Defeating Imposter Syndrome has been on my list of to-dos since the end of 2018. Imposter Syndrome is a psychological pattern in which one doubts one's accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud."
Thanks Wikipedia, for leading us in like that. I’ll take it from here. I have a story to tell about how imposter syndrome feels to me, how I started trying to work against it and failed, and what I'm doing now that works for me.
No, wait, first: This is a means of transparency, realness, and a reminder that it’s OKAY to feel the feelings. I am not a mental health professional, and this blog is no substitute for proper mental health care. The list of helplines provided by NIMH is a great place to start if you need somewhere to turn for help.
At the end of 2018, I decided that I was going to make an honest effort to weed imposter syndrome out of my mind. I had done a lot of reflecting on the type of example I wanted to set for my kids, and I knew that I wanted to be the type of person that inspired them to believe in themselves no matter what. I wanted to be that person for myself too! It was very difficult to foster self confidence when consistently trapping myself into the “I’m a total fraud” thought pattern.
That thought pattern made me feel paranoid. I’m an extrovert, and in almost any context, I’m in it for the people. I love people! I want people to like me, and have a good time when they interact with me. When the internalized fear of imposter syndrome compounded with the desire to people-please, I found myself doing really irrational things. I took shortcuts in my work. I didn’t try harder methods. I didn’t take challenges I thought would be fun. I was convinced that if I tried those things, I would fail and be exposed as a faker. As someone who was learning-on-the-fly. Unprofessional. Fraud.
So, when I set about removing imposter syndrome, the way I started ultimately led to failure. I decided that everytime I thought something negative about my professional or artistic existence, I would shut that thought down. I would punch it in the FACE and refuse to allow it to root into my brain. Ka-POW! Yeah!!
Well. No. That didn’t work.
Not for me, at least.
Everytime I thought a negative or deprecating thought about my work, I would mentally bodyslam that thought into the dust. When I started to realize how much bodysla