Imposter Syndrome: Five Ways to Feel Better
There are a million things that try to stand in our way when we endeavor to do something we care about.
Probably even more than when it’s something we don’t actually care about.
Imposter Syndrome—That feeling that tells you you aren’t who you are—is one of life’s most venomous beasts.
I don’t say venomous lightly…
We’re talking about a thing that tries to undermine our whole existence.
How can we be imposters at something that’s a self-made construct, anyway? It may sound harsh, but I find it liberating to know that that is what we humans are. After being given that initial gift of life, we continue on as inventions that invent ourselves each day.
We can’t be imposters of ourselves. We can only be ourselves.
Good and bad.
We have these great big brains that criticize and overthink things…
Let us be more like dogs.
We want that next morsel, that next belly rub, the next adventure…just like them.
Their naiveté in their quest to live is authentic.
Our lack of naiveté does not make us un-authentic, it makes us horrible to ourselves.
We are all just trying to dog.
Because this past month has been ridiculously full of travel and new experiences, I have not been able to get into a productive writing zone.
I haven’t had more than three days of consistent living in one place.
Lately, my first thought when I wake up is about how terrible I feel. It’s melodramatic, I’m first to admit.
My inner critic lashes out for not writing more. For not sticking to my routine of a new post every day, etc.
I am trying to destroy myself.
When I came back from my retreat in Italy, I was nothing if not fully confident in my path toward becoming a writer.
Now it is only doubt.
Questions on whether or not I can see this through, feeling like I’m a sham, reminders that in less than a month I have fallen off the ladder. And I lie here at the base barely able to pick up a pen.
Yet I know that this month has been filled with necessary and enriching experiences. I’m planting a creativity garden, so to speak.
I went to Standing Rock, I visited several old and true friends, I packed up my house to transition into living rent-free, I tied up loose ends here in Los Angeles. A ridiculous amount of a certain type of work has been accomplished this month.
But because it’s not writing, I can only find the room to chastise myself.
Describing it like that, I feel ridiculous.
A few days ago, after I woke up and pressed play on my daily first thoughts of terrible.
Then I had an epiphany:
“Meggan, why do you let that record repeat?” I asked. And I decided instead to begin saying: “I’m so happy, I’m so happy, I’m so happy.”
It was a simple switch. I stopped letting myself dwell on the horrible words that fostered self-hatred…
And it worked.
This was a combination of mantra and self-talk, and it’s one of the ways I wrestle with Imposter Syndrome once I become conscious that the complex has kicked in.
Here are five ways tools for overcoming Imposter Syndrome:
Your mind is an engine. Fill it with the right type of fuel.
Beautiful spirits are constantly defeated because the stories they tell themselves are simply wrong.
There is a magic that takes place when you plant the mental seeds that are mantras.
Think of the repetitions as “existence fertilizer.”
Simply repeat a thought.
That’s all you have to do (but you can read more techniques here). When you’re walking, riding a bike, cooking…whenever you feel the risk of slipping into a dark hole, begin repeating a positive mantra.
Here are some of my favorites:
I come from greatness, I attract greatness. I am greatness.
I believe in L.U.C.K. Love. Understanding. Compassion. Kindness.
I attract extraordinary wealth.
Whatever you need to hear—and whether or not you believe it—tell it to yourself over and over and over again.
You will see results.
If everybody journaled every day, I am positive the world would be a better place. I think Benjamin Hardy at the Observer would agree.
I would have had better boyfriends. You mom would have mommed you better. Your boss would be able to pull that stick out of his/her ass.
Imposter Syndrome doesn’t stand a chance when you are putting words to paper. A filter comes off.
If you journal stream-of-consciousness style, you spit out those demons. Through some form of magic, realization is born.
Often times I “wake-up” mid-writing to see something I’ve just penned is ludicrous, and as I continue to break it down, I begin to take hold of who I am again.
Even if it’s just one page a day, make writing a priority. I suggest doing it before you get out of bed until it becomes a morning addiction.
3. Success List
It seems so simple, childlike even, but keeping a list of your successes is one of the best forms of Imposter Syndrome treatment.
In essence, Imposter Syndrome is just a silly technique our darker mind uses to beat us down.
We need to be able to remind Imposter Syndrome that it’s a stupid asshole.
A success list will remind you of what you’ve achieved in life. Include every little thing. Learning to ice skate, being happily married, being happily single, making that dankass cake, writing a blog post two days ago…anything that took work, talent, or discipline should go on your success list.
Keep it on your phone so that you can access it anytime, because I know you have your phone on you all the time.
One of the worst parts about Imposter Syndrome is that it truly causes us to be cruel to ourselves.
Compassion is something we’re often willing to feel toward others, but seldom comfortable with feeling toward ourselves.
We are only human.
We are crazy, inexplicable, and ridiculous life-forms. We forget things, we feel depressed, we try hard, we’re raw and vulnerable, we miss our childhoods, we miss safety, we miss love.
In our hearts, we are sweet babes that just want happiness.
It’s not easy being a human. It’s not easy being you
We must take the highest part of ourselves and charge that part with loving all the other dimensions of our being. The inner children that need love most. The broken histories that make homes in our heart.
We must have compassion toward ourselves, because sometimes there is nobody else there to do it.
We deserve it.
You are not one thing.
Being a human is not something we can understand. It’s Mindfuck City, Population: All of Us.
What I can tell you is that you change on a daily basis.
How can you be an imposter at something when you can’t even put your thumb on it due to the simple nature of its inconstancy?
One of my tried-and-true methods of bringing myself off the ledge when life overwhelms me is to remind myself how “unimportant” it all is.
In that unimportance, I am able to place importance on the things of my choosing.
We are all going to die, we are all going to be forgotten.
Trying to place importance on the minuscule actions we take day-to-day is nigh on egoistic. We are doing the best we can, we change our minds, we fuck up, and at the end of the day we die and all is well.
Our best bet is to pursue our passions, follow our nose, and truly do the best we can in a quest to feel happy and fulfilled.
I am what I am.
There is nobody holding me to a standard. I am a writer.
There’s not a rule book on what one needs to be a writer.
You know who just popped into my head?
The woman who wrote 50 Shades of Grey.
The asshole judgmental part of myself would like to say, “Ugh. She probably calls herself a writer. What shit.”
And you know what? If she thinks she is a writer, she is. She is not an imposter no matter what snobs like me would like to say.
There would be an argument if she called herself an author of high literary fiction. But she’s just being an author. She writes. All right.
We do what we do, title or not, and it is what we are.
We cannot impose ourselves on our own selves, we are just the thing.
So tell me:
When does imposter system make you its bitch?
What do you do to fight it?
Do you find it sneaks up or can you feel the first pangs?
How and why do we so often let it win??
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