It would be great if we all felt wonderful all the time. If we were vaccinated against sadness, anger, and other negative emotions. There are days where we feel down, there are days we feel stress, we cope with sudden change, battle through when our energy is running low.
Unfortunately, for a lot of people, these aren’t one-offs. It isn’t a rarity. It’s the reality. These low days seem to come in their droves. When you suffer from low self-esteem or a lack of confidence, the voices of shame and the inner critic seem to get louder.
A great thing arrives in front of you, whether it’s a new relationship, a job opportunity or otherwise, when we struggle with confidence it’s easy to block the goodness. We battle the unrealistic expectations that other people build around us.
We don’t feel as though we deserve to achieve anything because we just haven’t been good enough. Before you can get your life back on track, you have to feel better about yourself. To feel better about yourself, you have to acknowledge the negative feelings that have brought you to this point.
Know this! Digging those feelings out to identify them and point them out isn’t on a parallel with giving in to your feelings of unworthiness. You’re taking back the power by eliminating the power it has.
A lot of people struggle with something you may have heard of. Imposter Syndrome. So, let’s break it down because there’s a good chance that your feelings of unworthiness are being influenced by it.
So, what is imposter syndrome? It’s this deep belief that you are a fraud and at any moment, everyone is going to uncover the truth about you. You may feel like this every time you share something on social media. It could be every time you stand in front of your colleagues to make a presentation.
It doesn’t matter what it is or what you’re doing, it feels as though you’re simply faking it. Even though you aren’t an imposter, it feels as though you are.
Now, there are people who should feel like imposters, yet, they don’t. Someone living an undercover life as a spy, a person trying to rope people into MLMs, those are people who should feel like imposters. Yet, they don’t.
There are plenty of people out there who feel the same as you, even celebrities like Tina Fey, Kate Winslet, and Maya Angelou.
You could, like Angelou, write numerous books, best-sellers even, and feel like a fraud. The feeling of being a fraud, the idea that you don’t deserve success, it’s only getting worse.
That could be down to the fact that we live in a culture that praises success as it sees it. You’re expected to maintain an online presence, you have to be authentic, but it’s difficult to do both of those things successfully.
The temptation to aggressively sell yourself to maintain your online presence can be too much. Our society has been designed to make you feel like you don’t deserve the things you’ve earned.
Perfection is impossible – but you can overcome imposter syndrome, you can overcome the idea that you don’t deserve success. You have to overcome this belief in order to get everything you want in life.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
1| Take it Down a Notch
We often tend to feel fraudulent when we convince ourselves that we’re more important than we are. It’s as though we convince ourselves that we’re great at something, just so we can shoot ourselves down when we start to believe it.
You will feel far more deserving in this life if you learn to shake off the self-importance you affected along the way. You likely did it for good reason, to try and elevate your confidence. Unfortunately, it’s had the opposite effect.
2| Success Roles
This is a tough one. You have played a massive role in the success you have achieved thus far. You have earned the right to be where you are. You seized on the right opportunities at the right time and you’re standing tall because of that.
If you look at someone like John D. Rockefeller Jr, son of the senior John D. Rockefeller, his life’s work was giving away the money he had inherited from his father. It’s not his fault he inherited all of that wealth, and he didn’t have to give it all away. He chose to follow in his father’s philanthropic footsteps, but can you even imagine how intensely undeserving he would have felt at some points throughout his life?
There are a lot of people who are born with silver spoons in their mouths. They get even more opportunities to succeed than “normal” people do. It might be easier for them, yes, but if you don’t think they experience imposter syndrome as you do then you would be mistaken.
It isn’t fair that some people get more opportunities, better opportunities, but you can only play with the hand you’ve been dealt. It just means you’ve had to work even harder at seizing on those opportunities that come your way.
See how deserving you should feel? Especially when you look back on your life and consider the decisions you could have made. You made this life happen for you! Be proud of that.
3| Adding Value
If you are convinced that you’re undeserving, if you believe you’re a fraud, then what must everyone else be thinking? You worry that everyone will shun you if you fail. You worry that you’re not as knowledgeable as the person who repeatedly interrupts you. You’re concerned that no one wants to hear what you have to say.
Do you want to know the quickest way to overcome the feeling that you’re undeserving? Genuinely adding value to the lives of others.
It won’t be easy because sometimes people don’t want help. However, if you are sincere, then you must keep trying. Find new and unusual ways to add value to the lives of the people around you. Do a good deed, support them through difficult times, and help.
4| The Compliment File
Stick with me here because this one is going to be difficult for you to stomach. When someone compliments you, make a note of it. It might be a text that you screenshot and file away in a special folder. It could be a comment on social media. It might be that you write down something nice someone said. You might think your footprint is small in this world, but even a small foot can make waves.
5| No More Comparisons
How often do you draw comparisons? Do you look at teenagers making waves in the world and compare your success to theirs? Are you watching younger people run for public office and comparing how far you’ve gone to them? Why? We’re all in this world to do our own thing. You don’t want to make waves; you don’t want to run for Congress. If you did, wouldn’t you be doing that already? You don’t need to make comparisons based on what everyone else is doing. It only matters what you’re doing.
If you fall into the comparison trap, you will only find yourself saying that your life doesn’t measure up. Your life isn’t the life you want. You aren’t on this planet to compare your life to everyone else.
You aren’t on this planet to try to walk in someone else’s footprints. You’re here to be you and to live your own experience. You aren’t a fraud, you’re not undeserving, you are you.
6| Expose Yourself
There is an unconscious belief that many of us carry that suggests you are too great for the world. That your ability is greater than everyone’s and the truth of the matter is that the world just can’t handle it. This underlying belief is one of the reasons that many of us feel undeserving. We convince ourselves that an untrue thing is true and then we beat ourselves up for not achieving what we set out to achieve.
Take a beat and think of five insane facts about yourself. You don’t have to share it. It doesn’t even have to be a fact, it could be a thought or a belief, all about the terrible thoughts that make you feel like a fraud.
Even better if you can write them out. Looking at a piece of paper that highlights their insanity is great. It won’t get rid of them for you, but it will help you externalize them. That allows you to view it from a more logical or sane perspective.
Think about this for a moment. You have been friends with someone your entire life. That friend has never been openly gay, but everyone kind of knows they are anyway. What your friend hasn’t told you is that the idea of coming out is terrifying. Your friend feels as though the moment those words come out; their entire world will implode. Everything will be done, friends will go, family members will shun.
Terrifying. Finally, your friend works up the courage to say those words to you. You accept this because you’ve known all along anyway. It wasn’t a big moment for you. It was for your friend, though.
Within a month, they’re living their life more authentically than you have ever seen them. Something inside of your friend was rusty, trapped, and unmoving. By speaking their truth, by showing you their authentic self, they freed themselves. They let their guard down for a moment and changed everything.
There is power in exposing yourself to the people who care about you.
7| Wrong Isn’t Fake
Even LeBron James misses the basket sometimes. Losing is just a part of life. You can respect failure for what it is without glorifying it. Just because you were wrong, just because you made a mistake… that doesn’t mean you’re undeserving.
You deserve to be in the game of life and just because you haven’t won it yet, doesn’t make that any less true. Nobody deserves to be here more or less than you. All of us are going to die eventually, we simply take different routes to make it there.
9| Daylight Robbery
You might not realize this, but we all possess special gifts and talents. If you hold those gifts back, then you are essentially robbing the world. If you imagine you’re someone else, if you convince yourself you’re undeserving, that negativity is rubbing off on everyone else. It’s difficult for you to be there for others because your stunted expression makes it difficult. We all have doubts, but the greatest gift you can present to the world is to keep moving forward, despite the doubts. You’re giving yourself permission to move forward.
10| Say It
Have you ever found yourself in a position where you’re on a pedestal and everyone is looking to you to speak on a specific topic? You’re the expert, now dance! Nothing will make you feel more undeserving as quickly as this.
The best thing you can do this when you’re put in this position is to simply say what you do know about that topic. If someone asks you something that you have no answer for, promise to follow up. That buys you time to go find out more and relay it back to them. You don’t need to feel undeserving just because you don’t know something.
11| Nobody Knows
Let’s be real, nobody knows what’s going on all the time. People act as though they know all the answers, but they don’t. The world has been shaped by the people who tinker, the people who fail, and the people who succeed. We can’t know what comes next, we just have to be willing to keep playing the game. That doesn’t make you undeserving, it doesn’t make you an imposter.
Imposter syndrome isn’t about being lazy. You cannot survive in this life without taking action and by taking action you make it impossible for that feeling of undeserving to take hold.
Action tests your mettle. If you have a set of goals you’re constantly striving for, then it will be more difficult for imposter syndrome to take root. You may feel undeserving from time to time, but by taking action you show you’re not going to let it stop you.
13| You’re Never You
We’ve mentioned authenticity so, it may seem like this is taking the conversation in a different direction. Ultimately, we are constantly evolving as people. So, because you’re constantly changing and become a new person, you’re never really you. You don’t have to complicate this idea.
Six months ago you were obsessed with queso, you ate so much of it you’re lucky you didn’t turn into a wheel of cheese.
Now, you rarely touch the stuff. Three months ago your entire world was binging the entirety of Downton Abbey. Now, you don’t even think about it. We’re always shifting and improving. You become better by trying to do better.
This is the danger of the idea of authenticity. You’re never really you, but you can’t be anyone other than yourself. Understand that you’re not being inauthentic, you’re not a liar. You are the you that you are.
There are authentic aspects of yourself that will never change, while there are a lot of aspects of your life where things are fluid. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
14| Fake It
It may make you feel like a fraud, it may convince you further that you are undeserving, but sometimes the best thing for it is to fake it. Don’t let fear shake your confidence. No one is an expert on the first day of work, even if you feel as though you’re expected to be.
So, put a smile on your face and grin your way through it. When a baby is learning how to walk, do we point at them and laugh, calling them frauds, every time they fall down? No, that would be absurd.
The Big Challenge
After all that, answer this: do you feel undeserving? If you do, then it’s something you must overcome in order to get all that you want in life. You have to overcome your imposter syndrome.
Your challenge is to think of a time where you felt like a fraud and what managed to avoid because of that feeling. For example:
I recently applied for a job I know I can do. However, compared to the other applicants I feel like a fraud. They have multiple degrees on top of some experience. Me, I don’t have a degree, I just have a long history of doing this job. Instead of dealing with the inevitable rejection I intentionally threw the interview with a poor performance.
In this example, this person has avoided rejection. Yet, in doing so they have damaged their chances at a great job they’re perfectly suited for. Maybe you would love to start a blog, but you keep putting it off because you’re worried about people challenging you or getting negative comments.
Perhaps you have been avoiding opening a business because you’ve convinced yourself you don’t deserve it. After all, you’re not really an entrepreneur. Maybe you can’t approach the person you like because you assume, they will refuse your coffee invitation.
Now that you have taken the time to come up with your own experience… it’s time to change it. Go out and do something about it!
You escaped a toxic relationship, but you can’t quit smoking. You joined the gym, but you can’t let go of chocolate. You waste hours on social media while you binge mindless movies and television shows. Sometimes you push forward in one aspect of your life while falling behind in others.
Sadly, many of us have allowed the belief that we are undeserving to take root. We don’t deserve good things so; we will resist those positives and avoid taking care of ourselves properly.
There is this sense that we are undeserving. This idea that the things that will make us feel better are the things that we should avoid because we don’t deserve to feel better. Instead of asking yourself whether you deserve good things, ask yourself why you deserve them.
Often, this feeling of undeserving comes from past situations. These situations have heavily influenced our outlook on life. It impacts our understanding of how deserving we are.
After experiencing shame, loss, and trauma our worldview takes a hit. Do you feel angry? Do you feel sad? Do you feel stuck? As though something is stopping you from doing better for yourself?
Our histories are powerful, and they can convince us the things that aren’t real are real. The pain that you hold in your history is stopping you from trusting yourself now. A lot of feel like this but cannot articulate it. Yet, we still self-sabotage.
The first step to overcoming those feelings of undeserving is to determine how they formed and why they formed. Not only do you deserve the best things life has to offer, but you deserve to believe that. You deserve a break, too. This is your opportunity to take that break, a break from beating yourself up for failing to meet expectations that you never really set.
It all begins with self-compassion. It’s difficult to make positive changes when you spend so much time feeling undeserving. When you understand what it is that makes you feel that way, you can forgive yourself and move forward.
You have the power to empower yourself to build the life that you want. However, in order to get all that you want in life, you must first recognize that you are deserving.