I never really understood this term and certainly didn’t think I would ever suffer from it. I mean, I was succeeding in my career, I was married, had kids, and just run a half marathon except when disaster struck and I suddenly had to rethink my entire life. The negative thoughts and self-doubt rushed in and took up camp in my brain, Determining to stay there, they handcuffed themselves and threw away the key. I trapped myself into a cycle of feeling worthless, helpless and every negative interaction I had validated these feelings. I wasn’t good enough. Imposter syndrome goes a lot deeper than that, it made me believe that I wasn’t actually good at my job, that I wasn’t the expert I had previously thought I was, that my empathy didn’t belong in a leadership position and worse I allowed the haunting comment that someone else was the best thing that had happened to my daughter, to truly take hold. I sunk into a depressive, anxiety-filled yet highly functioning state.
As a woman and a mother, I am programmed to take care of others and have embraced the fact that I don’t need to apologize for that or try and change it. All too often the media showcases girl power and self-care as a way to exist, which goes against some old-fashioned or traditional values of how women show up in the home. Almost as if you are one of those people (Like me) that are filled with empathy and are a highly sensitive and intuitive person, that you are letting down the female movement if you happen to cook dinner every night or always do the laundry!
Don‘t get me wrong, I firmly believe in women’s equality and advancement but what I have learned is that it doesn’t have to be one or the other. If you take the time to understand what is in your DNA (and no one else’s) then you can learn how to balance it so that you don’t give away your power, or worse get taken advantage of. The most important lesson I learned is to find someone who doesn’t expect you to do all these things 🙂
Going back a few years, I felt as though I ran into a brick maze and couldn’t find my way out. Every year I would learn something different about my upbringing, my experiences, my thoughts, my wants, and needs until finally I stopped running around in the maze and started to climb out. With imposter syndrome, you can hit rock bottom multiple times. There comes a time in our lives where we just have to stop talking, stop listening and start doing.
There will always be people who want to take advantage of your kindness, or because you are different in some way, they will not take the time to understand things you say or the way you work and will try and put you down. There will always be those that see your ideas and plans as a way to better themselves and there will always be those people who just don’t like you!
But as long as you like yourself, and you surround yourself with people who love you, then you can balance all of this and stop the thoughts, feelings, and emotions from drowning you. I did a few things to stay afloat and start to unlock and kick out the negative, self-doubt;
I know that’s not a nice thing to say but it is the truth. For years and years, my life has been one diet after another to make sure I looked the part. I yo yo’d between feeling good about myself and feeling defeated and not good enough, it was all attached to the number on the scale and the positive or negative comments I would receive. Some will call it self-sabotage but I found it self-loving. I learned to love my brain, my empathy, my kindness, my motivation for life. When I decide to lose weight, it will be because I want to not because I feel I have to!
Seriously, If there is one thing you do, it is to surround yourself with people who see you, not the size of you or the amount of money in your bank account, or how your ideas can be ignored if they don’t better that person.
Start that business, go on that trip or change careers. If you dig deep and figure out what makes you tick and then craft your life around it.
It is possible, if not essential that you recover from imposter syndrome, keep the negative, self-doubting anxious thoughts away from stopping you from living the life you want to.
I am not your average wellness coach, and I am perfectly OK with that…..finally! What I may lack in a toned physique, I make up for in real-life stories, experiences, and strategies to live your best life.