What is Imposter Syndrome?Jun 28, 2022
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
~ Marianne Williamson
Happy Tuesday, friend!
Today I would like to share with you something that's called "imposter syndrome". In my work, I am seeing a number of amazing, talented, and incredible people being affected by it. And they hide their light from the world out of fear of being imperfect, not good enough, or not up to their/imposed standards.
First, if this is you, know that you are not alone. Some studies show that imposter syndrome affects 9% to 83% of all adults. And it appears in both men and women.
It may show up in situations where you need to showcase your skills, but you are also being judged, and/or you perceive external judgment. For example, nowadays, if you are on social media, you are being judged all the time, and this may trigger feelings of insecurity, perfectionism, thoughts that “I need to work or try harder,” or even fear of expressing yourself and your thoughts. Or, you may see it if you are called to take a leadership position, and you have people who look up to you for guidance and direction.
Thus, it ends up as self-sabotage, when you hide your light, opinions, skills, talents, and even your purpose from the world, out of fear of being not good enough. Or, it may show up as working too hard and too much - overworking, to prove yourself being good enough. Either of those is not healthy.
There is no shame in it and no guilt. Since the world is now calling many of us to step out of our comfort zone and do things that feel scary, unknown, and outside of the known. It calls us to be leaders, with kind hearts, and not the followers.
Let’s unpack the imposter syndrome so that you have a better understanding of its origins and how to heal it.
- The origins.
Most of us have been raised in environments where unconditional love wasn’t present. Respectful parenting philosophy is only now on the rise. A decade or a few ago, most children were not to be seen, only heard. This results in many complexes.
To grow into confident, creative, outspoken, and grounded adults, most children need a special environment:
- Secure attachment to at least one parent
- Acceptance of all emotions
- Safe environment, where parents are emotionally and physically present
- Ability to experiment, play, explore, and make mistakes
- Be loved and accepted under different circumstances
- Allowed freedom of choice and expression
When these basic needs aren’t met, a child learns to be co-dependent – on someone else. And when he/she/they want to carve their own path and step out of the “what has been taught’ - this might elicit fear. “What if I won’t be accepted and loved as I am, with my own thoughts, ideas, and imagination.”
In many ways, this unintentional parenting suppresses creativity and independent decision-making. No wonder, in situations, when you need to be a leader, you feel paralyzed, because it touched on your core survival instincts. Still, you do need to make a choice: stepping into the role of being an adult.
There is too much to say about healing. And this article won't give it full justice, since healing is a process of returning back to yourself on all levels - emotional, spiritual, mental, conscious, and subconscious.
But a huge part of the process involves reparenting yourself. Instead of feeling disempowered by your past (or present), you learn to be a parent to yourself, so that you learn to be confident, creative, outspoken, authentic, present, and heart-centered. You need to give yourself the very things that your inner child would benefit from:
- Secure attachment – unconditional love
- Acceptance of all emotions
- Safe environment, and being emotionally present with yourself, rather than running away from your emotions (whatever they are)
- Time and space to experiment, play, explore, and make mistakes
- Forgiveness and compassion
- Freedom of choice and expression
- Awareness and honesty
- Humor and laughter (to keep things light)
This process takes time, space, willingness, dedication, repetition, and great awareness. It might also elicit anger, grief, and/or sadness. Or, for that matter, any other emotions that have been suppressed for a while. Yet, on the other side of this transformation is freedom and an opportunity to be fully yourself and shine your light.
I want to finish with a quote from Marianne Williamson “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I wish you to shine your light