Getting rid of imposter syndrome
Aah. The infamous imposter syndrome. It’s a bit of b*tch isn’t it?
How many hours have you spent trying to fight those pesky inner demons of yours? And the little cheek takes on so many different forms too: all those horrible self-deprecating words, the anxiety, the depression! The time and money I have personally spent in therapy, hypnotherapy, sun and moon salutations, cow, cat, dog and pigeon positions, mantras and meditations, just so I can access that inner world of mine, and try to understand why on earth the self-doubt still bloody manages to creep in.
Since starting at SCA I have, unfortunately for me, seen that little bastard rear its ugly head at least several times a day. Actually, let me be completely honest here: several times a minute – or that’s certainly what it has felt like at times. This whole thing I have thrown myself into is madness – gloriously so – and the more we are challenged by the school, the more I feel I am challenging myself.
And so, as if on cue, in comes Mr Imposter:
“Wow you are so crap compared to the others”
“You’ll never be good enough”
“OH. MY. GOD. And remind me how much older are you than all these people?”
“Look at how amazing everyone else is, you’ll never get even close to that kind of talent”
“Never mind that, remember how much shorter are you too!?”
(for some reason, everyone in my year seems to be at least 6”2 and I only just realised that I am actually 5”3 and not the very-much-missed 5”5 I thought I was until last week – anything I can use to beat myself up with, as you can see).
And so on, and so forth.
But, lucky for me, at the beginning of the pandemic and the whole insane-lockdown-situation we seem to still be enduring, I attended *yet another* Zoom class. This was about creativity, and with two of the most inspiring writers I could have hoped to meet, Julia Cameron (The Artist’s way), and Elizabeth Gilbert, (Eat Pray Love, and the lesser known but oh-so-inspiring Big Magic – if you haven’t read it, do so immediately). The conversation moved to perfectionism and fear (hello there, ruinous twins), and Gilbert made a statement, which to me, changed everything:
Love. Your. imposter.
Excuse me? Love your imposter? Seriously?
Yes, seriously. Because like the rest of us, it just wants to be heard. And I think that’s the point, right? We are often in the habit of talking badly to ourselves, and putting ourselves down – that includes doing so to our misunderstood inner imposter.
And here’s the thing: if you are fighting it, you are probably feeding it. So give it (and yourself) a little break. Speak kindly and lovingly to it. Give it some space – and maybe, just maybe, when it is heard, you will be too.
Failing that, tell it to f**k off and just remind yourself of the superhero you really are. That might work too.
To watch the amazing conversation about creativity with Julia Cameron and Elizabeth Gilbert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQM9ZB9Z10M