I finally have a self diagnosis that makes sense. Impostors Syndrome. Thanks internet!!
Impostor syndrome is the inability to internalize achievements as meaningful; and, the doubt or disbelief that oneself is talented, capable, creative, smart, etc. despite evidence to the contrary. I thought it was just low self esteem!
I can clearly see the pattern. Yesterday, for example, a new client came in with a very unusual set of circumstances. She has been to multiple specialists. She was giving me a chance to help. Here were some of the impostor thoughts that showed up before the session: What can I possibly offer? She will see through to my incompetence. I don’t have the skills.
When thoughts like this show up I push them to the side and move into the work with presence. I just show up, so to speak. I lean on trust to carry me through.
But now that I have a more meaningful framework to understand these types of limiting beliefs, I can shift my focus to the positive. A process I like to call thought swapping.
I now I can actually see how this pattern of thought, and it’s adaptive behaviors, have served as an asset to advance my growth. Here are 10 positive traits of imposture syndrome just off the top of my head!
- It keeps me humble.
- It facilitates a beginner’s mind, keeping me open to curiosity and learning.
- It keeps me down to earth.
- I am able to work from a place of collaboration with my clients, neutralizing the power differential.
- My ego stays in check.
- It allows me to reach out for professional support from colleagues, mentors, and professional supervisors.
- My critical thinking remains sharp, enabling self assessment.
- It allows me to evolve and try new things.
- I only give advice when asked.
- It strengthens my sense of humor and keep me from taking myself too seriously.
These are characteristics I value, allowing me to see virtue in an experience that has otherwise felt limiting. From this perspective, integrating my sense of achievement and competency feels VERY possible!