Impostor syndrome strikes everyone from time to time. Here are 7 tips to help you take back control and regain confidence in yourself.
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“I’m Not Good Enough”
A few weeks ago, I completed my first big watercolor painting in years. I felt proud of myself when I completed the painting and began the process of taking pictures to share it on my Instagram. But when I started thinking up a title for the painting, I stopped in my tracks. Naming a painting is something that only REAL artists do. For me to name this piece of art felt pretentious like I was pretending to be something I’m not. That’s when I realized that the slithering voice of impostor syndrome had invaded my mind.
What is Impostor Syndrome?
Whether you’ve heard this term or not, it is almost certain that you have experienced impostor syndrome at one point or another. Essentially, impostor syndrome is the feeling that you are never good enough — even when there is overwhelming evidence otherwise. When you’re working on a hobby, growing in your career, or trying to improve your life in some way, impostor syndrome is the inner voice that says, “You’re a fake. Everyone knows you’re not qualified to do this. Everyone is better than you, and everyone sees how awful you are.”
It would seem as though everyone comes equipped with this inner demon that makes you feel like a fraud. From struggling students and aspiring artists to noted scientists and best-selling authors, we all have felt the pull of impostor syndrome.
This insecurity and doubt can eat at you, slowing down your progress or halting you altogether. Thanks to impostor syndrome, there are countless books never written, endless paintings never painted, and immeasurable skill never shared with the world. But you can overcome impostor syndrome if you tackle the problem at its source — your mind.
7 Tips for Overcoming Impostor Syndrome
At the end of the day, you are worthy of the good things that happen to you. Sometimes, though, you just don’t feel it. The trick is to train your brain to think in a more kind, positive attitude and restrict the triggers of impostor syndrome.
Turn Negatives Into Positives
Whenever you find yourself in a cloud of impostor syndrome and thinking negative thoughts about yourself, take a moment to turn those negatives around.
If you catch yourself thinking that your friends don’t really want you around, list out the ways that you are a good friend and enjoyable to be around.
When you get a compliment on your style and have the urge to point out all your flaws, stop and list out all the things you feel the most confident about.
And it’s not enough to just think these positive thoughts. You need to fight that inner critic by either writing down the positive affirmations or saying them out loud to yourself. Inject your positive attitude into the world in some tangible way.
Done Not Perfect
When you feel inadequate because you just can’t seem to make your work perfect, take a step back and remember my favorite mantra — Done Not Perfect. Perfectionism is one way that impostor syndrome can sink its claws into you. But perfect is just an illusion and no one expects you to perform perfectly. Learn to let go of this unrealistic expectation and push through anyway.
Take a Social Media Break
Sometimes comparison can be the death of self-confidence. When you scroll through social media and see one carefully curated photo after another, it can be easy to think that everyone has everything figured out. Of course, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Even the person with the most beautiful Instagram feed who looks like they are living a dream lifestyle is still struggling through the same problems as you.
If social media is causing you to feel inadequate and insecure, limit your time online or take a break for a few weeks. Try comparing your past self with your present self. You might be surprised to see how far you’ve come!
List Your Strengths
One great addition to a journal or bullet journal is a list of your strengths. What are your strongest points? Think about your job, your appearance, your personality traits, your household skills, your hobbies, and anything else you can think of. Write it down and celebrate all the things that you love about yourself.
When you get hit with impostor syndrome and it is getting in the way of something you need to do, try the “fake it till you make it” model. This is especially useful if you’re trying to do something new to you and you’re afraid everyone will judge you.
I have felt impostor syndrome countless times when sharing a blog post or video with my audience that is different than usual. Instead of letting my insecurity hold me back from trying new things, I just do my best to feign confidence and try anyway. Most of the time, people are supportive and there is nothing to worry about.
If you find that these thoughts continue to crop up and get in the way of your self-confidence, you might want to consider seeking a therapist to help. Therapy is an excellent way to vent your feelings, process the underlying cause, and get actionable steps from a mental health professional. Hearing a licensed therapist tell you your inherent worth to your face might be just the thing you need to really internalize it.
The best way to keep impostor syndrome at bay is to keep working toward your goals and accomplishing them. Over time, you may find that the impostor syndrome fades or grows weaker.
For the first few years that I wrote about bullet journaling, I felt some serious impostor syndrome. I couldn’t understand why so many people cared about what I had to say and trusted me to share good content. Now, after five years, I feel comfortable sharing my knowledge about the bullet journal and I have no problem calling myself an expert. Sometimes it just takes time to make impostor syndrome nothing more than a ripple in your thoughts.
Don’t Let Impostor Syndrome Control You
You have amazing gifts to share with the world. Don’t let the cold grip of impostor syndrome dull your shine and steal your spark. Know that you are worthy of all the success you receive. You are worthy of love and friendship. And no matter what impostor syndrome may say, you are going to do incredible things.