Imposter Syndrome: Learning self -love and self-acceptance (A guest blog post by Brenda Bryan)
What do you know about yourself? Would you consider yourself, smart, intelligent, with a clue between your ears? If the answer to that question is yes” then I truly applaud you. However more than 70% of the population are afraid they will be seen as fakes, or that they will be found out as not having the goods. They fear that when the truth comes out they will be fired, or hated or lose their friends.
Do you have these thoughts or feelings? It is called Imposter syndrome.
People who often think they are not good enough are among the brightest and are high achievers. They tend to perfectionism. People who are not that clever don’t have this problem because they don’t know enough to question what they don’t know. But the bright ones--yes that’s you--are aware of what you have still to learn and tend to consider yourself not good enough and full of doubt because you have more to learn.
Of course the good news is, it’s NOT TRUE. That’s right, not true, but to reverse these feelings about yourself you must have some intentions to set and some work to do.
First thing is to stand up for your own brightness, You must own your gifts, take stock of what you’re good at, what does bring you praise, and own them. Don’t put yourself down. Advocate for your value, learn to toot your own horn. It may feel uncomfortable at first but like all things we get to learn we must exercise those muscles to get them strong enough to support us. Surround yourself with people who support you living in your brilliance. People who say “yes” to all the ways you bring value to your work, your relationships and your community. We are all born with gifts, only you can fully embody those gifts and bring them out and share them.
There is a popular saying that goes: “It is not what you know but who you know that supports us in succeeding.” An addition to that is: “Who knows what you know, you are a very unique individual and you’re the only one in the world who has lived life from your position.” It’s like there are no two snowflakes alike. And so it is, you must value what you bring to all you do.
But giving your best is not the same as being the best. Likewise, there’s a distinct difference between trying to better yourself and being better than everyone else. Overcoming the Imposter Syndrome requires self-acceptance: you don’t have to attain perfection or mastery to be worthy of the success you've achieved and any accolades you earn along the way. It’s not about lowering the bar, it’s about resetting it to a realistic level that doesn’t leave you forever striving and feeling inadequate.
So if you sometimes feel undeserving of your success, try writing a list of all the key things you’ve accomplished over the last 5 years. I would hazard to guess that even the fruits of your last 12 months’ effort will help you to see how well deserved all your success is.
I don’t know about you, but growing up I got compared to my genius bother a lot. Here’s one thing I know: Comparisons are an act of violence against oneself. Please Cease comparisons. Comparisons are always subjective, often biased and rarely helpful. We’re a cutely aware of how hard we’re working to keep our head above water and fulfill expectations, and we often mistakenly assume others are getting by more effortlessly.
The reality is that many, many people are stretched and struggling just like you. Perhaps not in the same way, but in their own way, with their own unique set of challenges, insecurities and internal struggles. Too often we fall into the trap of comparing our insides with others’ outsides; our weaknesses with others’ strengths. We say to ourselves, “If only I could speak with the confidence and humor of Kathy,” or “If only I was as creative as Susan.” Meanwhile, all the Kathy’s and Susan’s are thinking: “If only I was as good with the details, or navigating the politics, or creating strategy, or fostering collaboration as you!”
Self-love and self-acceptance is a courageous journey. It’s one where we learn to presence ourselves and ask a very important question: “Is this true?” And then, “Who does this belong to? And guess what? You get to hand it back.
We are in a new age for women’s success. To get past the imposter syndrome it is time suit-up, show up and stand for yourself in all the ways that support your beautiful soul living to your highest purpose. Today is the day you get to shine.
Brenda R Bryan is a Transformational Coach, Inspirational Speaker Who has spent 45 years working to empower women to be the best version of themselves. Through her program Raise your Voice she shows women how to stop playing small and use our feminine superpowers of collaboration, creativity and intuition to change the world !