[Self Discovery] Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Last weekend as I pawed my way through ‘The Voice of Knowledge‘, a cascade of thoughts started rotating through my head: what does my voice of knowledge lie to me about, how did I become my own biggest critic, what are inauthentic truths that I try and force on myself and how can I be kinder to my own mental space. As it turns out, what I was suffering from at that time is called imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome has kept me from raising my voice at important times, from trying my best at something I’m new at, and to be very honest – is what almost prevented me from writing this post to begin with; who did I think I was to try and explain imposter syndrome, why does it matter what my opinion is, and who the hell actually cares.


So, What Is Imposter Syndrome?

The psychological sibling of feelings like self-doubt, fears of failure and inadequacy, imposter syndrome is what prevents us from pursuing our dreams while instead reinforcing the idea that we are a living in a nightmare we have no control over. Though similar to feelings of low self worth and diminished self confidence, imposter syndrome is the continual feeling of rejection, or of being exposed as a fraud of sorts that doesn’t deserve their roses, no matter how well earned they truly are.

The Imposter Syndrome as a structural problem – Contemporary Issues in  Teaching and Learning

Imposter syndrome is the voice we have that refuses to acknowledge our wins – big or small, nagging us with ideas that we’re not good enough, that what we’ve gotten out of life has been by dumb luck and not our own doing, and that we are undeserving of any good that comes out of our life. Overwhelming and convincing, imposter syndrome pulls us away from our creativity and new ideas, while fortifying a negative feedback loop that screams we simply aren’t good enough and people will see through us to the hypothetical frauds we believe we have become.

Unfortunately, or fortunately – depending on how you choose to look at things – imposter syndrome is much more common than you think, and it’s synonymous with that pestilent ‘Voice of Knowledge’ that Ruiz refers to. Imposter syndrome seeps in when you move into new and novel realms of your life: from getting that new job, raise or promotion to releasing your creative genius into the world; I don’t know a single person who hasn’t been overcome by it at some point in their lives. The problem with imposter syndrome arrises when we use our psyche and ego as an excuse – we stop pursuing our growth and deny our human nature of evolution.

Own Your Success: Try These Tips to Overcome Impostor Syndrome | CCL

How To Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Remember those cartoons when we were kids, with the angel on one shoulder and devil on another? If you live by your imposter syndrome – you’ve shut the good news out, and have been focusing on the negative for far too long; often forgetting that there’s a large part of you that loves yourself, respects yourself and wants to be heard. If you can’t get back to negotiating between the duality of these feelings, the least you can do for yourself is to shut down the pessimism and marinate in the art of being still. By acknowledging imposter syndrome and calling it out for what it is – we prime ourselves to reframe our mental space in a healthier fashion. If we can learn to adopt a growth mindset – we realize that as we negotiate with and move past what we are not, we reinforce the unique beauty of living as our authentic self. That might sound easier said than done, but I promise – it’s truly just as easy as trapping yourself in your negative emotions.

Imposter Syndrome : comics

At the end of the day, we are all the best at being ourselves; meaning that you are the one person in the world that is the best at being them. What we are not, however, is our emotions. We must learn to let them pass over us as clouds to our mental sky, they might cast a shadow – but we are not the shadow, we are the sky that wants to shine as bright as possible. When we listen to our imposter syndrome, we are choosing to not share the beauty of our true nature with the world. Instead of falling back into the feedback loop of imposter syndrome, try these mental tricks instead.

Let's destigmatize the conversation about impostor syndrome! - BioScope

For starters – be kind to yourself and the way you talk to yourself. Would you let a stranger talk to you the way you talk to yourself? If we come at our relationships from a point of love and understanding, we allow ourselves to hold space for our emotions in a more positive light. Start by writing yourself love notes and leave them around your home and office; remind yourself how amazing you are! Be able to separate what is fact from what you’re feeling; they are not the same but our minds are so strong that the two can become intertwined. Understand that to make a mistake is human, and to grow outside of your mistakes is divine.To win the mental war you’ve been waging against yourself, it’s just as important to win the smaller battles. Limit your time on social media; if comparison is the thief of joy, then Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are emotional burglars. They reinforce the attention economy, while taking time and joy – replacing them with feelings of gross inadequacy and depression. Compile a list of your tiny, day to day wins – and know that they’re just as fantastic as larger ones. Start working with a gratitude journal – my personal recommendation is the Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal – or Spirit Animal Cards to establish more positive emotional pathways. It’s on us to ensure that our exterior world has our backs, and best intentions in mind – ensure your support system is full of positivity; we are the synthesis of the five closest relationships that we have – and chances our, they’ve felt a similar way – if we open the lines of communication, we can not only champion our own imposter syndrome but we can help others overcome theirs as well.

Do you recognize when imposter syndrome is setting in?
What tips and tricks have helped you bounce back to your authentic self?

Share some love in the comments below and let’s help each other be the best versions of ourselves that we can be.

[Self Discovery] Water Your Own Garden

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You are here now. Those four words echo through my head like the perpetual reverberations of time. In the past few days, I’ve felt an awakening in my center, a soul-shaking, mind-altering shift in my own consciousness as we’re poised to embark on this new journey around the sun.  Hindsight being 20/20, as I think back to the past year, hell – even the past few months, I find myself in awe of my own growth spurts. And now, we’re at the precipice of a new cycle, the perennial moments of the new year and I have to say – it’s a wonderful time to be aware.

As I collect my annual memories and analyze them through a birds-eye view, my resolution for 2017 comes in crystal clear: the grass is greener where you choose to water it, so it’s time to water my own garden, catalyze my own transformation and spend this year turning inward to become the best version of myself.

With the exponential growth of social media grow and smart phones, one could argue that we’re actually just making dumb people.  Don’t get me wrong, being on social media can be fun. It’s a great way to keep in touch, catch up on “news”, and see what the masses are up to.  But, over the last decade, it’s turned into more of a spectator sport and digital version of the SIMS than an actual mechanism of friendship.   Instead of losing yourself in the unimportant feedback cycle of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like – put your phone down, in the other room even, and pick up a book, pick up a hobby – pick up yourself from the couch and go outside for a walk, surrounded by the wonders of nature; engage in your life, and life will engage you back.

Watering your own garden is about personal accountability for your life and the world you’re constantly curating around you; it’s about being a contributing member of your tribe; and, most importantly, it’s about being immersed in the magic of the moment and letting it wash over you like a late Summer rain on a warm August day, without hesitations from past anxieties or future worries.  It’s about creating your own curiosity and caring less about what others are doing in their own lives.  One of the biggest realizations I’ve had as an adult is that we are all the center of our own universes, and each is just as chaotic and nonsensical as the next – but time after time, people become so wrapped up in ourselves that they forget – I have a universe inside me, too. An empath at heart and a giver by nature, sometimes I don’t realize how much of myself I pour out freely for others – often to the point that I have little to none of myself left. So this year, I want to focus on shifting my perspective inwards, focusing on the cosmic shifts that I can cultivate by my own hands.  Collecting intention and owning the now, I finally see what’s possible for me – and let me tell you, it’s possible for you, too.Water your own garden, and you’ll see your life bloom and blossom in ways you ever thought possible.

How do you choose to water your own garden and what are your resolutions for the coming months? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy 2017!

[Self Discovery] A Resolve for Growth

“Resolve, and thou art free.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

When I moved to Los Angeles in my early twenties, I quickly realized I had the entire world at my proverbial fingertips and set out in a determined fashion to conquer most, if not all, of it. Maybe it was a byproduct of my 20-something, 20-anything phase, or maybe it’s simply an ode to the fact that I love making lists – but as I was rounding out the last decade of my life, I found myself insatiably devoted to the litany of bucket lists that I’d created.

As I approached 30 and 31, my lists extensively cataloged places to go, things to do and personal mountains to climb. Each was carefully curated with the best of intentions in mind, playing on my zest for life while rediscovering a purpose in my passions.  As the beginning of the year came and went, I realized that though my lists were representative of the person that I was driven to become – between the constant stroking of the go and daily reminders of what hadn’t been accomplished, they were also slightly exhausting. As John Lennon so famously said, ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans

Instead of limiting myself to resolutions I tried to start at the inception of the calendar year, I’ve decided to maintain a fluid list of small ideas where each day holds a unique opportunity for growth and a resolve for evolving past who we were, to become who we want to be.  Regardless of when you set your resolution, it’s important to understand that it’s really the intent that matters.  Sure, a ’31 Before 31′ Bucket List was great – but I found myself so wrapped up in checking the boxes and heading into the next goal, that I couldn’t stop and simply appreciate my small moments of accomplishment; and that’s when I realized that my focus was in the wrong place.  Contrary to my previously held popular belief, It’s not important how many goals you accomplish, or how ‘much’ you grow – but that you have the will and wherewithal to grow in general.  We must be willing to step out of the mundane routine of the every day, and into the novelty of creating magical memories where even the most minute metamorphoses can equate to a massive internal shift.

Over the past few years I’ve inched towards several goals, some haphazardly while others have been more wholeheartedly. Tthis year, instead of a compiling a concise list or a ridiculous repository, I’ve decided to keep it rather short and sweet – well, all things considered.  No joke, going back and looking through these lists is a bit emotionally exhausting – not the kind of feeling you want to have when you’re gearing up to accomplish greatness!  Instead of a grandiose number of accomplishments, I’ve whittled it down to a few that I’m set on taking up.

First and foremost,  I vow to give less fucks. Less fucks?  Yes, a whole lot less.  I suffer from this incurable disease called ‘caring too much about everything’ and not only is it time consuming, but it’s simply exhausting.  Giving less fucks has freed up more time to care about what’s truly important – me, my cats, my husband and this beautiful life that we lead – and less about isn’t – like a past that can’t be changed, unwelcome opinions and toxic friendships that in the grand scheme of things don’t matter.  Coinciding with giving less fucks,

Next, I really want to get back into reading. When I read, my writing improves tenfold and my imagination runs rampant – it’s like a vacation in my hands, how could you not love it?? I implicitly understand that reading more than 10 books a year is a lofty goal; one that can basically be accomplished only if you choose to live inside a literary world and essentially ignore the real one that we’re living in.  Instead of a list of 20 books, I really just want to get through five good ones.  Just five.  I think that’s pretty solid.

Now that I have a plan to engage my mind, I also want one that engages my body and spirit.  Creating a militant workout routine just isn’t my style, because give me rules and watch me avoid them – but I’ve rediscovered a love exploring the great beyond, and have found that being outdoors reinvigorates me from head to toe.  Instead of inundating myself with gym time or diet plans, I’m choosing to eat healthier – with less processed foods and more time at the Farmer’s Market.

When it comes to the my professional life, I’ve realized that I need one job that pays the bills and another that makes me happy; and if they can be the same – even better.  By in large, they aren’t though and you have to be willing to subsidize your happiness somehow – take a course at a local community college, join Toastmasters, volunteer at an animal shelter, join a neighborhood council, take up an instrument, join a choir, write for a local paper, read to schoolchildren, start up a kickball team…the opportunities are endless once you open your mind beyond your 9-5.  And working from home, I’ve also realized that when I’m done with work for the day I need to be done – put the laptop away, get off social media, and get into myself.

Lastly, when I think of my friends – I want to let them know personally.  Not post on their Facebook wall or send them a Snapchat, because really – those aren’t for them, it’s for you – I want to reach out and tangibly touch them with my words, hear the nuances in their voice as they tell me about their day.  I want to be present in the moment with them, and by in large that means getting offline and into a real conversation.

Whether you’re carving out a solid block of a few hours every weekend, or devoting 30 minutes a night, it’s important to set aside some personal time for yourself to dive into your dreams and rediscover who you are at your core.

What are your personal goals for this year? Where’s your resolve for growth?