It is important to begin by saying Imposter Syndrome is not really a syndrome. According to an NBC news article I read, “it’s estimated that 70 percent of the U.S. population has experienced what’s known as impostor syndrome.” The term sounds like we are trying to take over someone else’s identity but really it categorizes a defeated feeling many of us have about ourselves despite our many accomplishments.
Are we imposters to our own lives?
Is someone already doing it better?
Social media highlights successful people with a lot of followers, living the dream and reaching their goals every day. However, for some of us, this feels like an impossible dream. But also, we do not see behind their lenses. Imposter Syndrome leaves us never having enough validation to justify our means. Whether you are a stay at home parent, a student, work for a company or an entrepreneur, we feel we have not earned our titles. That we will never amount to the goals we set for ourselves leading us to a sense of dread, anxiety and procrastination.
A lot of this is fear talking. I know. It is my fear.
I work out pretty regularly. I do a little cardio, yoga, and some weights. I never have run longer than 2 miles. I never thought I could do more than that. I ran four miles the other day. My face was incredibly flushed. As I looked at myself, I had this ah-ha moment, where I pinpointed the fear of failure regarding this task.
When I was in middle school and tried to run the 10-minute mile, I was slow. It took me 15 minutes. When I finally finished my face was red as a beet, almost purple. Kids would make fun of me. Saying, “Oh my God your face is SO red” or “you look like a cartoon when it gets mad”. It made me hate running so much. I just thought something was wrong with me. I felt this huge relief to pinpoint a lie I had been telling myself that was keeping me from what I could actually accomplish. I am a runner.
What lies do we tell ourselves or what expectations do others have that make us feel like an Imposter?
I had a long adventure with college. It took me 10 years to get my Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts. Another two years for a Master’s in teaching. I KNOW I worked hard to earn it. I remember getting accepted into the Painting program at the University of Tennessee. I remember the 9 five-foot canvases I stretched to paint, the countless hours I painted and cried on the floor of my studio, the shirt I was wearing and feeling like I won the lottery. However, when someone refers to me as an artist I shrug and make some depreciative comment. I have my Bachelor’s Degree framed in my art studio. Yet I shrug at the notion that I am an artist and claim that I am just an art teacher. Just…
How could I feel that I did not earn any of this?
What fears prevent us from seeing that our accomplishments and goals are our rites of passage?
|Me After Running 2020 VS Me Getting into Art School 2009 (same shirt)
This path of self-love has provided me with terms such as Imposter Syndrome and Pluralistic Ignorance, a feeling that YOU are the only one that feels this way. It is 100% fact, that this is not true. You are not alone.
This doesn’t give me immediate relief but for the sake of mindfulness it does give me hope. Art school gave me skill but it brought out vulnerabilities that I had to show off visually. It made me insecure on top of my insecurity. I know now that I have to bring awareness to these types of feelings and coax myself out of negative self-talk, daily. I have to look at it from another perspective while accepting those feelings. Mindfulness is self-awareness. It is uncomfortable as it is beautiful. It is a practice, not a cure all.
I am constantly telling myself that I don’t make enough work to constitute being an artist. Even when I am creating every day. I try and make excuses like “I haven’t painted in a while” or “Oh this thing, I painted that a long time ago” or “I really have to work on it to be good”.
I know that I have technical skills, I have taught my students to find creative paths, I do paint, make, tinker, support artists and appreciate work. I take classes and learn more to teach more. I am an artist.
When we started Creating Mindfulness I knew that I wanted to help people with this practice. Meditation, mindfulness, and art has no doubt saved me in my darkest of times. I am not a master of meditation, mindfulness or my emotions. I do not have any certifications that tell people I know anything about it. I do not have a large number of testimonials, social media followers, nor do I belong to a meditation group besides the ones we facilitate. I have been telling people to excuse my shortcomings of not being an “expert” in this field. I do want people to know that I am not a guru or have a particular certification, however, I have definitely been hiding behind this because I felt I was posing as a meditation teacher.
I have been practicing meditation for over ten years and have facilitated over 30 women’s circles, five retreats and several workshops. I have practiced mindfulness and art exercises with my middle school students. I use it daily. I take courses so that I can keep learning my craft. I am a meditation teacher.
Stop. Talk. Roll.
The best way to get these lies out of our head is to stop and talk about them or write them down. What are the lies versus the facts? Write down your accomplishments and roll through them. With every lie, counter it with a positive truth or new perspective. If you feel incompetent, then what steps can you take to learn the skills you need? You might need more training or experience but that doesn’t make you an Imposter. It makes you human.
So go make some art, meditate, run a 5k. If you want to run a business, you are capable. Take some risks, learn a skill, and be brave. You are worth all your hard work.
~ Dorothy Verbick
Artist, Writer, Runner, Meditation Teacher, Being-Human Supporter, Entrepreneur, anything I want
Here are some photos of me faking being me:
|Faking Me Laughing
|Faking Me Dead
|Faking Me Meditating
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REGISTER HERE ME FAKE FACILITATING AT OUR RETREAT