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Unlearning damaging societal teachings and getting rid of your imposter syndrome.

Welcome back to the Joyous Misfit Blog!

Have you ever been a victim of imposter syndrome? Most of us have - whether you realise it or not.

For the very few of you out there who are completely confident in all things at all times… tell me your secrets!

What is imposter syndrome?

If you’re not sure what it actually is, the imposter syndrome creeps in when you start to doubt your skills, talents, hobbies, careers or accomplishments.

It can happen to anyone. It has you doubting just how good you really are, and you end up with thoughts like this:

Am I really any good at this?

Am I just faking my way through it?

I don’t deserve my accolades and awards.

Other people are so much better at this than I am.

I’m not perfect at it - so I should just stop trying.

Everyone else can see that I’m no good at this.

I don’t deserve my accolades and awards.

I’m embarrassing myself!

Don’t worry. You’re not alone. These are all very human, very understandable fears and thoughts - but that doesn’t mean they’re true.

Unfortunately, there’s no one quick fix for the imposter syndrome.

Overcoming your imposter syndrome

No, there’s no quick fix - but there are fixes. Like anything worth doing in life, it takes a little bit of hard work - but I know you, and you’re not afraid of that now, are you?

I want to talk about imposter syndrome because it’s something I see a lot in my clients and in my creatrix group.

We’re conditioned from such a young age to always be disappointed with what we do, and to always feel like we aren’t good enough. And, in fact, I see it most in women. If we’re confident or sure of ourselves, it’s seen as ‘cocky’, ‘arrogant’, ‘bigheaded’ and ‘unattractive’.

I won’t get into the political and philosophical semantics of it all now - because you’ll end up reading a 10k word blog post! - but it’s very clear in how we treat ourselves.

Do you ever look in the mirror and think “wow, I look incredible!” without critiquing yourself?

Do you ever complete a piece of art, or writing, or work that deep down you’re really proud of, but when someone compliments it, you find yourself going “oh, it’s not that good. I mean, I could’ve…”

Imposter syndrome in art. Overcoming imposter syndrome.

It might not seem like those little thoughts have much of an effect, but when you’re potentially repeating them to yourself several times a day, it can actually be very detrimental to our psyche, our souls and our self-confidence.

And to quote the Princess Diaries (brilliant film):

Gif of Joe in the princess diaries to battle imposter syndrome.
Joe knew what was up.

...and that includes you.

So, how can we fix it?

  • Stop talking yourself down when you create or achieve something.

Created a piece of art? Don’t tell yourself (or everyone else) that you’ve done better, or so-and-so has done better, or that it’s not as good as it could be. You’ve created that. Your brain and your body worked together, in conjunction, to take the image you could see in your mind and realise it in front of you to share with others - that’s nothing short of MAGIC!

  • Stop disagreeing when someone compliments you or what you’ve created

If someone says “wow, you look beautiful in that dress!” don’t be self-critical - just say thank you. If someone picks up your art and says “I love how you’ve used these colours!”, talk about why you chose those colours for that piece. It invites deeper conversation, more meaningful relationships and leaves you feeling good!

  • If you’re struggling with your job...

Just know we’re all faking it until we make it. Truly. Apart from, maybe, neurosurgeons, no one really knows everything there is to know about their job. That’s kind of a beautiful part of being human - we’re always learning, and usually from each other. If you’re trying and always looking for ways to improve, you’re doing just fine.

  • If you win something you don’t feel you deserve...

You won it. So clearly someone thinks you deserve it. Believe them!

  • Stop being a perfectionist.

Okay, not as easy as it sounds, I am aware… but if you’re forever looking for flaws and holes, you will find them.

So we know reframing our thoughts and internal voice works, but if you’re finding it too difficult at first, I’d encourage you to simply look at the thought instead of letting it go over your head.

“I’ve just completed this watercolour painting. It’s good, but… it’s too splotchy because I used too much. And I haven’t used the correct shade of blue. And it really looks nothing like the image I’m modelling it off of.”

When you have this thought, stop. Sit on it. Force yourself to look at it. Our self-deprecation likes to hide in the dark corners of our minds, just out of sight. The more we force ourselves to just look at it, confront it, the more uncomfortable we will feel with that thought. Ask yourself why you’re thinking that. Ask yourself if it’s really a big deal. Maybe that shade of blue works better. Maybe those splotches can be turned into beautiful pools of rich colour that add to the piece.

Once you’ve mastered acknowledging those thoughts, you can focus on confronting and changing them.

Have you ever had imposter syndrome? Tell me all about it in the comments below. I bet you’ll be amazed at what other people share once one person does.

As always, my messages and my workshop are always open (except when it’s closed) and I’d love to hear from you!

Talk soon,

Emma x

P.S: My workshop is all about creating a safe, supportive space. If you’re looking to flex your artistic muscles, I offer 1:2:1 classes that are rich with personal tutoring and advice. Or, join our fabulous community of creatrixes at our group classes.

See you there! 💜


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