Overcoming Impostor Syndrome | How to Silence the Inner Critic
You can picture me in bed, with comfy clothes (incudling socks!) on, because today I am deciding I want to be my own friend when my mind unconsciously becomes against me. This isnt a “Oh Ive been there before, here’s what you should do” kind of blog post. Nor is this a “how to end impostor syndrome FOR GOOD” article.
Because I am here. Still. I feel the Impostor Syndrome and it comes crawling back every once in a while. And I decided that the way to tackle it is to create, to write, to turn the mess into a message.
Wikipedia describes Impostor syndrome as “a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud"”
Okay wow. That was only the first sentence. And let’s break it down…yo.
a psychological pattern - pattern, meaning, it is repetitive. It always comes back, and the higher the goals you try to work on, the worse it can be. But hey, it’s psychological, so it’s just in our head!
Doubts their accomplishment - Do you, too? Even after all the people telling you how good you are doing, even amidst the praises, the recognition.. there still is that little voice that says “who are you to..?”
Persistent / internalized fear - And today is one of those days I feel overcome by how persistent this thing INSIDE me has been.
Fear of being exposed as a fraud - oh hey. I kinda just wanna curl up and hide. Maybe.
How to tell you’re suffering from Impostor Syndrome? Here are some symptoms and signs:
Lack of self confidence
Negative self talk
Feelings of inadequacy and “im not good enough”
Doubting your abilities and skills
Dwelling on past mistakes
I think we all have fears that we keep in our pockets and try to hide from others. The impostor phenomenon feeds on that and there are days it makes the fear so much bigger and seem more powerful than it really is, leaving us feeling so paralyzed, not being able to do anything because we dont think we are good enough for it.
Or it can come when youre on your highest. When you actually feel good about yourself, suddenly there’s a rush of thoughts such as
“but until when?”
“theyre gonna find out I’m just faking. That I’m a fraud. That I fooled them to thinking Im this way.”
“Am I being too much? Do I make others fee uncomfortable with how happy I actually am with myself and accomplishments?”
“Who do I think I am??”
With the good and bad, I know that I’m given only what I can take. And I always always ask God to check on my heart. Because when Im proud of myself, it is also very easy to be attacked with thoughts like these or to accuse myself of being ‘full of it’ when all I wanted to do was celebrate myself. And I’m doing my best not to wallow in it and shrink myself just because something tells me that me taking up this big of a space makes others uncomfortable.
I grew up in a very self-deprecating environment where memes are about hating oneself and humor is found in comparing ourselves to the trash can. Haha um? I think it’s time we end that and turn our interests towards cheering ourselves on.
I keep a list of blog posts I want to write and the Impostor Syndrome has been in it but I didnt plan on writing about it WHILE battling it— the self doubt, the fear.. The blind cant lead the blind, or can they? I guess my biggest leverage is that we get to tackle it together. And Im as honest as I can be. We are doing this together. And just saying that makes it so much lighter knowing I am not alone in feeling this way.
And that what I feel is valid and Im allowed to feel it, instead of “just get over it.”
The Two Trees
I was watching a video by Yoga with Adriene where she was doing yoga outside. In the video, there were two trees on the background. One is very healthy, full of leaves, bearing with fruits and it stands tall. On the other hand, there is this tree on her left side that looks like a good representation of trees during winter. No leaves, bearing no fruit or whatever. And while following along to the yoga practice, it made me think, the trees are in the same place, just a few meters from each other, and yet they are worlds different. How could it be?
I realised that that’s how we are as people too. We could be under the same sun, enjoying the same rain, but end up so different from each other. As I thought about it more, the tree on the right side, standing tall in its full glory, helps and contributes so much to the universe. She is able to bear fruits that serve as food, her leaves gives off shade where people could rest, and her branches provide home for birds. Not to mention the oxygen she breathes out which gives others fresh air to breathe.
But the tree on the left, wallowing in itself, choosing to play small, isnt helping anyone at all.
I hope you choose to be the abundant tree. Because youre doing not only yourself, but also the entire universe, a disservice when you play small. You are allowed to take up space. It is okay for you to be big. Actually, it is a MUST for you to be big. Because there are people who need your shade, your fruits, your talent, your voice, your words, your message. There are people who resonate with you and count on you.
Affirmations from my Higher Self
Here are some things I repeat to myself over and over when it kicks in.
I am allowed to take up space.
I believe in my skills and abilities.
I do not have to attain perfection or mastery before I allow myself to feel worthy and successful.
The light that shines from inside me helps light up another in the darkness.
I have a right to be here simply because I am here.
I am qualified simply because I decided to be.
God’s glory is manifested THROUGH me. He is my qualification.
My story is my gift to the world and I decide to share it.
What I have to say is valuable and other people want to hear it.
I am allowed to be a work in progress and to help others at the same time.
I am wanted here and I belong anywhere I allow myself to be.
Prove The Inner Critic Wrong
Here’s a journal from March 2017.. A proof that it’s been here for years HAHHA
Reasons why I SHOULDN’T doubt myself:
I have a God whose love for me can move mountains and calm the seas.
I’m vvv passionate!!
Girls are strong!! I’m a girl!
I inspire people.
I see love in everything.
Maybe today you should make your list too. Or it could be a list of proofs that you are a badass. If nothing comes out of you, you can pull out old letters or testimonials from friends and people youve worked with. I recently did this for a workshop and it’s always a good reminder that hey, other people actually think Im good and want to see me succeed!
Start creating. Divert your focus and turn that fear/doubt into motivation or a fuel to create. Just like what we did in this post!
And if you think you need a permission to bloom, girl, give it to yourself.
And Remember This.
I hope you know that your pain is not meaningless. Though we can’t tell just yet, I promise that the pain serves a purpose. It is doing something. It is teaching you, molding you. Or if youre like me, the pain will give you the words to help others. Whatever it is, I hope you trust that it will make sense soon enough. It is valid. And it is momentary. You are so loved.
Here, I’ll leave you with my favorite quote..
and ps. It’s only today that it made sense why it’s my favorite afterall. Now, I’m grateful for the pain for making me realise it. I hope soon you’ll find the reason to be grateful for yours too.
I’m an email away, my loves.