We’ve all been there.
You feel like you’re putting on a show, you don’t feel good enough.
You’re afraid that someone will see through your mask.
You’re scared of being humiliated.
The story goes on and on.
Luckily, there is a way out.
When You Feel Like a Fraud — The Video
Here’s a short video that I recorded in 2014 that is still relevant today.
Feel free to watch it. The article continues below.
Why Do We Feel This Way?
Feeling like a fraud is often a fear of being found out, humiliated, shamed, and excluded.
We want someone to tell us that it’s okay to do what we’re doing. We crave outside approval, yet even if you get it, it won’t satisfy the impostor syndrome.
Remember that you don’t have to make outrageous claims as to what you know.
You can share honestly, and just be you. This alone is appreciated in today’s world of appearances.
How I Deal with Feeling Like a Fraud
If you want to accelerate this process, take up meditation.
A simple practice of noticing your breathing for a few minutes per day can make an extraordinary difference over time.
That said, here are a few ideas on how to deal with feeling like a fraud:
1. Notice the Pattern
Notice how the fraud train first comes to the station.
Is there an uneasy feeling in your body, and then a story that if you just knew more you would be okay?
Notice the images that come up in your mind.
Notice any internal talk. Observe feelings in the body.
And finally pay attention to how all of the above become entangled and get labeled as ‘fraud’.
This creates a seemingly permanent state of ‘I’m a fraud’, which leads to a sense of urgency. You feel like you have to do something to fix it.
In reality, you don’t have to do anything.
The more you can zoom in on this process and increase the resolution, kind of like increasing the image quality on a movie you’re watching, the more it unravels itself.
Here’s a video on one way to approach this:
2. Relax into Reality
Noticing the pattern isn’t like figuring out a puzzle.
It’s more of a relaxed focusing on what is going on.
Doing this, I see that I am not my thoughts.
I can relax and welcome the images, narrative, and sensations. The more mindful I am of it happening, the more I can notice each part before they become intertwined.
This is a simple practice, yet you may find yourself not doing it, because it is not comfortable, at least not at first.
As this becomes a habit, you discover that each moment of mindful awareness feels satisfying, even if you don’t feel good.
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 that I don’t know anything, that I’m worthless.
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.
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 daily for a week, and you’ll uncover repeating patterns. Common thought patterns suddenly become obvious.
With this awareness, you are more likely to catch yourself while it’s happening.
You begin to see the separate parts trying to become a blob of fraud.
A Neat Summary
When I feel like a fraud, 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. I can just be honest and transparent.
In the end, all I can do is follow my heart, and do what I can with what I have.
There may be thoughts of not being good enough, but I keep moving forward.
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