Might you have some of the symptoms of imposter syndrome? If the answer is yes, run don’t walk to my latest podcast!
But if you said “maybe” ask yourself if you’ve ever had these thoughts, or said these things aloud:
- “I am not good enough to have this success or professional position”
- “I have somehow deceived my way here”
- “If I am not careful I will be discovered as a fake”
- “Yes, this is an amazing opportunity and I just got lucky”
- “That so-called success I had last week is not really a big deal / it’s so not important”
- “No I can’t do more it would be dangerous to be visible”
The truth is, everyone has these thoughts now and again. It’s only a problem if you have these thoughts persistently.
What is impostor syndrome?
From an IFS lens perspective, impostor syndrome can be understood as having parts that believe you’re a phony. The beliefs of this part, or parts, fall into 3 categories:
- Feeling like a fake
- Attributing any success to external reasons such as luck and not because you have ability
- Downplaying or discounting any success
These beliefs come into your awareness as feelings and thoughts that hang over you and steal your joy, leaving you with anxiety and even depression.
When you think believe and say these things they do become your reality and your truth.
Let’s prevent any further damage that comes as a result of feeling like an impostor in your own life. Here’s the EZ or lite version of the “prescription” I offer in my podcast.
Step #1: Notice
First of all recognize that you are even having these thoughts. It makes sense you are having them because everyone has them. You are not alone in feeling like a huge fraud sometimes (note: feeling, not being).
Step #2: Get curious
Get to know this part of you who tells you “you are a fake” or “you have never been good enough.” Ask this part, what are you worried could happen if you didn’t think this belief? What if you did not do what you did to protect yourself? It may show you how if you became too visible you would be shamed or humiliated.
This part is just trying to take good care of you. Let’s learn more about that part.
Step #3: Get curiouser and curiouser
You’ve got this part in the room, so to speak, so give it some real attention. Maybe even write from this part and get it down on paper. Ask it to show or tell you what happened in your life that helped form this belief. When? How?
What were you told that you swallowed down without reflection because you were too young and too vulnerable? Take it out and examine this belief.
When we are young we have experiences that shape us and help us develop certain beliefs. Often we live from those beliefs and see them as true without questioning them. We make decisions from those beliefs.
Step #4: Educate this young part of you that things are different now
From the person you are now, visualize telling this younger part of you how old you are now. Use your active imagination to show them your life as it is now and all that you are doing in it.
Notice how it feels to stand in the part holding the belief and how it feels when you are standing in who you are now, listening and understanding from a compassionate nonjudgmental place. In IFS we call it Self. You are bringing your calm, compassionate, and curious Self energy to this part to help it heal.
Memories, like friendships, need updating sometimes. Here’s how.
Many of our parts hold outdated beliefs about who we are and what we need. It’s spring, so air out those old beliefs!
Read my blog post to learn how you can update these memories and beliefs.
“Blender Pet Again” by Flickr user Daniel Nugent is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.