That can be outwardly expressed as giving ourselves ample time to rest and enjoy our lives, or inwardly by finding ways to be more kind and encouraging to ourselves.

4 . Stick with the winners. Human beings are great imitators. It’s actually part of our evolutionary survival kit. Having the capacity to imitate allows us to learn new ways of doing things. When we choose to spend as much of our time as possible with other people who believe in themselves, that quality will naturally start to rub off on us. Seeking out people who are actively pursuing goals, learning new skills, and generally engaging positively in the world will make it that much easier to start believing in yourself more and more.

5 . Cultivate Gratitude You might ask, what does gratitude have to do with believing in yourself? There have been several prominent studies done in the past couple of decades that show that cultivating gratitude has all sorts of positive effects on our general state of well-being. The more well-being we feel, the easier it is to feel good about ourselves. That’s why I always recommend some kind of daily gratitude practice to my clients. Whether it’s a gratitude journal or some kind of meditation, reflection, or prayer, find a way to make gratitude a daily habit.

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

This is a favorite topic of mine because that negative “voice” is actually coming up out of the subconscious. Specifically, subconscious messaging that we received and internalized at some point in our lives, often in childhood.

The good news is, those messages are always untrue. They’re untrue because they have their source in someone else’s experience, which has nothing to do with us personally. In fact, the criticism we receive and internalize from others is much more a statement about their inner experience than anything about us.

That being said, it’s important to recognize an uncomfortable — yet ultimately empowering — truth. Even though the message of self-criticism is false, the energy of it is still coming from ourselves.

Now that’s empowering because it means we have a choice as whether or not we accept that criticism or allow it to continue.

Some of the tools that I give people to counter those negative “voices” are deceptively simple.

First, you simply have to stop and notice when you’re hearing that self-criticism.

Once you notice it, take control of it by imagining that voice sounding like your favorite cartoon character. As soon as you do this, you will probably notice that you laugh. Laughter is the death knell of all super-serious, negative self-talk. It just simply cannot continue in the face of good humor.

Finally, replace that stale, tired old message with a new, kind, encouraging message. Think of what you would most like to hear from yourself. It could be a simple as, “Hey, I love you and you got this.” Or you can create a swipe-file of positive suggestions and affirmations that you can pull from and apply to whatever situations you find yourself in.

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

I think there’s a false expectation that to be confident means that you lose all humility. So confidence becomes confused with arrogance. This is actually quite a common fear and it can turn into an unnecessary limitation.

The thing is, confidence can be totally infused with humility and grace. I’m thinking about the recent Oscar win by Ke Huy Quan from the film “Everything, Everywhere, All At Once”. He accepted that award with the acknowledgment of all the people who supported him throughout his life. What’s more, he accepted the honor without a shred of negative self-deprecation.

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

First and foremost, have compassion for yourself. Although imposter syndrome is not a bonafide diagnosis, it is the term that we use to describe the overall quality of a persistent inner experience of self-doubt. It can be agonizing and even life threatening when it leads to stronger feelings of depression and self-loathing.

Then, don’t give up on yourself. Keep listening to the part of you that’s telling you that there has to be a better way of feeling about yourself. And go out there and find those ways. There are so many options now. Books, podcasts, coaches, therapies, you name it. And the options are just growing more and more every day as our society becomes more aware of, not just imposter syndrome, but mental health and wellbeing in general.

Keep trying new things. Experiment. Find what works best for you. Then keep doing it. You are worth it.

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.

I’m a big fan of the idea that by working on ourselves in a meaningful way we are benefiting the whole world.

That’s why I want to see as many people as possible connect with and develop a relationship with their True Self. The ramifications of this go way beyond individual personal growth and wellbeing. When we are in relationship with our True Self, we automatically begin to embody that kind, loving, healing power that is within ourselves.

This of course has a positive impact on the micro level. But it also carries over into the rest of our lives as we bring that transformative energy to everything and everyone within our sphere of influence. This is how real change happens. One person at a time.

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 🙂

I’d really love to meet Ekhart Tolle and find out how he has been able to condense so much profound wisdom in such an easy-to-understand way.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I share tips, strategies, and resources for working through imposter syndrome and discovering your natural confidence on Instagram (, my YouTube channel ( and my blog (

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

Thank you so much! It’s been a pleasure.


  • 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.