Whether it’s our significant others, parents, children, or our closest friends, February is often a time to think about the people we love and shower them with chocolate and affection.
But have you shown much love to that other important person in your life? That’s right. I’m talking about yourself.
One key way to practice self-love is by recognizing and confronting an all-too-common enemy in our personal and professional lives. It’s that icky impostor syndrome that so many of us deal with. Here are five daily ways to shut impostor syndrome down—and replace it with some loving self-talk instead.
Acknowledge When It’s Happening, then Flip the Script.
We all know the first way to combat a problem is to recognize that it exists. Impostor syndrome can creep up at any time, peppering self-doubt all over your relationships, professional accomplishments, and your upcoming goals.
The good thing about impostor syndrome is that it uses the same tired script—over and over. That makes it pretty easy to recognize. Here are some of impostor syndrome’s greatest hits (and how to shut them down.)
- “I cannot fail.” –> “Failure inspires real growth and learning.”
- “I can’t do this.” –> I can do my best, enlist help where possible, and succeed.
- “I’m not enough.” –> I am 100 percent unique and offer my personalized experience and expertise.
- “I’m a fake.” –> I am who I believe I am.
- “I’m nothing special.” –> I am special.
- “Anybody could have done that.” –> I achieved something special and I should recognize that.
Separate Emotion from Fact.
Impostor syndrome creeps up when you’re most vulnerable. Whether it’s at the end of a long work week, after a challenging meeting, or when you’re feeling under the weather, impostor syndrome knows to hit you when you’re down and out.
If one of those familiar self-loathing statements gets through, ask yourself these three questions to determine whether your weakened state is allowing your emotions to get the best of you:
- How am I feeling today?
- Why is this statement popping up?
- Is this statement (ie. I’m a failure) an objective fact?
Celebrate Your Achievements (Big or Small.)
This is a tough one. If I’m being honest, I struggle with this one, too. As an entrepreneur, it’s extremely difficult to remember to slow down and celebrate wins.
In this case, I try to build in celebration and acknowledgment as a habit. On a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, I can ask myself, “What did I achieve?” You can also work backward by setting weekly goals—and maybe even building in a reward for achieving those goals. You can even celebrate a goal accomplished by simply saying it aloud to a loved one. By vocalizing your wins out loud, you might teach your impostor syndrome that there’s a much louder voice in town—and she uses positive language!
However you decide to do it, make sure you slow down enough to build some positive reinforcement into your routine.
Surround Yourself with Positive Influences
We all know, intrinsically, that it’s important to surround yourself with positive influences. Surround yourself with people you champion you, positively challenge you, teach you, and generally make you feel empowered and good.
Those who offer unconstructive criticism, negative feedback (without solutions), or a generally bad attitude about the world? Start to slowly back away from them.
Develop a New Language
Now that you have the tools to recognize impostor syndrome, emotional vulnerability, and bad influences, create your new language.
This might sound woo-woo, but it works. This is like creating a mental vision board—with all the empowering words, feelings, and goals you want to surround yourself with. It’s having a replacement for every challenging impostor-y thought. It’s about working through tough emotional places with words of encouragement. It’s about compiling lists of amazing things you have done to prove that, of course, you can do anything.
Now, get out there and show yourself some true love.
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