How to overcome the impostor syndrome: Taking control of your inner dialogue.
This month’s topic hits close to home for a lot of us, myself included. Taking control of your inner dialogue. It sounds so easy to do, but in reality it is incredibly difficult. Our inner dialogue, our conscience, that voice in our head that is narrating our life. Where does it come from? How was it formed? But more importantly, can we change it?
Our inner dialogue comes from the environment we grew up in. Our situation growing up, is something that we couldn’t change. Where we were born, to the family we were born into. Some of us had a great childhood, while others struggled.
Whatever our situation, that shaped who you or I would become. It also shaped our inner dialogues.
Individually, you started to repeat the things that you heard around you. If you grew up in a loving home, you heard things like, “Great job!” “You are so smart/beautiful/talented!” If your parents were more critical, you might have heard things like, “Why did you fail this test?” “How come you aren’t good at sports like your brother?” Unfortunately, at that young and impressionable age, if you hear something enough, you start to believe it. You start to say it to yourself. But that doesn’t make it true.
So how do you get these bad thoughts out of your brain? The short answers is, you can’t. Not completely. If something has been ingrained in you from a young and impressionable age, it will never truly go away. What you can do, is change the dialogue. You can’t ignore those thoughts completely, or else they will come back up like acid from your stomach. You have to acknowledge the thoughts and where they come from. If you don’t, they will scream even louder. What you need to do is focus on the positive. Yes, I was told this or that about myself, but look at all I’ve accomplished. I’m not any of those bad things I tell myself, I am smart, and confident. This can take years to achieve and is made easier with the help of a mental health professional, life coach, or religious leader. But please be patient with yourself and take each day as it comes.
Regarding the imposter syndrome, which is related to that negative inner dialogue, and the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills (Webster, 2019). I’d like you to look inside yourself. Have you ever heard yourself say, “Oh, I can’t do that!” or “That’s too hard for me.” Often times, that’s just not true. But you’re so used to hearing things like that from your own inner dialogue that you end up believing it and saying it to others. So how do you stop those thoughts from creeping in and taking over? Start by doing some introspection. Before you say, “I can’t do that!” think about whether or not you really can do what is being asked of you. You might surprise yourself when you realize that you can do it and you do it based on your own ability and intelligence. The more you push yourself to do things that you normally wouldn’t have even tried, and the more you succeed at it, the less those thoughts will come into your mind. There is even joy in failure. Because at least you tried! Failure tends to give us our best life lessons.
Many of us turn to our religion in these trying times, and God will always be there to support you. He would want you to pick yourself up and try again, to never give up. But most importantly, God believes in the goodness of all of his people and would want you to see yourself in the beauty that he made you. So they next time you have negative thoughts and self doubt, just remember that God loves you, the way he made you. And you should too!
Jessica Faylor is a freelance writer who lives in California. She is available for freelance writing in most genre.