Perhaps you know the feeling: everything is going smooth, your boss is happy with your work, and your career is going A-OK. And still this feeling keeps haunting you. The feeling that you’re just messing around, and got away with it so far – but that some day, this will change.
You can keep feeling like this, but you can also try to let go of the feeling and accept that, perhaps, you’re really good at what you do. But how do you let go?
Every time you start doubting yourself, grab a pen and paper and write down how you’re feeling. It’s a way of being more aware of your (negative) feelings. If you do it often enough, you’ll recognise the pattern and will be able to shrug and think ‘whatever’. Writing it down makes it easier to look at your thoughts objectively and put them in perspective.
Once you start doubting yourself, it’s wise to take a good look at your whole ‘being’. This feeling, does it define you? Or is it just a little part of who you really are? You’re so much more than your doubts about yourself.
Just in case you wondered: you’re not weird. Many people feel this way, so don’t worry.
What are the things you achieved in your life? What are the things you actually did yourself, without other people’s help? In no time, you’ve probably made a whole list of successes that were your own achievement. Congratulations, you’re not just messing around.
Instead of telling yourself you’re not able of much, tell yourself the opposite: ‘I’m able of lots of things’ and ‘I’m good enough.’
Alright, you’re experiencing imposter syndrome. That doesn’t mean you are an imposter. If we would believe everything we thought or felt, we would be emotional wrecks. Learn how to recognise the feeling as a story you’re telling yourself. It’s just a story, nothing more.
Life goes on, there’s nothing you can change about that. Punishing yourself and telling yourself you’re not worth it, or you’re fooling everyone, doesn’t make anyone happier. Especially yourself. So let go, and just start living.
Sometimes having a good laugh (about yourself) is the best solution. Look at you, trying to make life so much harder than it needs to be.
Save every e-mail from your boss (or anyone else) telling you you did a good job. When you’re doubting yourself again, you can take a look at it. A nice message from a friend works just fine, too. As long as it makes you see you’re worth it, and you’re good at what you’re doing (not just at work, but also in friendships).
You are you, and no one else. Stop comparing yourself to others. Your colleague may be a better writer, but you’re great with numbers. Just own your own qualities. Admitting you’re good at things doesn’t make you smug. You should be proud!
Photo: Allef Vinicius
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