Impostor syndrome is defined as “a psychological pattern in which person doubts their accomplishments, and has a persistent internalised fear of being exposed or seen as a fraud”. Despite external evidence of their competence and deserving success (for example college degree, unique talents and skills, work ethics, professional achievements…) those experiencing this type of psychological pattern remain convinced that they are “frauds” – they are faking it and in some way, shape, or form do not deserve to be at the place that they are or to be successful.
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Take some time for self-reflection and answer the following questions:
- Do you attribute your success to luck, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking that you are smarter or more competent, than you perceive yourself to be?
- Do you feel unworthy of success?
- Do you fear that one day someone may “expose” you for being “fake” or “fraud” and that you will lose everything you have worked so hard for?
- Do you suffer from perfectionism and self-criticism?
- Do you feel constant pressure to be “the best” and “top achiever” in order to “prove” your worth to others (and to yourself)?
- Do you feel pressure to get all kind of degrees and certificates out there, related to your niche and profession, just because you feel that with your current level of skills and knowledge you are not good enough (or you will never be good enough)?
If the answer on any of the questions above was “YES”, it is very likely that you are suffering from this psychological “phenomenon” called the impostor syndrome! You need to have in mind that no matter how hard you work, how much money you make, and how many certificates and degrees you get – you will never feel worthy enough and good enough if you do not heal the feeling of unworthiness and increase your self worth! It will be a never-ending chase of misery and a vicious cycle. Below are the practices that can help you to overcome the impostor syndrome:
1. Stop With Self Criticism!
You cannot possibly feel worthy if you are criticizing yourself all the time, telling yourself how you are not good enough, you’re unworthy, you are “fake”, you don’t know it all… You need to replace self belittling thoughts with self-empowering thoughts! Every time you catch yourself thinking negatively about yourself, stop, take a deep breath, and immediately turn over that thought into a more positive one. For example:
“I will never be good enough!”
“I am learning, improving, and growing each and every day!”
Same way, you cannot feel worthy if you are talking negatively of yourself all the time. You need to replace self belittling talk with self-empowering talk. Similarly, if you catch yourself saying negative things about yourself or criticising yourself out loud, take a deep breath and say something more positive and empowering!
2. Practice Self Empowering Affirmations
Affirmations can help you if you use them for a long time on a consistent basis. Below are some powerful affirmations that you can speak every morning or write them down in your planner/journal every day right when you wake up:
“I deserve all the happiness, success, and abundance because I have unique talents and skills which are providing massive VALUE to other people!”
“There are no such things as mistakes in life – only lessons that can make me wiser in the future.”
“I let go of negative self-talk – I am becoming my biggest cheat leader!”
“I am valuable, extraordinary, and worthy woman!”
“I am making positive impact in the world each and every day with my work, my expertise, and my message!
One of the very powerful ways to use affirmations is to write them on your mirror with lipstick. As you will be seeing every day the reflection of yourself in the mirror with the words on the mirror, your subconscious mind will start creating the association between you and the quality that is written. Write on the mirror “I AM WORTHY” or “I AM ENOUGH” with the lipstick and see the magic happening.
3. Success Journaling
One more practice that can help you with dealing with the impostor syndrome is journaling about your success and your achievements. For start, note down all your (small) successes, rewards, and achievements in your life. Then reflect on that list and write down:
- How hard you worked for it;
- What all actions steps did you take to achieve it;
- How much time, energy, and money you have invested into getting to a place where you are today;
Then reflect on all that you wrote: you will able to see that it was YOU who was pursuing your dream. It was YOU who was working hard for it. It was YOU who invested all that time and energy into learning and the skills and taking all the actions steps. It was YOU who sacrificed so many nights out with your friends or lazy nights on the couch with the movie in order to work on your goals.
It was YOU who had what it takes – IQ, ambition, work ethics, creative and professional ideas… that made it happen! It was the time and energy that YOU have invested in building the unique talents and set of skills that have helped you to become who you are today! Yes, there have been Grace and there may have been moments of luck, but without YOU putting in the work and learning the required skills and gaining the expertise – nothing would have come into fruition!
4. Self Love and Self Care Practice
The impostor syndrome stems from feelings of unworthiness! Therefore, it is essential that you love yourself and devote time to self-care! With feelings of unworthiness, it may be difficult to love yourself unconditionally as you may be constantly bashing yourself down, critiquing yourself, and putting yourself last! You have to change that! Practice self compassion – treat yourself as you would treat someone you deeply care about! Forgive yourself for past mistakes. Start putting yourself and your happiness as a priority on the TO-DO list!
Schedule time for self-care practice (body care bubble bath, SPA, nourishing food, cup of good detox-tea, relaxing with a good book or in nature, body movement…). If you do not have the time for SELF care – what kind of message do you give your subconscious mind (that you are not worthy of all of -even- your own time!?!). Have in mind that self-love is not selfish – it is self-full! Only when you take good care of yourself you can show up for your work, clients, family… in the east light!
5. Invest In YOUrself
Reflect on how you are investing your money? Money is the symbol of value exchange, so where you invest it shows what do you truly value on a subconscious level! If you are suffering from the impostor syndrome, chances are that you are investing ton of money on things that you think will (externally) make you appear, look, and “feel” more worthy, like for example certification after certification, endless professional trainings, or even material goods like luxury bags, designer clothes…
But, at the same time, you may find it difficult to invest in YOU – like for example on self-care, self-development programs, personal coaching and mentoring, and your spiritual growth. Or you may be putting yourself last when it comes to spending, after taking care of needs of (all) the other people in your life, which on subconscious level reaffirms your perception of yourself as an unworthy woman and severs the impostor syndrome!
6. Learn That You Are Worthy To Receive
If you are struggling with the impostor syndrome chances are that you may be very reluctant in asking people for help (as you do not feel like you’re worthy of it), or your insecurity about self is so high that you would feel asking for help or hiring someone to help you would “prove” how “fake”, “wrong”, and “incapable” you are, which is way far from the truth! You are worthy of love and support, and you need to open your heart to RECEIVE it. There is nothing wrong in asking for help – it is not showing our weakness, but instead showing our level of trust in another person and giving them a chance to show us how much we mean to them!
It is essential that you learn to receive help from other people, in order to increase your self-worth! Ask little favors, allow people to help you when they offer to do so, and receive compliments and gifts with grace! Hire a VA or an assistant if you are swamped with work, and give yourself permission to outsource or delegate things, like for example having a domestic help at home, even for few hours a week, so that you can have more time for self-care. If you feel too much crippled with low self worth, it would be helpful to hire a life coach or a therapist who can help you overcome it much easier and faster.
Have in mind that the impostor syndrome is a “psychological phenomenon” – it is the “story” created in your mind, by your mind, fed by your limiting beliefs and feelings of unworthiness – not the truth of who you are and what you are capable of!!!
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