Dealing with Imposter Syndrome
Have you ever been sitting in a room with other people and wondered, why am I here?
Or maybe you were given a responsibility and thought, why do they think I can handle this?
It's possible you may be dealing with feelings of Imposter Syndrome! While not a diagnosis, it's a very real issue that I wanted to dive into today.
Checkout the video or read the transcript below to learn more!
(Transcript from video below)
Hey, my name is Meredith - I'm the owner of Rooted Wellness Counseling here in Boulder, Colorado- and today I wanted to talk about a little thing called Imposter Syndrome.
Imposter Syndrome is not a diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, but it is a very real concern and problem that people experience. It can be people who feel like they don't deserve the opportunities that they're receiving or that they aren't worthy of the accomplishments that they have made, kind of questioning "why have I been given this responsibility?", "am I good enough?", "can I handle this?".
If this is something that you've experienced before, it can feel really awful to wonder if we're in the right place or if we deserve something, so I wanted to talk about some of where this comes from.
I'm going to share two places that I see Imposter Syndrome stemming from for my clients and also three questions that you can ask if this is something you feel like you might be facing.
The first of the two places I see this coming from is past experiences. A lot of times when we feel we aren't good enough, or we question our worth or abilities, it's because of things that we've been through in the past. Yet, these are things that we can evaluate and assess and determine how much of that is factual and how much of that is kind of a lens that we've started seeing situations through because of our past experiences. This is a big part of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy- assessing our thoughts and increasing our awareness of our thought patterns, and being able to have a little more control over what our mind is telling us. Questioning [thoughts] instead of just assuming that thoughts are facts. So, being aware of our past experiences is one route that we can look at for experiencing imposter syndrome.
Another is, feelings of shame. We know that when someone is feeling guilty, it is because they did something bad or they feel bad about something that they did. On the other hand, when someone is experiencing shame it is because they feel that they are bad, which to me really directly connects with Imposter Syndrome. People who are experiencing Imposter Syndrome, don't feel like they aren't quite up to par or that they don't have enough to offer. So by looking into shame and where those emotions come from, we can start to address why we feel this way. And so, again- I believe looking into past experiences and shame can tell us a bit about where these feelings come from.
Now, for those three questions that you can ask yourself to begin exploring your feelings of Imposter Syndrome. The first being:
Where do these feelings come from?
Are there experiences in your past - things that other people have told you, or things you've told yourself- that seem to follow a similar narrative? That is something you can explore, either in therapy, journaling, or however it feels comfortable for you to look into that question. Another question that you can ask is:
What are those feelings?
What are the emotions that it stirs up for you when you feel like you're an imposter in a situation? Is it embarrassment? Shame? Is it sadness? What does it bring up for you? And then the third question is:
Is that serving me anymore?
Do those feelings of Imposter Syndrome have a purpose? I know sometimes people feel like it is a drive to get them to do things "better" or work "harder" if they feel like they're not good enough, that it pushes them farther. But, that's kind of a double-edged sword, because usually when that is the motivation behind doing things differently, we still never give ourselves credit for it. So, is it serving you have to have these feelings?
Once you kind of assess and work through those three questions, it may be more clear if this is something that you want to dive into a little more with support, or with yourself.
I hope that that is helpful! Have a good day guys- I'll talk to you soon.
Meredith Waller MSW, LCSW
Based in Boulder, CO and offering therapy online throughout Colorado
-Certified Shame- Informed Treatment Specialist
-Certified Clinical Anxiety Treatment Professional