Within our hectic culture of speed dating, social media posturing, and a constant bombardment of advertising which needs us to look good, eat right, exercise , and attain success, a new malady has arisen that people are aptly calling impostor syndrome. Harvard Business Review defines it as suffering from “chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence. People who feel this seem unable to internalize their accomplishments, however successful they are in their field. High-achieving, highly successful people often suffer, so impostor syndrome doesn’t equate with low self-esteem or a lack of self-confidence.”
To put it differently, it’s usually not a manifestation of any mistakes or failures, but it has to do with their perceived inadequacies. What this means is that, whatever the social and financial status or personal and business accomplishments attained on the exterior, someone can still feel like a fraud on the interior.
There’s an intimidating fear that”maybe others will find out who I really am.” A subconscious memory of a single moment–the second grader who stuttered reading while his classmates laughed and mocked him, the seventh grader who strove to create some new friends but had been ignored three times in a row — could become branded onto our identities. Rather than fading into a passing memory, it will become the”truth” about who we actually are.
Here are some tips to help you handle the moments when you find yourself sinking into the seas of those poisonous thoughts and anxieties:
If you’re constantly comparing yourself and your activities to some standard of perfection, you’ll always fail. Substitute the phrase “learning as I go” for “making mistakes” and, should you realize you have made a real blunder, remind yourself that making a mistake doesn’t make YOU a mistake. Slip-ups are part of every human life, and we need to have the ability to fix them without shaming or judging ourselves.
I heard a story before impostor syndrome was a familiar expression which went a little something like this: ” The great Buddhist teacher Pema Chödrön was talking about a time after she was preparing a talk on kindness and compassion. She’d gotten really upset when her granddaughter disrupted an intense lecture-planning session, she then had this idea: What if somebody were taking a movie of how she was speaking to her granddaughter and revealed it to her viewers during her lecture about the gifts of compassion?
In generously sharing this story, Pema softly helped her viewers see how everybody fails to reach their goals and aspirations. In such cases, our job isn’t to beat ourselves up but to compassionately bring ourselves back on track. Though she appears to embody the wisdom she teaches, she has the very same imperfections as everybody else.
Learn the signs of “negative self-talk” so that if you start to see it occurring, you are able to benevolently fix yourself like you are your own nurturing parent. “Whoops, there goes that self-talk about not being good enough”–these ideas can divert your energy. Bear in mind, self-shaming is a HABIT, and our wonderful brains can relearn those routines. If you hear that voice start to criticize, GENTLY admit it is occurring, then, with kindness, knowingly speak to yourself as if you’re a person you love.
There’s no other bus using the”successful non-bozos” on it. Everyone is part of the same human experience. I repeat: There is no other bus than the”bozo bus” since it’s the human condition, which each and every individual on Earth struggles with.
If you’re grappling with these problems, keep in mind that you’re not alone. When an expression such as impostor syndrome becomes common in our culture, it’s because it has struck a proverbial nerve in the a lot of men and women who suffer from it. So breathe deeply and start to build practices that allow you to pause and interrupt your cycles of negative thoughts about yourself: Mindfulness techniques, yoga, meditation, and regular exercise might help; speaking about your issues with friends or mentors can diminish them and lead to approval. Let yourself just experience the”life bus” with the other worrying bozos, and you’ll learn that they, also, contend with all the flaws of their humanity.