• James McNeil

Impostor Syndrome; another way to look at it.

I was talking with a friend the other day, and the subject of this blog came up in the conversation. I did not know he read these posts, and I was instantly excited to know his thoughts. What I heard was completely unexpected.

“You talk a lot about impostor syndrome. Why is that?”

I struggled for a satisfactory answer momentarily. The question really did take me by surprise. But I finally answered, “Because impostor syndrome is so widespread and affects our lives in so many ways.” I thought that would answer the question sufficiently.

“How so?”

Again it took me a few seconds to gather my thoughts before I responded. “When someone seems himself or herself as an impostor, that flavors the way that person acts. They’ll go out of their way to prove they’re not an impostor. They always have to be right, they tend to one-up people’s stories, and they have to be seen as the subject matter expert no matter what the subject.” By this point, he was nodding along, and I could tell he was following my thoughts.

If you’ve ever dealt with the kind of person I described, you know how frustrating it is. These are not the people we tend to want to hang out with, but that’s precisely what fuels their actions. They are so intent in their belief of being a failure or an impostor that they do everything in their power to prove they’re not.

So what can we do? As difficult as it is, we need to show them that we accept them for who they are, not what they know or how “perfect” they want to pretend to be. We need to show them that it’s perfectly okay to be imperfectly human. That means telling them, “You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to be subject matter expert on everything. Just be you. We want you to be yourself and not try to impress us all the time.”

Will it work? Maybe. Impostor syndrome is a difficult obstacle to overcome. But by showing the self-proclaimed “experts” some understanding and acceptance, we can make a difference. We can help them overcome impostor syndrome too.

Finding Your Personal Mission was written to empower people to overcome impostor syndrome and other obstacles that can lead to suicidal thoughts and ideations. Pick up your copy today at Amazon or Audible and make a difference.

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