Life with Kim - Life Halting Imposter Syndrome
It wasn’t until the last couple of years that I heard the words ‘Imposter Syndrome’ To me it sounded worryingly dark. Maybe the article I was reading those years ago was going to tell me it’s when you intrude in on people who don’t want you there…. or maybe someone breaks into your house, but then it’s not really their fault and really it’s yours…. or something crazy sinister like that (Too much Netflix horror Kim, I know) If your not familiar with Imposter Syndrome… It’s OK, It’s not either of those After finding out what Imposter Syndrome really is, I felt like crying. What I was feeling was actually a ‘thing’ and not something I felt just myself. It’s felt by so many people all over the planet. This is just one of the things that triggered me to take up my studies in NLP.
In the most easiest possible way for me to explain this to someone who has not heard of it, Imposter Syndrome is when a person, regardless of their achievements in life, have a constant underlying fear that they will be called out as a fraud. That they are not really good enough, and they are only where they are today because of luck. Imposter syndrome, is feeling like an imposter in your own life, when your actually not. It’s the sudden (false) realisation of not being good enough, a fake and potentially being called out for this and sometimes it can feel crippling.
It wasn’t until I started wanting to ‘do more’ in my life that imposter syndrome actually came in and bit me on the butt. No it didn’t pinch me in the butt it full on took a chunk, my imposter syndrome had teeth. I decided I wanted to be a Pilates teacher, I passed my exams started my business and guess what, I nearly packed it all in before I had even got started.
I can’t, there's so many teachers better than me, my clients will realise I’m not as good. What if a well established teacher finds out? They will report me to a non existent pilates police station and I will get thrown into the pilates jail of shame and never be able to teach another class again. I should just stay low key.
I’ve also dealt with…
It’s ok that my kids have not eaten their breakfast. I can’t force them. They will eat when they get hungry. OMG…. what if he tells the nursery staff he hasn’t eaten breakfast? I’m such a bad mum…..They’ll report me. Then I’ll get my kids taken away.
As much as people talk about imposter syndrome as though it’s subject to celebrities and high flying career climbers, I believe that motherhood is a breeding ground for imposter syndrome. Right from pregnancy. The panic I felt rush through me when I was pregnant with my first child and having a dollop of mayonnaise on my salad (OK, chips) After reading how dangerous it is for egg reasons….. I was convinced I was going to first trimester jail. “What if someone finds out? I’m not good enough to be carrying a baby, they will tell everyone and then I’ll be THAT mum that ate mayo while pregnant. Oh the shame”
And then you actually HAVE A CHILD. Just lock me up and throw away the key.
Obviously this is just a whole load of tish tosh. My kids will never be taken away from me, I’m a sh*t hot mama (and no one would take them) But I do want to let you know that if you are sat reading this and resonate, maybe you feel underqualified, maybe you feel like your going to be found out and that actually no, your not good enough. Or maybe you're just questioning your own ability to do certain things. Then you should know, this is imposter syndrome and you are getting it because you are a good honest person who cares about being good enough. The fact that you are worried about being good enough shows that you care. The best advice I have ever been given when it comes to imposter syndrome is to ride it out like a wave. Confront it for what it is by accepting these feelings show that you care. It means that you are competent even if the feelings are untrue. It takes practice, but after 4 children, a couple of career changes and a few google searches for “how to be a good mum” I can say I think I’ve got it under control. I know I am good enough, and so are you!
Me and Heena would love to hear about your imposter syndrome stories. Please do share them with us!
By Kim Whitworth
Image by Cole Keister Pexels