"Imposter Syndrome" and Self Doubt
Are you distracted by comparisons of yourself to other individuals? Are you aware that, through this comparison, you will either exaggerate or minimise yourself?
Ralph Waldo Emerson said that envy is ignorance and imitation is suicide.
If you compare parts of yourself to parts of other individuals you will undermine your self-worth. This is because comparison results in either an exaggeration or minimisation of others and, as a result, minimisation or exaggeration of yourself. Any time you either minimise or exaggerate yourself, you are not being authentic – not being the real you. Instead, you are playing a role, either being prideful or shameful, neither of which is true, with both personas being a result of disowned parts. Your real self is not an exaggeration or minimisation.
These exaggerations and minimisations are masks that you wear, and both result in distraction and self-doubt. Have you had a time when you were comparing yourself to someone else, and the ensuing mental meanderings and self-talk occupied space and time in your mind? Was it distracting? Did you question who you really were?
Every individual’s perceptions, decisions, and actions are based on their own hierarchy of values, which are unique to them. When you expect someone to live in your values and they don’t, you tend to think they’re making a mistake. Similarly, if you expect yourself to live in someone else’s values and you don’t, you’ll likely beat yourself up, think there’s something wrong with you, or something may be missing and, as a result, decide you need to try to fix yourself.
When you look even closer, you find you only want to “fix” yourself when you are comparing yourself to other individuals you have up on a pedestal - you only tend to think you make mistakes when you try to imitate someone you admire. ‘Envy is ignorance, and imitation is suicide “. You automatically devalue yourself when you try to live in someone else’s values and try to imitate them, as you are trying to be someone you’re not. A metaphorical ‘death’ of the authentic you.
This brings us to imposter syndrome. Impostor syndrome is a psychological occurrence in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and have a persistent internalised fear of being exposed as a fraud. They perceive something is missing in them, or what they have ‘isn’t enough’. Any time you are not living in accordance with your own highest values and try to live by other people's values, often the people who you envy or admire, it results in self-judgement and internal conflict. Many psychological conditions may emerge out of such an internal conflict.
What if you could look in the mirror and realise that whatever you perceive in others, you have in your own form according to your own values? What if you realised that there is a magnificent part of yourself that you may not be acknowledging? Something you recognise and admire in others and compare yourself to, but are too humble to admit you also demonstrate the same quality? “Envy is ignorance…..”. It is wise to identify and own any trait or action you perceive in others, dissolving the ignorance of a perception of personal lack, and to reintegrate your disowned part. To envy someone is ignorance; ignorance of the form in which you demonstrate the identical quality you are admiring.
The dysmorphic response of exaggerating others/minimising self can be present in many areas of your life and is often associated with ‘imposter syndrome’ and self-doubt. Anytime you compare yourself to others and put them on a pedestal or pit, you depreciate away your true identity and deflect parts of yourself you are too humble to own. As Albert Einstein said, when you’re a cat trying to swim or a fish trying to climb a tree, you’re going to beat yourself up and not honour the magnificence of who you are.
So, how to dissolve this “imposter syndrome”
Simple! Identify those individuals you find yourself admiring and see where you have what you’re admiring in them inside you in your own unique form.
Nothing is missing at the level of the most authentic self, however when you compare yourself with others and are too proud or too humble to admit what you see in others is also inside you, things may appear to be missing.
Be very specific in identifying the trait, action, or inaction you perceive them displaying or demonstrating. Then go inside yourself and go to a moment when you perceive yourself displaying or demonstrating the same or similar behaviour as you perceive in them. Specify where it was it, when it was, to whom you did it, and who perceived you that way.
Keep listing the times you have done it. You may not be aware of it. You may be too humble to admit it, but it’s there. Hold yourself accountable to reveal it. Keep listing.
As a result of this self-exploration, instead of trying to fix yourself and change yourself to be like them, you will reveal in yourself where you already demonstrate the admired action. Your self-awareness and self-worth will increase as you open to your brilliance and own your magnificence. You will respect and appreciate them for revealing what you have already within that you have not been acknowledging and honouring. You will realise that nothing is missing, and they do not have anything you don’t have, expressed in your own form and dictated by your unique values (as theirs is in their own unique values).
Instead of having them on a pedestal and yourself in a pit, you will look across at them and thank them for revealing to you what has been unconscious in your life that you’ve been too humble to admit that you have. You’ll honour that you have what they have in your own form, and, by not pedestaling them, your own self-worth increases, you level the playing field and see them as equals, your certainty and confidence grows and you will be acting from you executive centre in the brain where you wake up your genius and vision.
As long as you perceive that they have something you don’t, you will tend to play a little bit smaller, self-depreciate, minimise yourself, and want to change and fix yourself. You’re likely to judge yourself and hold yourself back from opportunities in life where you could excel.
So, instead of putting individuals on pedestals, the wisest thing to do is identify the traits you admire in others and find them inside yourself.
Fake it until you make it ….
The guidance sometimes given to individuals who feel uncertain about their confidence, competence, or abilities is to "fake it until you make it." This approach involves pretending or imitating qualities that you desire to possess, with the hope that eventually, you will truly acquire them. While some consider this to be a beneficial technique for stepping out of your comfort zone and taking on more difficult challenges to promote personal growth, others caution that faking it can lead to imposter syndrome and stem from an underlying belief that your genuine self is inadequate, or that you lack a particular skill or talent.
As we have identified, instead of trying to fake it until you make it, it may be wiser to reveal in yourself where you already demonstrate the admired action - where you have not been acknowledging and honouring. Own what it is you are admiring in others, with certainty and humble gratitude, and observe your self-worth, confidence and certainty grow. Once you are certain you have that admired action already, it is readily integrated and accessible -no need to fake anything!
Let's pause for a moment and look at what tends to happen when you are inauthentic or “faking it”.
The devaluation of yourself by thinking that you need fixing results from injecting other’s values into your life and not being true to yourself. Have you noticed you don’t feel the need to fix yourself when you’re being authentic, when you are living according to your highest values? When the world values you, it’s because you value yourself, but you can’t fully value yourself when you’re not being authentic, and you’re not being authentic or the real you when you’re exaggerating or minimising yourself, and/or imitating others.
Anytime you exaggerate, puff yourself up and wear a fake facade, persona, or mask, you attract humbling circumstances, resistance, and critique to bring you back down into equilibrium and authenticity. The same principle applies if you minimise yourself relative to others, try to please them, and try to live in their values instead of your own. You devalue your authentic self when you minimise yourself, and as such you are not being authentic.
Wearing a false front is prone to fail because you’ll tend to receive negative homeostatic feedback responses anytime you are inauthentic and uninspired by your life.
Mastery, authenticity, and being loved and appreciated for who you are is highly unlikely to occur if you don’t know what you truly value most. Therefore, trying to copy somebody else’s set of values and “fake it” is almost certain to diminish your potential and result in your being second at being somebody else, instead of first at being the true and authentic you.
There's no competition to your true you.
When you are authentic and living in your highest values you tend to be the most inspired, most spontaneously active, and to be the most fulfilled and find the most meaning. It’s also where you tend to be the most objective, balanced, resilient, adaptable, disciplined, reliable, focused and expanded in awareness and potential; and most likely to open the doors for expanded opportunities and play in a bigger field of possibility.
Rather than pretending to be someone you're not, it's wiser to have a precise understanding of your top values and then determine how to live in a manner that's consistently in line with those values, as well as owning any traits or actions you admire in others.
So if you're doing something most purposeful, most meaningful and where you're most inspired and most knowledgeable, you won't have to fake anything. As such, you’ll also tend to be most confident in your actions. I think people can sense that authenticity and would rather do business with you instead of someone who they innately sense is wearing a façade.
You are not here to compare yourself to others. You’re here to compare your own actions to your own highest values and your own most meaningful objectives and look at how congruent they are. When you live congruently with your highest values, you fill your day with the highest priority actions. It’s also when you are likely to be the most objective, least judging, most equitable with other individuals, and most resilient and adaptable to whatever happens. It’s also when you tend to honour yourself; act spontaneously; be disciplined, reliable, and focused; and awaken your leadership skills. It’s also when your self-worth rises.
Nothing’s missing in you. You own all the traits, both those you perceive as being positive and those you perceive as being negative. When you finally embrace the whole of yourself, you’ll more likely realise that you don’t need to fix yourself. You don’t need to fix yourself when you’re authentic. You don’t need to fix yourself when you’re inspired by what’s highest in priority in your life, and you’re living congruent with that daily. You don’t need to fix yourself when you identify the traits you admire in others and find them inside yourself.
As a result, you’ll likely be filled with gratitude and appreciation for others and yourself, live more authentically, have certainty and confidence and have individuals value you in return.