The imposter voice in your head is just a boogeyman, much like the shadow cast by your clothes on the chair which you were convinced was a monster! It’s not real. It’s not true.
I only know that in hindsight, of course. When I was experiencing it, it was ‘normal’*. I believed thoughts like:
I’m not good enough.
I’m only acceptable if I’m perfect / the best.
I don’t deserve the success and accolades I’m getting.
I don’t belong ‘here’.
The crushing sense of fear is quite another thing, though. The fear that, one day, we’re going to be found out. Someone’s going to realise that we don’t deserve our success. Someone’s going to uncover our lacks, faults and facades… And then…
Rejection. Shame. Humiliation. Abandonment.
Those primal fears which, at one stage in our evolution as humans, would have led to death. That’s where the horror lies, in the Imposter Syndrome experience – it’s in the terror of being found out.
Initial research into Imposter Syndrome^ was carried out on women, but we now know that men suffer equally from it. Many therapies will offer to help sufferers thrive despite it**. But why just manage it, when you can resolve it?
Why live with a crushing weight which can often lead to anxiety, chronic stress and depression?¨
How can we resolve it? Let’s consider how it all began…
…With our conditioning.
At some point as children, we picked up ideas such as “I’m not enough”, “I don’t deserve success”, “unless I’m perfect/the best I’m not successful” etc. We didn’t consciously choose to accept these ideas. They were absorbed by us before we could apply discernment. Then later on, when we do experience success, we have this uncanny knack of finding reasons for it separate from ourselves^^. We’re unable to attribute it to our worthiness of it. We come up with crazy stuff!:
I’ve got them fooled.
I don’t belong – I’m not ‘X’ enough (experienced, educated, beautiful, perfect… ‘good’ enough to be here).
They just have me here because they need to tick off ‘diversity’.
Imposter Syndrome can go hand-in-hand with perfectionism, lack of self-belief or self-confidence. It can prompt us to exhibit narcissistic tendencies – having to be right, always having the answer. This doesn’t mean we’re narcissists. It means we’re trying to keep up the protective façade to avoid the shame and humiliation of being found out.
You can resolve Imposter Syndrome. I’m a living example. Want to try it on your own? Question every belief a la Byron Katie:
Is it true? Can I 100% know it’s true? Who am I/how to I respond when I believe that thought? Who am I without it? (Take time to feel your way into the latter two.)
Or dance with the Imposter Boogeyman in your imagination, the language of the subconscious, where our conditioning and subconscious programmes live. Talk to that imposter voice. Give it shape, form. Become acquainted with it, remembering – you’re the one in control. Ask it what it’s scared of. What does it need in order to know it’s safe? You’re safe. You’re worthy.
You and your life are way too important to continue to feel like you don’t belong, or you don’t deserve success. Why carry that burden when you don’t have to?