Yes we all suffer from this from time to time, some more often than others… I sometimes feel like I am not “good enough”.
But what exactly is “impostor syndrome’? Let’s have a look at what Wikipedia calls it:
Impostor syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. ‘Impostors‘ suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence.
So…. a collection of feelings… And we know that thoughts become feelings and feelings become things, right. So just “unthink” your thoughts and “unfeel” your feelings… easy right? Well…ahem… no it’s not!
I would know as I have these feelings from time to time, where you belittle your achievements, compare yourself to others and in general make light of your knowledge causing an already fragile self esteem to crack and crumble even more. And then? SELF SABOTAGE baby!!! We “predict” our own downfall and then when it happens we tell ourselves: “See, I knew I wasn’t good enough.”
Impostor Syndrome us feel like an intellectual fraud, rendering us unable to internalize — let alone celebrate — our achievements. Studies have shown this lack of self-belief is correlated with anxiety, low confidence, and self-sabotage.
Where Does It Come From Though?
All these limiting self beliefs can in most cases be traced back to our childhood and early family dynamics. Add to this gender stereotypes, religious beliefs and cultural issues, and we’re pretty much screwed!
For example, if you were always referred to as the “sensitive”; “artistic”; “slow”; “no good”; “naughty” child, you will carry those feelings of inadequacy with you into your adult life. And even if you know for a fact that you are talented, intelligent and super successful you may have difficulty in believing this as it was drummed into you over and over again as a child that you are “no good” and “not worthy”, and these feelings can be very overwhelming.
The thing is that we tell ourselves this bullshit over and over again and then believe that we are not capable, qualified enough, clever enough, or worthy to hold the position in our companies or in life that we have….
This often leads to feelings of anxiety, depression, extreme unhappiness, emotional pain and suffering.
WHY people? WHY???
One of my favorites quotes by Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
How do we overcome these feelings?
One thing you must know is that it might not be easy – but it is entirely possible!
Start by telling someone, it doesn’t have to be a therapist – but do confide in a friend or mentor that you trust and respect. More often that not our view of ourselves is warped and flawed and a friend or mentor can place a whole new perspective on it.
If you “expose” yourself to your friend or mentor, they can either reassure and console you, or they may confirm your fears and you can do something about it – plus unloading the “burden” immediately makes you feel less of an impostor.
Always remember that you are not alone. Even if you feel completely lost and alone, there is ALWAYS someone out there that can love you and support you and lift you when you fall. Find your someone.
Acknowledge your fear and then take the risk anyway. Life is to short to procrastinate people!!! Live. Fall. Fail, Get up. Try again! Success cannot survive without failure and failure is not fatal (unless your space rocket explodes – sorry Elon). But my point is, we are all going to die one day, and quite frankly, I want to die thinking “I can’t believe I did that” as opposed to “Damn I should have tried that”.
STOP being such a freaking perfectionist! Just get off your little pedestal and be human…. AAAAARRRGGGHH shock and horror – yes I said it, be HUMAN. Make mistakes, laugh about it and move on.
Focus on what you CAN do and not on what you can’t do. Focusing on everything that you cannot yet do is counter productive and downright negative! Be positive for Pete’s sake – celebrate and revere the talents you currently have, put them to great use and then if you still worried about what you cannot do – go take lessons and learn how to do it.
STOP comparing yourself to others. You are already everything that you were meant to be, you are uniquely YOU. Accept yourself, love yourself, and be the best version of YOU that you can possibly be (phew… that is a lot of you’s…) My point being that you should never have the need to be a carbon copy of another person when you are fabulous, awesome, amazing and wonderfully talented in your own right. Now OWN it and celebrate it.
Also remember that you are constantly evolving as a person – you are no longer the person you were yesterday and you will be a different person tomorrow… That is life, that is evolution, embrace it.
Furthermore, if you think that you are the only person in this world feeling like an impostor from time to time – think again baby! You are in real good company! Natalie Portman, Maya Angelou, Don Cheadle and Tina Fey (and many more) all battled this at some point in their lives.
My final thoughts on this are as follows:
- It is your attitude and not your aptitude that determines your altitude. You can have 20 degrees and still fail, you can have NO schooling and be a massive success. You can be born dirt poor and become filthy stinking rich, or you can be born rich and die dirt poor. It is all about a “can do” attitude.
- Nobody really have a fucking clue what they are doing… but that should not ever stop you from doing what you want to do and doing THAT thing or THOSE things that sets your soul on fire.
And this is it from me in this blog post folks! Please leave your comments below and tell me what you think, how you feel or simply share YOUR story.
Loads of love