FIGHT IMPOSTOR SYNDROME
– by Aisha Singh
Did you ever have thoughts like, why I can’t be smart like her, why I can’t be successful as he is, why I’m I not perfect, why can’t I handle things flawlessly like everybody else. Everyone else is being a responsible and I’m over here struggling consistently. If you can relate to any of these feelings, you might be dealing with Impostor Syndrome. And you may find it’s gotten worse due to social media, where we see what other people’s lives are like, and unintentionally begin comparing ourselves to them.
Here is my Podcast if you want to listen about Steps to get rid of Impostor Syndrome
I have personally struggled with Impostor Syndrome. I used to feel like I’m not capable of anything, and I was always trying to keep up myself in front of every other person. That self-doubt was always lingering within me, sometimes self-doubt thoughts were fleeting and sometimes I could sway them out of my mind in a few seconds. Other times, they loom over me for hours or say days.
They are just these moments of self-doubt in which I feel like I have nothing original. It feels like everything I want to do or say has already been done, and someone else already said it better. I’m not fit to think that I have ideas that are worth sharing. These thoughts were killing my self-esteem and was only getting worse every moment.
Over a period, I realised that I have no way to get out it and nobody can help me to get out of it other than myself. I knew that I possess the ability to confront Impostor Syndrome but figuring out a process to manage Impostor Syndrome was the bigger task. What I understood in the process of discovery is that there is no solution that can make Impostor Syndrome go away permanently.
Today Impostor Syndrome is not something I deal with anymore, but if you are dealing with it, I can confidently let you know that you’re not the only one grappling with it.
I started working with few strategies on myself, it helped me to sway out the feeling of being an impostor when the feeling popped up within me. Here, I’m sharing some strategies from personal experience that might help you while countering. I’ve chosen few pointers (tested and tried) that have been most helpful for me over the years, and I hope they’ll be helpful for you, too.
I started reflecting on my shortcomings, I realised Self-Acceptance is an important part of growth and improvement.
Do not shy away from your shortcomings, don’t push yourself to be flawless, or perfect in anything and everything. Don’t think of you being labelled or assessed. Stop making yourself feeling disgusted upon being failed. Instead, recognise that the feeling what you are going through is Impostor Syndrome and it is normal. Negative thoughts will likely creep in your head from time to time. It’s something that people in all walks of life have struggled with, particularly women. Even the most successful and accomplished people we know have admitted to feeling like they aren’t doing enough and aren’t good enough, they feel they can do much better. Here Impostor Syndrome means you’re wanting to be your best self. But also accept these feeling is just a part of growth and improvement, and plan strategies for countering it.
Let me give you situations here to plan your strategies accordingly.
I’m about to meet my school friend after ages, now we both are settled. Before meeting her, I started thinking and recollecting our good old days. I further thought how she was in school and she will be surprised to see me today so successful. I finally meet her, but I start feeling that she is far better than me today. Even yesterday she was always better than me. Nothing changed and she is so happy for herself, though she is not working still she is so happy about it. And me slogging for hours managing everything I’m still not happy.
My thoughts conquering strategy:
I knew that I’m working hard for my commitments which I made for myself and no one asked me for it. I own the responsibility of my situation.
2) Observations of eruptions
Impostor Syndrome is a normal feeling. Don’t judge yourself for it or set an unrealistic expectation that you should never feel that way. Instead, train yourself to simply be aware of what is happening. Pay attention to the things, ideas, and people who unconsciously cause you to doubt yourself. Notice the feelings and talk to yourself:
Something in this situation is triggering feelings of self-doubt. I’m feeling a bit uneasy right now. But just because I’m thinking and feeling this way at the moment doesn’t mean that’s true or that I need to give any consideration to it. I just need to let go of my thoughts now.
I’m all excited for my sister’s wedding, I have all planned colour coding accordingly. I will be wearing the best designer outfit of the town, I’m so excited and waiting for the D day to come. On the D day I see my other cousins are wearing beautiful dresses and is complimenting them. I feel I’m looking fat or I’m overdressed, or my curves are not good anymore or people are complimenting them not me.
My thoughts conquering strategy:
I have been extremely busy with the marriage preparations single handed and I’m proud that I could so much all alone, now it’s time to enjoy the occasion. I know how beautiful this dress is and how beautiful I’m looking I deserve my compliment not others.
3) A rich palette of tones and timbres
There is a saying that you could be the juiciest, sweetest peach in the orchard and there is still going to be somebody who walks past you with a turned-up nose because they don’t like peaches.
It is impossible to please everyone and don’t try to do it also. Instead use criticism as an opportunity to resonate your situation. Embracing the fact that not everything is for everybody will help you move past feelings of impostor. Always be open to the critique to self-reflect. When you are grounded firmly behind your choices and embrace your ability to accept yourself you can confront to sway away Impostor Syndrome without trying to seek permission or approval of every person.
I’ve witnessed that when I truly analyse my decisions and know I’m making the right ones, I won’t feel so much like a fraud when someone questions or criticises me and I can rebound from Impostor Syndrome more quickly as I know the concrete of it.
I had started a boutique, and that boutique was not making profits but was going through break even. Every person at my place started pestering me to shut it down and sit at home. I had lost my confidence to a level that for ever boutique decisions I started taking approvals from my inmates. I used to wait sometimes for hours if they were busy, in this way I lost prospective clients.
My thoughts conquering strategy: I knew why I started boutique, and educated self to scale it. I made myself aware that I’m able to take decisions and hold myself for the consequences. I decided to take charge of self without giving a damn to critics. I realised if don’t stand for something I will stand for anything and everything. I chose to value self!
4) It is ok to be imperfect
We have been bought up feeding perfection, to be perfect in whatever we do but we fail to realise that nothing can be perfect first time or the nth time. Every time things get better than the previous time. Why being perfect adds so much value in our lives, it’s ok to be imperfect. You must drop the persona as Grown-Up-In-Charge-Who-Knows-Everything, and instead position yourself as a fellow learner to learn new things and keep practising. Be vocal about your imperfection to make other people realise that it’s ok to be imperfect and accepting it adds value not labels.
The day you don’t have to fake your way through as much Impostor Syndrome will be easier to manage. Don’t fear failure, it’s just a feedback to success to not stop dreaming.
In a competition I lost to the team who was less educated then I’m. I feel so low and ashamed of myself, I didn’t even know few simple basic things. How can I be so dumb, and how can they be so smart even not being so educated.
My thoughts conquering strategy: I need self-compassion to breathe in me, I know I’m imperfect but I love myself. If I want to go pivot or cause a revolution it starts with me so let’s start working on things which are required in the specified area. Let me gather with the winning team to celebrate together now and start working on my growth in the required area.
5) Get a shoulder
My friend from Mumbai had told me, “it is important to have a shoulder with whom you can be vulnerable with and communicate with under the sun. Tomorrow there will be someone to stand for you even after you.
There will be times when you will have no idea what you’re doing, how will you go through it, what step to take, how to get out of it. Here a Co-conspirator role comes in to help you fighting Impostor Syndrome. You can equip each other with the information needed to feel more competent and start making your bond seamless. This bond will help you to get out of crisis too.
No co-conspirator will not be friend of benefits, co-conspirator will be a shoulder to hold on your anxiety, to lean on your imperfections, to grab your falling confidence, to give you strength to stand upon. Instead of showing up to a event and feeling totally disgusting, you can go to your co-conspirator and communicate. This practice can improve your mood and clarity.
I have a meeting with a prestigious client, and I must crack this deal to weigh my achievement kitty. I’m all set but don’t know why I’m losing my confidence and I’m feeling I might lose this client. I need to talk to take this fear out of my head.
My thoughts conquering strategy: My potential is limitless, but I need to design it well to change and grow. I need a co-conspirator to listen to me so that I can empty my feeling of being impostor by expressing. The shoulder can help me get out of it and work on myself to improve.
6) Time for self-pep-talk
Motivation and bathing are an everyday necessity ritual. As motivation does not last well, neither does bathing. That’s why our ancestors recommend it daily. You must work on yourself every day, not once or twice be consistent. Remind yourself “I am worthy. My efforts are more than required. I have a limited amount of time and energy, and I choose to channel my resources into doing the best job that is sustainable for me, regardless of what everyone else is doing. I don’t have to be ‘perfect’; and will improve over time.
Change your self-talk every fortnight and learn how to practice believing in yourself to share your gifts with the world. Let your fears inspire you to do better and bring the best in you. It is natural to feel like an impostor sometimes. Recognise that and stop judging yourself. Place a hard limit on negative self-talk.
In my office there is an announcement of promotion, I had been waiting for it eagerly. But to my dishearten someone else got the promotion and the feeling of self-doubt insecurity started kicking in.
My thoughts conquering strategy: I give myself a pep talk. Hello! You are a queen and not meant to be sad. You are doing awesome and I love you for what you are. Nobody can be like you, you are antique and God has stopped producing people like you. Just keep smiling.
7) Social Media
If social media triggers your impostor syndrome, stop. Un-follow those who trigger you and stop overloading yourself with input.
But before that start making yourself understand to differentiate your life and the other person life, your situation, and the other person situation. Instead of getting triggered start blessing them. Pay gratitude to universe for keeping that person happy. Don’t Compare and demand things for yourself to universe at same time.
Keep Social Media Time as Blessing Time or Paying Gratitude Time. The more you bless them without expectations the more big and fruitful your universe will be. The appreciation we give to others reveals the respect we have for ourselves.
I have been extremely occupied at personal and professional front all these days, let me catch up with my friends online and checkout their updates. I see my colleague went to a trip and posted beautiful pictures of the trip; it looks as if she enjoyed every bit of the trip. And it’s me here still stuck at both ends.
My thoughts conquering strategy: Wow! My colleague went on a trip, let me check out details of the trip from her. So that I can plan my next trip accordingly, I will sort things before hand at my end to make this successful. I never knew this place could be this fun, I must thank her for showing this face of the place.
We have many around us to blame, to label, to gossip about us. Atleast let us talk good about ourselves and let us love ourselves, we deserve it.
Your perspective of situations matters, if you view your challenges as problems it will constantly block you from giving your best and bringing the best in you. Instead step up on its learning to create a big picture, kyounki picture abhi baaki hai!
About Aisha Singh
I’m an educator, trainer, speaker and a serial entrepreneur with a passion for education, personal transformation and community development. During my course of journey as an educator I realised the importance of educators who are passionate about moulding forthcoming generation. I discredit the concept of solely 21st century schools that reinvent education is adequate to change the world. I’m on a passage to set a tribe of learner driven community who deem to be serious in their commitments to develop genuine relationships with children to strengthen their life skills and to contrive authentic fundamentals of learning. Join my tribe!
The above article has been written and brought to you by Aisha Singh