The Benefits of Externalizing and Personifying your Impostor Syndrome

Impostor syndrome is a deeply rooted form of anxiety, where the sufferer persistently believes they are inadequate and that their achievements are undeserved. This sense of being a fraud can lead to overwhelming fear of being exposed, resulting in behaviours that can be harmful to success and well-being. Learning to step back from these feelings is crucial.

Externalizing the Impostor

A powerful way to counter impostor syndrome is to get better at noticing when your Impostor Syndrome is showing up and stepping back from it, learning to externalize it. This shift in perspective is helpful in changing how we view and relate to the Impostor Syndrome allowing to change how we then respond to it. Imagine taking those feelings of inadequacy and fear and placing them in front of you. You're now looking at this part of you rather than from it, no longer consumed by the belief that you're a fraud; instead, you're now observing those thoughts and doubts.

Personifying the Impostor

To gain further insight, personify your impostor syndrome. Imagine it as a character. What does it look like? Sound like? Does it remind you of anyone? Give it a name. How does it speak to you – is it a harsh critic, a nagging worrier, or an intimidating bully? You might not see it as a person – a monster, gremlin, or other creature might be a better fit. The focus is on creating a perspective shift.

The Impostor's Message

Impostor syndrome's message is always something like, "You're not good enough, and everyone will soon find out!" When we're lost in those beliefs, it's easy to act as if those thoughts are facts, driving us to hide or overcompensate. By externalizing the impostor, we see its message as just that – a message from an insecure voice, not an absolute truth. Like anxiety, the impostor is biased, always seeking evidence to confirm your fears. This shift in perspective gives us back control.

Steering Your Own Ship

With this new perspective, you remain in the driver's seat of your life. The impostor can offer its opinion, but you decide how to respond. You don't have to accept its message as truth.

Practice Exercise:

  • Notice an Impostor Thought: "I don't deserve this promotion; they'll realize I'm faking it."
  • Acknowledge the Impostor: "There's my impostor, telling me I'm a fraud" or "Thanks for sharing, Impostor!"

These skills create some space that allows us to stop being bullied or pushed around by the Impostor Syndrome, and to start taking more control over how we live our lives.

Therapy can be helpful in learning how to cultivate and develop these skills and apply them in effective ways.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top