Impostor Syndrome is a condition in which a very qualified person doesn’t feel that they are as good as they are at something. Those suffering from the syndrome feel like they’ve tricked others into thinking they’re better than they are. While the term is generally reserved for professional and academic settings, it can easily apply to our everyday lives. In anything from being in a relationship, to kicking a soccer ball, to throwing a party, to speaking in public, we can get that sneaking suspicion that we aren’t the right ones for the job, that someone else could do it better. Luckily, I found an easy little exercise to counteract this self-sabotage.
When faced with that moment when you feel unworthy of others’ attention or praise, take out a pen and paper and write down ten reasons you are perfect for that particular thing. Title it, “Top 10 Reasons I Am The Best (lawyer for this case, organizer for this band’s show, girl he could date, poker player, whatever…).” Then, number one through ten, and fill in the blanks with specific qualities you have that make that statement true.
For instance, I have an amazing friend who exudes confidence in her professional life, but when it comes to dating men, she tends to sell herself short. When we got down to it, sometimes she looks over the great guys she really wants (and are legitimate options for her) because she feels that they ultimately would want a different type of girl. A girlier girl, who’s better at flirting, more clever, cuter, wears those side bangs with long curls, etc.
So, we switched it up. Instead of looking at all the things she was lacking, we made a list of all the great things she had that other girls might not. We actually both made two lists, one about ourselves and one about each other for some supplemental confidence. That was really nice too because we got to think, “oh ya, I guess I am good at that.” By the end of it, we were both thinking we were pretty damn awesome.
Writing down these reasons that you are great at something helps to internalize them and accept that you deserve the best. It also helps you zoom in on and accentuate your strong suits. When we are aware of just how qualified and strong we are at something, it becomes important for us to use what we have not only to benefit us, but to share our unique abilities and traits with others.