This is not the first and it certainly won’t be the last time you stumble across a blog post like this. I have personally seen of a few but never bothered to read because at the time; if I am honest – I didn’t think I had this issue. But actually, I do and I think we all do.
We don’t all go around feeling instantly confident or instantly positive. It’s just not reality! The reality is, we do have negative thoughts but is that really a bad thing? Negative thoughts are a way of reminding us about boundaries and consequences. Not so good when they take over your mind and all you do is think negatively about yourself to the point you develop Imposter Syndrome!
So what is imposter syndrome? And why do you need to know about it?
- Have you ever felt like you don’t belong in a place where you want to belong? Or even worse, where you’ve worked really hard to belong?
- Have you felt like less of a person because of that niggling voice in your head telling you you’re not good enough? Popular enough? Experienced enough? or Intelligent enough?
- Ever questioned why you are in a room of people in the same job/profession/industry, yet you feel like the fraud, despite the best laid efforts and commitements you’ve made?
- Didn’t feel good enough about yourself to be in a lasting and loving relationship?
- Prevented yourself from pursuing goals because you felt they were too big?
- Have you verbally beaten yourself up because of the high expectations you set yourself and failed to reach?
- Has any of this resulted because close ones ridiculed your ideas? Put you down? Knocked and mocked your confidence? Lacked faith in you? Or even stabbed you in the back?
Sound all too familiar? That’s imposter syndrome and we all experience it and it’s totally normal – hooray! So that’s good – you aren’t weird, well; no weirder than the next person.
I have felt and experienced all those things and more! It totally and utterly sucks to feel like you aren’t part of something that you long to be part of because of that shitty unconfident noise going on in your head. It’s also really exhausting, isn’t it?
That kind of constant bashing of yourself will eventually take its toll and will inevitably knock your confidence. Lacking confidence has a huge effect in everyday life. As if our inner demonic voices setting off our internal nuclear weapon red button wasn’t enough to deal with, we have so called friends out there ready and waiting to push you down in order to make themselves feel better.
In addition, I do think the majority of us struggle to blow our own trumpets – it’s almost uncomfortable and can be seen as negative to others. But what I want to show you is that you don’t need to feel like that. Being humbled and by truly empowering others, is much more self-satisfying.
Why do you need to know about it?
Because we need to be aware of the things that are harmful to us and feeling this way about ourselves isn’t beneficial in any kind of way. We need to be kinder to ourselves starting now! And guess what…? You can as there is a way up and out of this never ending cycle program you are on.
It’s not by constant positive thinking either and it’s not by way of affirmations. Most people will assume it’s by practising constant positive thinking – how exhausting! or daily affirmations, telling ourselves that we are worthy and we must believe we are amazing – how unrealistic!
Doesn’t all that sound too much like hard work? Put your hands up if you have spent time and time again trying to concentrate on what you want to happen and how you want to feel and convincing yourself of all these positive things that you will feel?
Again, we all have and it’s totally normal. Quick caveat – practising gratitude is not the same and if you have been practising gratitude – then carry on as it is all part of the simple process that I’ve practised for years and that’s through the art of… yeah, you guessed it… mindfulness.
Argh…. I hear you scream. Not more mindfulness! YES – more mindfulness! A practice which has been around for thousands of years – evolution just seems to have tried other methods but mindfulness is by far the most effective for restoring balance, confidence, realism and keeps you grounded.
I love what effect it has on me and I know it works. Coming from someone who has suffered from depression and high anxiety – I want to shout from the roof tops about something so simple, that everyone CAN DO at any time of the day.
We are heavily influenced by what we read on the internet, what we believe works for successful figures must have the ability to work for us; but that’s not the case.
We need to live in the here and now and in each precious moment and I would like to point out a fundamental thing about this… it involves YOU – yes, you reading this – you are an intelligent person, you are capable of amazing things and you know yourself more than anyone. Only you can live in your here and now moments.
By practising mindfulness you can achieve even greater things, adapt your life how you want to adapt it without limits, challenge and push yourself instinctively.
Eventually, I want to write more posts on practising mindfulness as there are so many techniques you can try but here is a basic one that can be done that’s one of my favourites. I try to do this most mornings or evenings before bed.
- Sit in silence for 2-5 minutes on a chair, feet planted on the floor, back straight, shoulders relaxed and arms rested on your legs and simply breathe.
- Breathe in and out counting each exhale and count up to 10.
This is a great way to stop your mind from going a million miles an hour. You can build up the time frame over the course of the day and week until you are practising around 10 minutes per day as a minimum for a few weeks.
The other technique that I love is noticing thoughts in my mind and labelling those thoughts into categories like frustration, negativity, self-doubt and even positive thoughts about myself. I visualise them either being carried away by the wind, a getting into a car or hopping onto a leaf. Again, there are several tools you just have to find your own method.
So the next time you have one of those imposter syndrome thoughts in your head like…
“I’m not good enough to be a….” or “I’m really crap at…” or “Why should I bother when I am….” fill in the blanks. Pop that thought in a car, slam the door and watch it drive off. Or another one that works well, is by saying the thought in your head and use a funny voice. It makes the thought sound silly – because it actually is silly.
There are lots of amazing materials available that you can use to develop your own strategy which I have highlighted throughout my blog. Feel free to check out my previous posts on this subject as there are some incredible benefits to practising mindfulness.
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