Have you ever felt like a fraud or been afraid that you would be found out?
This is a fear that so many women have and it's called the Imposter Syndrome. I had dealt with it for years and honestly, it kind of sucks.
It's the feeling that no matter how beautiful people tell you you are, or how talented and smart, how many straight A's you get or degrees you have or promotions at your job -- you still feel inadequate and not good enough.
You could be the best photographer in the world but not be charging enough for your services, or be the life of the party and yet feel like no one likes you.
It showed up in my life when I went to Harvard for graduated school. I would think, "I'm not really smart enough to be here." I graduated towards the top of my class but still somehow felt like I had cheated the system, not deserving the good grades I received.
The imposter syndrome never lets you be truly happy. You never make the money you deserve, you don't take pride in your accomplishments, you believe any success is a matter of luck, or you fear that people will find out 'who you truly are'.
This is bullshit because you are beautiful. You are smart. You are talented. You are worthy of love.
If no one told you this enough growing up, I'm going to tell you now. And I'm going to keep telling you until you start to believe it. I offer more guidance on self-compassion and happiness in my free guide here.
Now, it's time to do some mental yoga! Here are a few steps to deal with the Imposter Syndrome:
1. Become a mental warrior by learning to observe your thoughts. This is mindfulness practice that goes a long way to reducing stress. When you start to feel like a fraud notice how it shows up in your body. Observe the stress or tension in your body and really feel it, without telling yourself the story in your head.
2. Use Byron Katie's four questions to snap out of it.
This is powerful stuff that helps you to stop believing everything you think.
1. Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)
2. Can you absolutely know that it's true? (Yes or no.)
3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without the thought?
3. Create a space to remind yourself of the bad ass you are.
I personally keep a file called 'Inspiration' filled with emails people have written to me telling me that my work has touched their life in some way. You can post degrees you've received, inspirational quotes, photos of you with friends (furry friends count), whatever reminds you of how awesome you are.
4. Stop the comparison game.
If you spend time on Facebook and find yourself comparing yourself to other people and their successes, this will fuel the feeling of not being good enough. You are unique and your divine gifts are yours and only yours. Everyone's life and timeline for their accomplishments are different - and that's a good thing!
Stop checking Facebook five times a day and being envious of the new car your neighbor bought (okay truth telling, my neighbors just bought a new Mercedes and I was a little jealous). But then my husband reminded me of everything we have to be grateful for and I was snapped back to Earth.
"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, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?" - Marianne Williamson
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