Make lists to remind yourself what’s great about you. Make a different list of five things that make you great in the different roles you fill in your life, e.g. friend, sibling, parent, child, employee, partner, etc. There can be some overlap between your lists, but try to come up with some specifics for each role. If you can’t think of anything, ask the folks who experience you in this role (e.g. your friends, co-workers, partner, kids, supervisor, etc.)

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 Ellen Line, LCSW-C.

Ellen Line, LCSW-C is a healer and creator who helps folks explore and heal deeply so they can move from barely surviving and symptom management to growing and thriving. She is the founder of ROAR Wellness Co. which is home to her psychotherapy practice and the ROAR Wellness Co.mmunity, an online community focused on healing and growth. She enjoys crafting, cooking, spending time with friends, and thinking up ways to smash the cisheterosexist, white supremacist patriarchy. She lives with her partner in Baltimore, MD.

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?

I grew up in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains in Pennsylvania. My family was close-knit, and I had a typical wholesome upbringing, in a small rural community. Growing up, I loved art and theater and took every opportunity to perform in choirs and onstage. I won the “Broadway Bound” superlative in my high school yearbook. When I graduated from high school, I moved to Baltimore to study acting. Baltimore is the place where I transitioned from kid to adult and is very much part of who I am.

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

When love moved me across the country, I took an AmeriCorps job with Communities In Schools (CIS), a social work organization that mentors kids who are at higher risk of dropping out of school, and discovered that I love building community and supporting folks on their growth journey. The middle schoolers I mentored had a huge influence on my decision to leave theatre and pursue social work.

One student I worked with was very smart, but not engaged in her classes. Through our work together, she was able to see some of the ways she was getting in her own way academically and adjusted how she was showing up in class to become one of her teachers’ favorite students. Watching that transformation got me hooked on social work.

I enrolled in the Masters of Science in Social Work program at the University of Texas at Austin. When I started grad school, I was on track to be in leadership for a social work agency. As I gained experience, I realized I loved helping folks to heal trauma, witnessing transformation like I’d experienced at CIS. I decided to become a therapist. Every decision I’ve made since has helped me spend as much time as possible working with folks who are exploring and healing deeply. My business, ROAR Wellness Co., is both home and homage to this work.

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?

Before social work, I was an intern in fundraising at a big regional theater. One of my tasks was to take over coordinating food for the actors on Opening Night, which was provided by a local restaurant, from a teammate who was on medical leave. Something about the food didn’t go right, and I complained about it by email to my supervisor. My supervisor wrote back: “You copied the contact at the restaurant. You need to apologize.” My stomach dropped, I felt so embarrassed, and I immediately sent a profuse reply. Looking back, I got really worked up over some chicken wings and a veggie tray. There was no lasting impact on the relationship between the restaurant and the theatre as a result of my mistake. Ever since though, I double check the “Send To” field on every group email.

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

My most exciting project right now is the ROAR Wellness Co.mmunity, an online community that supports folks’ healing and personal growth. It’s a private, members-only site that includes a library of resources, discussion boards with like-minded folks, and regular live workshops and growth circles. Members say The Co.mmunity helps them feel less alone in their healing journeys, keeps them on track with their healing and growth goals, and feels more positive than social media.

Individual therapy is inaccessible for many reasons, one of which is a nation-wide provider shortage. The Co.mmunity helps folks heal and grow in a format that is more accessible than individual therapy. We are going to need solutions like The ROAR Wellness Co.mmunity that increase access to healing resources and experiences, in order to address the lack of sufficient mental health support.

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?

Simply put, if you don’t believe in yourself, you aren’t going to pursue the life that you most want and deserve. In order to feel worthy of that life, you have to believe in yourself.

Many of the folks I work with feel like they aren’t worthy. And the “I’m not worthy” wound is one that I’ve had to work hard to heal, too. We feel we’re not worthy of healthy relationships, not worthy of a great job with enough pay, not worthy of love. So we settle for imbalanced or bad-fit relationships, jobs where we’re routinely taken advantage of, the stress that comes along with not making enough money, and whatever scraps of love we can get from whoever will give them. We end up feeling burned out, depressed, anxious or unfulfilled. In order to reverse these patterns we find ourselves in, we have to shift our relationship to ourselves. As we get closer to feeling worthy, we are able to begin to believe in ourselves.

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?

What you’re describing sounds a bit like wishful thinking. When I talk about believing in yourself, I think that breaks down to believing:

  1. you are good
  2. you deserve to live a life that aligns with your values
  3. life should generally feel good

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

I don’t think I truly believed in myself, as I am, until I was 28 years old. Before I started my healing journey, I believed that I was “too much” and my wants and needs were silly, sensitive, or dramatic. This resulted in me often holding back what I really wanted or needed and overextending myself to make the people around me happy. I tried so hard to not ask for too much that I rarely got what I needed. I stayed in a relationship with this dynamic for just over a decade. I was able to end that relationship when I learned how to believe in myself.

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?

On my healing journey, I wasn’t intentional about learning how to believe in myself. It was a byproduct of shifting how I related to myself. My therapist helped me learn how to feel confident because when I first started to believe in myself, it was an overwhelming experience!

In social work, you learn by doing, and early on, your work is closely supervised by an experienced social worker. I remember when I was first starting out in my private practice, I explained to everyone who reached out to work with me that I was still being supervised in my work. A few folks weren’t interested in working with me because of that. My supervisor helped me realize that she wasn’t going to be in the room providing the therapy, and I needed to believe in my skills, knowledge, and intuition in order to truly help folks. As I’ve grown in my career, this trust in myself and my work has deepened and strengthened from seeing the transformation in the folks I work with.

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

1 . Work on healing your wounds around feeling not good enough, too much, unworthy or undeserving. A good therapist can help you work through these, but if therapy isn’t an option right now, think back to the earliest times you can remember feeling this way. Offer kindness and compassion to your younger self. Try to imagine comforting younger you or offering them what they needed in that moment.

2 . Learn to identify shame and figure out how to let it move through you. Shame is the feeling that goes along with the thought “I’m bad.” Shame is a tool that is often used by parents, peers, and society for social control. If we have a lot of shame about who we are, experiences we’ve had, or things we’ve done, it will be difficult to believe in ourselves. Shame can feel like a burning sensation inside, an urge to hide or get small, or extreme embarrassment. Try to notice when it’s coming up for you and some strategies to release it. You might try: journaling, tracking the sensation of it, deep breathing, or visualizations.

3 . Support changing your beliefs with mantras or “iffirmations”. These are short phrases that re-frame our current thinking into healthier thoughts. If you’re used to thinking, “I’m such a screw-up,” a mantra to counter that could be “I am good at my core.” Sometimes, if a phrase is definitive, it can be too hard for our brain to actually believe it. In this case, an “iffirmation” can be helpful, and you can create them by adding “What if…” to the start of your phrase. So in the example above, “What if I’m not a screw up? What if I am good at my core?”

4 . Let your body help you by power posing. There is a constant stream of information traveling back and forth between our brain and our body. We can let this connection help us by using our body to communicate that we believe in ourselves, even if our minds aren’t so sure. Make some shapes with your body that feel powerful. For example, stand like a superhero with your hands on your hips, spine tall, and chest broad. Hold the pose for at least a minute. It should help you feel more confident. Practice regularly.

5 . Make lists to remind yourself what’s great about you. Make a different list of five things that make you great in the different roles you fill in your life, e.g. friend, sibling, parent, child, employee, partner, etc. There can be some overlap between your lists, but try to come up with some specifics for each role. If you can’t think of anything, ask the folks who experience you in this role (e.g. your friends, co-workers, partner, kids, supervisor, etc.)

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

Looking at the roots of where the self-criticism comes from (see #1 above) will be the most effective as slowing or quieting that negative stream long-term. This healing journey is vulnerable and can be an emotionally painful process that can take some time. In the meantime, you can make a conscious effort to interrupt those thoughts when you notice them coming up. You might say to yourself something like, “I’m noticing I’m being hard on myself again. Those thoughts aren’t helping me right now, so I’m going to set them aside.” Then try to think of something different or reframe the thoughts.

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

Believing in yourself doesn’t have to mean being cocky or over-confident. Cockiness and over-confidence are often masks that hide deeper insecurities. Healthy belief in yourself that is based on your essential goodness and self-compassion will help you be more authentic and true to yourself.

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

It’s okay to feel imposter-y! It happens sometimes! Try to take an honest look at your skills, what you’re doing well, and some areas for improvement. Ask someone to help you with this if you’re getting overtaken by the imposter thoughts.

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 would inspire a movement to shift our culture’s relationship with emotion by teaching every person healthy emotional regulation and communication skills, starting in elementary school. We all need these skills to be successful and live our most rewarding lives, but unless we got really lucky with our parents, no one explicitly taught us these things. We shouldn’t be having to learn these skills in therapy in adulthood.

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 🙂

Brene Brown is one of my social work idols.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can join the ROAR Wellness Co.mmunity at:, follow me on instagram @roarwellnessco, or learn more about me and subscribe to my newsletter at my website:

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


  • 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.