Day 30: Radical Forgiveness: The Imposter Syndrome

Boy Wearing Men's Dress Shoes and Suit

Today my plan was to use the Radical Self Acceptance process on the quality of introversion.

I often blame my introversion for holding me back from “greatness.” If I were only more outgoing and more motivated to “get out there” I would have been more successful, sooner.

Just as I began the process, an image popped into my mind that made me realize there was a bigger issue.

The image was of me shortly after a client gives me the good news that they want to hire me. It was of me with a worried look on my face thinking, “Can I actually do what I just agreed to?”

In fact, I was thinking not long ago that the best part of my work tends to be the time between when we agree to work together and the time I actually begin doing the work. I felt really sad because I feel quite often this is true for me.

Because I don’t believe I’ll measure up to what others expect of me. I certainly want to measure up. But deep down inside there’s a little voice saying, uh oh, here you go again.

What is it?!

Here’s what I realized: I believe I’m not enough to have the success I want.

Why? I can offer all kinds of reasons: I’m not outgoing enough, I’m too old, I lack expertise, clients don’t get results when they work with me, etc. But I think the real reason is based on some ideas I got when I was about two-years old and I never bothered to do a reality check so the idea has turned into a pretty strong belief.

When I was a little older than two, my sister was born. I vividly remember the night she came home and feeling really upset because I couldn’t believe my parents would rather spend time with that crying, hairy little thing.

But as anyone who has younger siblings knows, yes, actually, your parents did want to spend time with your newborn brother or sister. In fact, it often seems like they prefer your newborn sibling to you!

My grandmother stayed over that night and she said I could sleep with her which for me felt like a treat. My grandmother was very affectionate and fun and she helped me feel better. But I still found myself feeling cast off.

The message my two-year old self took to heart was “You just weren’t enough so we got a new child.”

And if one sister wasn’t bad enough, when I was six, a second baby sister arrived!! If felt like, “Just in case you have any doubts about whether you’re enough, we’re having another daughter because you’re just not cutting it.”

I know lots of people who loved their new baby brother or sister and felt like their parents had provided them with a new playmate. Kind of like getting a new puppy but even better.

And to make it clear, both of my sisters are great women. I think the world of them.

But for me, at the age of two, it felt traumatic. The two-year old me came up with an explanation that couldn’t help but make me feel insecure and anxious.

I don’t know what my parents did or didn’t do that lead me to feel this way. My parents did their best and for the most part they did a pretty good job raising us. Actually, the reason doesn’t matter at this point.

Why this matters is it explains a lot of crazy choices and behavior on my part.

The challenge now is to remove the energy from this belief and replace it with something that’s true and that supports me.

So I’m going to do the Radical Self-Acceptance process on this idea that I’m “not enough.”



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