Being abused as a child I had very low self esteem growing up and no sense of identity and no one to validate that I was even important.
In high school I had already become very adept at making myself look busy and important when in reality I had no friends and nowhere to go. So, on my lunch hours, instead of sitting and eating, or God forbid, find a group of kids to interact with, I would spend the entire hour either briskly walking around and through the entire campus as if I was on the way somewhere and I would put a look of expectancy on my face to imply I saw someone up ahead that I knew. Sometimes I would even smile in delight at my imaginary destination and walk faster as if I was almost there.
If I was tired that day I found a remote restroom and would sit in a stall with my feet up so no one would notice. I was never noticed or approached. I made sure of it because I knew if they approached me they would learn the truth—that I was a flawed person!
As years went by I learned to paint pictures in my mind of how I wanted to look and accomplished a persona of knowing what I was doing, of looking professional, and being so together. And people did think I had it so together. Inside I knew I had them fooled.
Then I learned about the Imposter Syndrome.
The Imposter syndrome is a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in face of information that indicates that the opposite is true. It is basically feeling that you are not really successful, competent, and smart, that you are only posing as such even when you are indeed a very successful person.
There are at least three ways to recognize if you have been living this way.
1. You actually feel like an imposter and that you have to live like you are someone else.
It is a belief that you do not deserve or are smart enough for your success or professional position and that somehow others have been deceived into thinking otherwise. This goes together with a fear of being, “found out”, discovered or “unmasked”. People who feel this way would identify with statements such as: “I can give the impression that I am more competent than I really am.” “I am often afraid that others will discover how much knowledge I really lack”. Or, “I am really good at bluffing”.
I had learned that I could do anything if I “bluffed” my way through.
2. Attributing success to luck is another symptom of the Imposter syndrome.
Another aspect of the imposter syndrome is the tendency to attribute success to bluffing— not to your own God given gifts, talents, and abilities. Someone with such feelings would refer to an achievement by saying, “I just got lucky this time” “it was a fluke” and with fear that they will not be able to succeed the next time.
3. Discounting Success as a God given gift that you own, but feeling as if you succeeded in fooling everyone.
The third aspect is a tendency to downplay success as “I have them really fooled”. One with such feelings would discount an achievement by saying, “it is not a big deal,” “it was not important.”
It has only been in recent years that Jesus revealed to me that I was not an imposter at all. The successes I achieved, and the gifts I operated in were really who I am! I was really doing them and amazed at what I could accomplish.
Amazing how blinded we can become!
I really WAS that person of value!!! And He loved me for who I am!!!
I don’t have to pretend that I am a gifted, talented, smart person. I really am her!!
What viewpoint have you found that you internalize that you need to unlearn? Think about how believing you are faking your way through life can interfere with the plan God has for you on this earth.
And maybe how we are saying to Him, our Creator, that we are just not worth all that He did to redeem us.
Question these automatic imposter thoughts and feelings and find out what He says about you and be more balanced in what He thinks of you!!
Understand the difference between feelings and reality or truth, according to His truth.
Some people tend to believe that if they feel something strongly it must be right.
Actually, we can do this all of our lives if we want to. But oh, what defeated lives!!
The fact that I feel stupid does not mean that I really am.
This is where renewing our minds comes in. Our soulish realm consists of our mind, will, and emotions. Quite often, from our childhood, we are taught something born out of someone else’s insecurity , prejudice, ignorance, or their own victimizations.
In previous blogs I have written about the ‘Voice” that is ever talking in our ear repeating negative things we have heard about ourselves all of our lives. We have to shut this voice up and not set ourselves in agreement with it by verbalizing and living out what it is saying. Our minds have to be renewed to how God sees us.
Not the false picture of what we thought we saw in ourselves.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Rom. 12:2 NLT