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Not feeling good enough, imposter syndrome and their insidious cousin: shame.



In my last blog post I wrote about the importance of story-telling and the power of vulnerability. This week I wondered how it would feel to share a little of a key theme that comes up time and again in conversations I have in my daily interactions. One of the things I hear most often, is a sense of not feeling good enough. I wondered, and not for the first time, is this something that everyone feels from time to time? Are we all familiar with a sense of not being enough in at least one area of our lives? And mostly I wondered - how powerful would it be for the world to know that?


What if this was true? Think about it, the implications are pretty big. If we all made it known that we can feel less than - and the circumstances people might feel this will differ from person to person of course - but what would it do to our sense of collective shame? Would our barriers fall just a little, would the iron grip the need to hide ourselves from the world has on us become just that little bit looser? Would we finally be able to release ourselves from that most debilitating and insidious of feelings?


The truth about shame is that… drum roll… the less we talk about it, the more that we feel it. The more we feel it, the more we limit ourselves. The more we limit ourselves, the more likely we are to be living lives that are less than satisfying, misaligned to our true purpose. I fundamentally believe this was not part of the plan for us, it’s not an inherent design flaw. Rather, the truth is that we have picked up impressions along our life journey, and these negative feelings are simple a product of our experiences. That they can be worked on and the strength of them can be reduced, if not overcome altogether.


The antidote to shame is in giving it a little social airing from time to time. By owning our feelings and our truth, we are able to take away the power that it wields.

We humans have really not helped ourselves here, have we? Our social systems are based on hierarchies, to do with money, education standards, the colour of our skin - the list is as endless as it is ridiculous. We as a human race, all born equal, have made life much tougher for ourselves than it ever needed to be, desperate as we are to pigeon hole ourselves, categorise each other in terms of contributions to the world, our position in it relative to each other. This of course, is entirely linked to our understanding of privilege. You can’t change who you are or where you’ve come from - but what you can do is change your relationship with it. What this means is getting to grips with self-acceptance. Where we lack privilege, let’s acknowledge it and seek to find people and resources that can help us overcome it. Where we have privilege in abundance, let’s try and use it for good, whatever that means in your world.



So let’s get real about shame then, and think about how we can minimise its effect on us. The antidote to shame is in giving it a little social airing from time to time. By owning our feelings and our truth, we are able to take away the power that it wields. By feeling less shame, imagine the possibilities of life that could await you. Would you go for that job, reassured in the knowledge that you’re simply trying your best, the same as everyone else, and a little more secure in the fact that you have as good a chance as any in getting it? Would you take up that new hobby, no longer embarrassed that the others will all be ‘much’ better at whatever it is than you (unlikely btw - many simply enjoy the process of learning without wishing to acquire skill/talent…). Would you feel able to show yourself that little bit more patience, safe in the knowledge that you’ll get there in your own time… Would you text them back first… whoever they are - knowing that if they realise you’re attracted them, far from looking too keen or opening yourself up to a world of rejection - you’re in fact simply saying ‘yes’ to a possibility of a new connection, not based on who you think they want you to be - but based on an authentic version of yourself.


Not feeling good enough is something that I believe everyone has felt from time to time. Some feel it more intensely than others, some feel it more frequently than others. For some, they’re not consciously aware of it at all - but spend years avoiding situations that may trigger it, rather than face into the fact that this is something they might be able to overcome, if only they would listen to themselves, acknowledge it and work through it.


Psychotherapy is a great tool to help you address that shame, that ‘imposter’ feeling you might have, that feeling of not quite being good enough. It’s important your sense of shame is acknowledged, accepted and explored in order for it to loosen its grip on your psyche. Often, it’s helpful to partner with a professional, like a psychotherapist, who can hold your pain, reflect things back to you, help you to see yourself in a new light - someone who is full of eternal potential that’s just waiting to be tapped into.


If you’re ready to begin that exciting journey - please, drop me a note to arrange a consultation. If you’re not, then the next time you feel that sense of shame or not feeling good enough, try and remind yourself that there’s a very high chance that every person you’re ever going to meet, including those that caused you to feel the shame in the first place - are feeling the exact same way. There is nothing - nothing - to be gained from shackling yourself to a limiting belief that keeps you from being who you truly are, and stunting your own potential.


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