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
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.
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 meditating for quite a while.
Meditation has helped me relax. It has helped me see that feeling like a fraud doesn’t make it so.
(Meditation is not a requirement. If it resonates with you, go for it.)
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, having a bad day is an opportunity face this fear head on.
But it starts with watching myself. Watching how I make myself suffer. Noticing what thoughts I believe, and how they give rise to my internal world.
Here’s a short video on how we create our experience of life:
2. Relax into Reality
Noticing the pattern isn’t like figuring out a puzzle.
It’s more akin to watching the sun lazily crawl 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.
I have a thought about being a fraud, and I feel like a fraud. That’s how this experience is created and sustained. I don’t have to change the thought, just let it be.
Noticing patterns, and seeing the awareness behind it all has helped me see that I’m not alone in what I’m going through.
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.
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.
You’ll begin to see the thought-feeling connection. In other words, you feel your thoughts. And just because you feel like a fraud doesn’t necessarily make you one.
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’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 keep moving forward.