Have you ever felt like a fake? a fraud? Like you do not belong where you are in life. And that you do not deserve all that you have achieved or earned in this life or at any stage of life. And it’s just a matter of time till you make a mistake and everyone finds out who you truly are. Similar to this feeling is thoughts like “what am I doing here? Am I even this good at this? What if they find out about the real me, the person am pretending to be. Looks like am just faking it, acting like I am the best there has ever been.
That right there is a common disorder that is referred to as “Imposter syndrome”, a feeling like you are “pretending” to be what you are not and this happens to almost everybody. Right from entrepreneurs, students, musicians, creatives, leaders, performing artists, actors, teachers, its an almost compulsory feeling in whatever industry you are in. Some of the signs of this imposter syndrome feeling may include; a tendency to focus on the one thing about yourself than your strengths, you deem your own efforts and hard work, nervousness before you do this particular role or perform or execute at it, you all of a sudden lose your sense of pleasure and motivation to do the things you are very passionate about, you attribute your success to other people; even for things you have worked so hard to achieve at, self-sabotage, worrying that they’ll not live up to others’ expectations, constantly getting off course and being buried in your head with thoughts of the fear of being doubted whether you are really the rightful person for the job and feeling like maybe you are going to lose out on it and how everybody is going to be laughing at the clown you are and have been trying so hard for a long time to hide.
Like I earlier mentioned this happens to everybody, and it is OKAY to feel this way sometimes. This means that you are normal, genuinely care and are human. There’s nothing wrong about feeling this way; you however do not have to contain or allow these feelings stay around for long and dominate your mind for a long time. You have to quickly realize when these thoughts start forming in your head, holding a grip of you and snap out of it.
This syndrome often causes one to even find it so hard to take complements, be it from close friends, family or even strangers, your mind will always talk to you into thoughts like “Come on, it’s not like I really deserve this, they are kidding, right? And are merely being sarcastic about the whole thing and all” but of course much as it never come out of your mouth, it silently runs through my head. Because imposter syndrome like it sounds means you feel like you are pretending to be what you are not, more like a fraud, a loser in hiding, a fake but this is not what you are. Its just all in your head and here are the few ways I found that can help us, you and I to overcome, and counter such feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt each time they start developing in our minds.
First. You have to realize this is just a human defect. It’s totally to feel this way since it is temporary and the earlier you recognize such thoughts as soon as they begin to crop up in your mind the better. Chuck Jones, creator of “Pepe Ie Pew” and “Wile E. Coyote” says that FEAR (when combined with anxiety are both parts and part of the process) that causes imposter syndrome and contribute a major speck of importance as a factor of any creative work. This, like I said is totally part of being human since it shows that you do love what you do, care to provide or give a stunning product or performance or output of it to your audience and consumers.
Two. Do remember that this whole “I am not really as good enough at this as enough thinks of me” talk is just one lame conversation taking place in your head, that you have to mute. Pay completely no mind to it. Because when we are mindful of our own thoughts and stories, we can be able to build space away from them, we can question them, so that we cannot be controlled by them. Through questioning and challenging these thoughts with a rational rebuttal (an act of refuting something by presenting contrary evidence like questioning yourself as to why you are feeling what you feel at the moment, and why, and whether it is true that what you are thinking of yourself is true or it is just you judging yourself unfairly), we will clearly see that they (these negative thoughts of self-doubt and emptiness aren’t true.
Also writing down these negative thoughts down that you feel at the moment and having a rational rebuttal about them is an equally amazing way to deconstruct and take the oxygen and power from that negative thought.
Similar to the second antidote for when feelings of imposter syndrome start to develop in your mind (above) is to replace those negative thoughts with rational counterstatements. In other words, be KIND and gentle to yourself. Like you would do or treat a little child as you are telling them not to feel bad about maybe having broken a glass, the home flask or even ruined their homework. With the same gentle rock and soft-spoken way you treat and talk to them in such a scenario with, you should speak to yourself in the same way each time your mind attempts to start feeling inadequate and empty your can of confidence and self-belief in your abilities.
The third and final tip to curing the imposter syndrome is; keep reminders of success on hand. These can be emails from friends, family, supporters, your superiors, accolades, or letters that you may have received. It could also be screenshots of where someone wrote something good about you or the activity you were engaged in. it could also be great to make a phone call to a close friend/colleague of yours (preferably one with whom you relate with with ease) so you can get true perspective and be reminded of who you truly are and of the greatness and ability that lies within you.
Imposter Syndrome is something that affects us all but up and most important to note above all is that it can be overcome. So, do not hesitate to share this article with a friend in case you found it helpful and incase you do know other ways we you could share or add onto these few measures I’ve shared on how to overcome this order, please be sure to share them below in the comments section.
Otherwise until then, Talk to you in the next one. Stay blessed and goodbye.