Do you ever feel like you are going through the motions of life and wonder how you got to where you are?
Do you ever feel like you really shouldn’t be where you are?
You are not alone.
This is what I hear:
- I don’t know why she married me, maybe she felt sorry for me
- I don’t know why they gave me this management position, I guess there was no one else available
- There are others who are better at this than I am
- He just said that because he feels sorry for me – he really doesn’t feel that way about me
- I don’t deserve these credentials
So many of us feel like we are an imposter in our lives. We can’t accept our circumstances for what they are. We feel like those comments or credentials or accolades belong to someone else.
Somewhere in our world – we started to believe we were not good enough. Often, it started in childhood. As small children with immature minds, we interpreted what occurred in a juvenile way because we lacked the knowledge and experience to know any better.
If our needs weren’t met at specific moments, we may have assumed it was our fault. If your parents were too busy helping one of your siblings at a time you needed them, and that happened often enough, you may have thought that they were more important than you were.
You may have been on the receiving end of comments such as:
- What’s the matter with you?!
- What’s wrong with you?
- You did it again
- You are such an idiot
- What do you want now?!
- Not now – go away!
- I don’t know why you would want to do that
- You are not capable of that
- You’ll never amount to anything
It’s a collection of experiences like those I mentioned, that cause us to feel ‘less than’ everyone else. We grow up with that thought in the back of our minds – always looking for a small bit of recognition.
As adults, we accomplish great things. We get acknowledged for our skills and abilities and we aren’t able to see what others see in us. We have a void. We don’t feel deserving. We end up feeling like an imposter in our own lives. We allow that voice in our heads to reject anything positive about who we are or what we have done.
How do we move past this?
Here are some ideas that have worked.
The most important point I’d like to make is that we are all lovable simply because we exist. We do not have to do anything special to earn love. It may take a while, but this is the first step.
Recognize that you are deserving of love and of good things in your life.
The next step that can assist you is to write down what your perspective is on your strengths, skills, personal attributes and accomplishments. What you are most proud of. You may not yet be able to admit this to others – so start with admitting it to yourself.
Keep a journal and write down at the end of each day, how you used those skills or attributes and how they impacted others. And, how that made you feel.
Where you feel undeserving, take time to reflect on what got you to where you are. Ask your partner what he/she loves most about you and accept it! What did you have to do to get the promotion at work – you wouldn’t have received it if you were not qualified. That degree you received was because of your hard work.
Every time you hear that voice in your head, shut it down. You can do that by writing down every message it tells you. Then look at the list of messages – no one will like you, no one will buy what you have to offer, no he doesn’t feel that way about me, I don’t deserve this job, it wasn’t anything special – read all the words and you will see a pattern.
Find some alternative messages to replace these negative ones. The trick is to catch yourself in the moment when a negative thought enters your head. It takes practice and a desire to find a more positive outlook on life.
You are deserving. You are lovable. You are capable. It starts with believing in yourself!