For example, about fifteen years ago I started dabbling in writing. This was before the blogging age, so my target was regional and national magazines. A few of my pieces got published and I was excited. I showed them to my Dad with all the prideful anticipation of a five year old. His response was,
"In these articles you set yourself up as an authority by telling people what they should do. You shouldn't do that. You are not an authority."
The article was advice to parents about how to deal with the Pokemon craze!
To be fair he probably said something positive too, but of course I don't remember that. All I heard was "you're not who you think you are..." and like a nit wit, I let it get to me and stopped writing.
There were plenty of other reasons not pursue writing seriously at that time, young children to raise primary among them, but really the wind had gone from my sails. Years later I told this story to my wise older sister who told me that my Dad had a bit of an inferiority complex himself, even though he was accomplished and successful in his field. He would have loved to write only he didn't have the confidence. Her guess was that he was projecting all that onto me.
It helped to hear that but what helped me more was using cognitive behavioral therapy techniques that I learned in my therapy and my own training to built self-esteem on sound evidence and reasoned thinking. Now whenever I get that nasty, 'Oh God, who do I think I am?' feeling, I breathe through it, to calm down my fight/flight response. Then I ask myself if it is reasonable, given my experience and training, to assume a level of expertise. With a relieved sigh, I can say yes.
Your reason for feeling like a fraud may be different from mine, but the antidote may be the same. It sounds simple, but, of course, it's not. Being reasonable with yourself and breaking through the habit of putting yourself down takes exercise and work. If you think Impostor Syndrome is keeping you from getting out of life what you deserve and what it deserves from you, you may want to find a supportive therapist who can help you break through.
Trust me, you genuinely are smart, capable, competent, even a rock star! If you listen closely you will hear your heart telling you the same.Related links and articles:
*From Dr. Valerie Young's website impostorsyndrome.comPhoto courtesy of Rickydavid via Flickr