Someone has been saying the meanest things about me…..
They’ve been saying that I’m not a real artist, that I can’t paint for toffee, my jewellery is rubbish, that everything I’ve done up until now has been a complete fluke and I won’t get away with it again. Any day it’s all going to go to pot and I’ll be found out.
This person is such a ME-anie……’Me’ being the magic word. I’m the one, the only one, who’s been saying these things to myself.
It’s a classic case of Imposter Syndrome. If you haven’t heard of it, you can read a little more here.
It’s not the first time it’s happened to me and I’m sure it won’t be the last (unfortunately). I think this particular episode has been brought on by opening my Carpenter’s Wife shop. There’s nothing quite like starting something new to wake up the mind monkeys.
I know it’s daft. Not one person has accused me of being a fraud, in fact it’s completely the opposite. People have said the most lovely things. Telling me how talented I am and that they can’t wait to buy one of my paintings or a particular piece of jewellery. Yet still my brain wakes me at 3am telling me that they’re just being kind and I should pack it all in.
I am of course in good company.
“I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘Uh Oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’ ” – Maya Angelou
“The exaggerated esteem in which my lifework is held makes me very ill at ease. I feel compelled to think of myself as an involuntary swindler.” – Albert Einstein
Whilst I don’t mind being in the company of Maya Angelou and Einstein, it would be nice to ease it when it takes hold. So how to go about that?
See It For What It Is.
It is not real, it is made up and in my head. I’m creating these thoughts, feeding the bad wolf.
Be Kind To Yourself.
I remind myself that if someone else actually said these things to me, I’d probably bop them on the nose. We should talk to ourselves the way we would to someone we love. Feed the good wolf.
Don’t compare yourself to others. As Theodore Roosevelt wisely said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”. One of my favourite poems of all time is The Desiderata and there’s a line that I always think of; ‘If you compare yourselves to others, you may become vain and bitter, for there will always be greater and lesser persons than yourself.’ We all have our place, and I’m exactly where I need to be right now. We belong anywhere we want to be.
Create a success or happiness journal. Make a note of all the nice things people say, and the lovely things that happen each day. A little book that fits in a bag or a pocket or even a list on your phone (I love an app called Wunderlist). They don’t have to be big things, a smile from a stranger, helping someone you don’t know and how that made you feel, feeling the wind on your face…..That way you can look back on it when you’re feeling unsure and give yourself a boost.
It actually becomes quite funny when you voice it. This is part of my reason for writing the blog post.
If all else fails….there are therapies which can help. This is one of my favourite video clips and although it’s very tongue in cheek, it’s advice I use quite often.
If that therapy’s a little too much for you, something like ‘EFT‘ can work wonders.
If you like the little Memes I’ve created, they’ll soon be available to download and print from The Carpenter’s Wife website, so you can frame them, or stick them to the wall with some pretty washi tape as little reminders. Click the link and sign up for the newsletter to be notified when they’re ready.
Have you suffered from imposter syndrome in the past or present? I’d love to hear about it, leave a comment in the box below; you might find that sharing it makes it dissipate.
I hope it does.