Few of us are immune to feeling like we haven’t earned our spot/job/position/status while everyone around us has, leaving us to worry that our “inferiority” will be discovered and everyone will know our secret. Whether we experience mere moments of imposter syndrome or are at constant battle with it, rest assured that you’re not the only one who deals with this form of insecurity—even British style goddess Alexa Chung reports having a fear of somehow being “found out.” Whether it’s related to our career, our social circle, or even the yoga class we’re taking, imposter syndrome can rear its ugly head, poke a hole in our confidence, and make us want to hide under a rock.
Acclaimed Australian actress Margot Robbie isn’t a stranger to confronting imposter syndrome, either. Even though she has starred in unforgettable roles in The Wolf of Wall Street, I, Tonya, Suicide Squad, and most recently Mary Queen of Scots, Robbie acknowledged that just about all of us figuring it out as they go.
Her strategy? Instead of dwelling in insecurity, keep moving forward and believe that you deserve your spot as much as anyone else:
“Fake it till you make it, everyone’s pretending they know what they’re doing,” she told Porter magazine. Realizing that other people around you—even those in positions of authority and popularity—may also experience some form of imposter syndrome can serve as a helpful reminder that you’re certainly not alone, and more importantly, that those nagging self-doubts may not hold as much truth as initially it may seem.
Another way of dispelling imposter syndrome and self-doubt in general is (perhaps counter-intuitively) not taking yourself too seriously. “It’s Monday morning and here I am dishing out pearls of wisdom,” Robbie joked with her interviewer. Being able to laugh at yourself can do more than provide comic relief. New research suggests that self-deprecation can contribute to emotional resiliency—provided you’re not actually taking true jabs at yourself.
“In particular,” the authors of the study explain, “we have observed that a greater tendency to employ self-defeating humor is indicative of high scores in psychological well-being dimensions such as happiness and, to a lesser extent, sociability…laughter releases dopamine, increases blood flow, and strengthens the heart, but beyond its many health perks, a good sense of humor leads to increased optimism, which in turn, boosts our resiliency and enables us to thrive when we’re faced with adversity.”
In short, self-self-deprecation can combat negative emotions and release stress.
How to Take a Page from Margot Robbie’s Book
This time of year finds many of us making resolutions or setting intentions for the new year. This can be an exciting and inspiring ritual that allows us to introspect and dream of new beginnings. It’s natural, however, to sometimes feel daunted by the noble promises we make to our future selves and stressed out by the various pressures we place on ourselves. Will we be good enough? Do we have what it takes to succeed and prove xyz…?
Indeed, if we are to have success with our resolutions, it may be helpful to acknowledge these negative feelings and haunted questions without judging ourselves, and then commit to faking-it-till-you-make-it as needed, and maybe even laugh at ourselves (good-naturedly, of course!).
This can especially come in handy when you feel yourself feeling guilty for getting off track with your goals. If we take ourselves just a hair less seriously, the fear of moving forward and manifesting the life we desire (and deserve!) loses its power—and all the better for us dreamers.
Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome? Do you believe in faking it till you make it?
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Photo: Margot Robbie via Instagram