We’ve all been there.
You feel like you’re putting on a show.
You’re afraid that someone will see through your mask.
You’re scared of being humiliated.
The story goes on and on.
I know, because I’ve been there. I’ve wanted to give up in frustration. I’ve battled my inner demons.
Luckily, there is a way out.
When You Feel Like a Fraud — The Video
We’re all human.
That means we experience the full rainbow of thoughts and emotions.
The answer has never been about eliminating certain emotions, but learning to relate to them differently.
Watch the short video below and then read on:
Why Do We Feel This Way?
Even though I’ve been making a living doing what I love since 2009, I still sometimes feel like a fraud. Why is this?
Well, I feel like I should be better. I dismiss what I’ve achieved, and instead compare myself to an ideal created in my head.
I think I have to be an expert. I think I have to pretend to be someone I’m not.
I forget that all I have to be is me.
I’m fooled by the stories in my head about who I should be, and what I should know.
I construct a virtual hell and think it’s real.
How I Deal with Feeling Like a Fraud
I’ve been into mindfulness and meditation for over a decade.
It seems to come naturally to me, to be a part of my human design. This self-awareness has helped me see that feeling like a fraud doesn’t make it so.
It’s a pattern within me. Something I’ve learned. A strategy. And since it’s a pattern, it can be disrupted.
Here are a few steps that I find helpful:
1. Notice the Pattern
What’s going on underneath the feeling?
I can see the thoughts dancing in my mind. I can watch them without getting involved. Kind of like walking through a busy marketplace without buying anything.
I’m afraid of not knowing enough, afraid of being challenged.
I see the pattern, the thoughts, and the accompanying feelings. When I’m able to let it all be, it passes.
But sometimes I’m having a bad day.
However, even having a bad day is an opportunity to notice how I deal with these days, and my tendency to put myself down.
But it starts with watching myself. Watching how I make myself suffer. Noticing what thoughts I believe, and how they trigger my internal state.
2. Relax into Reality
Noticing the pattern isn’t like figuring out a puzzle.
It’s more akin to watching the sun lazily stroll behind the horizon.
It’s a soft watching. I’m curious, yet I’m not too attached to what’s going on.
Doing this, I see that I am not my thoughts.
Thoughts come and go, but there’s something within me that remains untouched. There’s an awareness that is always present.
Seeing this helps me relax. I see that feeling like a fraud is a story I tell myself.
Noticing patterns, and seeing the awareness behind it all, has helped me see that I’m not alone in what I’m going through in life.
We’re in this together. We’re all dancing on the rainbow of life.
3. Beware of Expectations
Feeling like a fraud is, to a large degree, about pretending to be someone you’re not.
I’m afraid that you’ll discover who I truly am.
But how is this a problem if I’m not pretending to be someone I’m not?
I don’t claim to be an expert. I don’t know it all, nor does anyone else. Not even experts know everything, even though they may pretend they do.
I’m a fellow traveler. I share what I find on my journey.
Diving into my thoughts helps me see how untrue my fears are.
However, it’s always wise to make sure I’m setting the right expectations.
If you feel like a fraud, and you’re pretending to be someone you’re not, you may want to reconsider what you’re doing.
If All Else Fails…
Grab a pen, and a notebook, and write down what you’re thinking. Do this for 15-20 minutes.
Keep writing until you run out of things to say, then write some more.
The less you feel like doing this, the more it’ll help.
Do this for a week, and you’ll uncover repeating patterns. You’ll become more aware of how you successfully make yourself feel like a fraud.
With this awareness, you’ll be more likely to catch yourself while it’s happening.
A Neat Summary
When I feel like a fraud, I dive into the feeling.
I get curious about what’s going on within me.
Remember, we often teach what we need to learn, which means we may never feel like we know enough.
But that’s okay.
I don’t have to know everything. In fact, I don’t want to.
I’ve come to enjoy the uncertainty, and the journey to learning more, and then sharing what I learn with you.
And in the end, all I can do is follow my heart, and do what I can with what I have.
My thoughts may tell me I’m not good enough, but I listen to my heart, and I keep moving forward.