Have you ever felt like you were never cut out for your job? Or have you felt fearful of others finding out something that confirms that you aren’t adequate in your career? Well, there’s this phenomenon called “imposter syndrome” that’s to blame. While it’s not really a syndrome, it’s all too real for men and women alike.
Imposter syndrome is a psychological term that refers to the behaviors and thought patterns one develops from feeling inadequate about their achievements and capabilities.
The insecurities often lead to internalized fears surrounding the imminent exposing of themselves as a “fraud.” With all the competition in today’s world, it can be easy to get stuck in this mindset trap. Trust me, I’ve been there, and it isn’t a fun place to be.
The first time I taught yoga in person was when I experienced imposter syndrome full force. Given the pandemic, I wasn’t able to teach yoga in person in a studio for a long time. Even though I had all this experience teaching online and practicing myself, I was convinced I was so behind and not good enough to teach in a studio. I felt terrified that someone would comment on my class, and prove that I wasn’t as good as I thought.
Once I understood what imposter syndrome was and how it affects our lives, I did some of my own deep diving. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always had a hard time taking compliments. I discovered it’s because of this false limiting belief that “I am not good enough.” So even if someone genuinely compliments me, I’ll find a justifiable reason to downplay the compliment. Or I’ll compliment them and disregard what they sincerely said to me.
I’ve been doing a lot of inner work in terms of that belief, but it’s crippled my self-esteem. Before, when this imposter syndrome was at its worst, I would end up stuck in comparison mode. While endlessly scrolling through Instagram, I would shame myself for this and that. All that eventually led to me just devaluing all my hard work and accomplishments. Pictures do speak more than words sometimes. And that’s what led me to believe all the negative things I was saying about myself and my yoga career. Thankfully, my mental health is recovering from being so paralyzed by such negative thinking.
Here are some tips that have helped me overcome imposter syndrome:
- Take a break from social media- The constant onslaught of other people’s highlights and achievements is so taxing on our self-esteem. Our confidence gets tarnished over time. Try creating some distance from social media, and instead focus on all the good that’s going on in your life now.
- Write affirmations- I’m a huge believer in the power of affirmations. But don’t just repeat them in your head. Write them out on sticky notes and put them all over your place so you can see them everyday. Visual cues are super helpful for drilling in new mindsets.
- Develop a support system- Without the encouraging pep talks and “you go girl!” from my friends, I wouldn’t be writing this article. Find your tribe of people that lift you up and show you your true worth. It’s so helpful to have that mirror, especially when you’re feeling your lowest.
- Just do it- Nike said it best. Get past that hurdle of perfectionism and “why try?” attitude and just go for it. Starting something new or different can be the hardest part, so let go of any expectations and just let your passion lead.
All in all, imposter syndrome isn’t the end of the world, or your career. It can feel like such a burden, one that you’ll never be able to shake off. However, just remember why you started. Sometimes it’s the little things that remind us of our value and worth. Don’t let the world convince you anything other than the fact that you are amazing and you are worth it. You’ve got this!
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Photo by Septian simon on Unsplash