The impostor syndrome is apparently quite common these days, and maybe for good reasons. After all, almost no matter which area we work in, most of us know only a fraction of the knowledge that is out there, and we know very well that even all current human knowledge is only a fraction of all possible knowledge. We are only scratching a surface that is only scratching yet another surface. It was simpler when most folks were farmers, fishermen and craftsmen.
We feel like an impostor, because it is true! No matter what we do, independent of culture and setting, it is true in several different ways. And it is a perceived problem only if it is not seen through, when it is only half explored.
So one way of working with it is to more thoroughly see how it is true, with specific examples. This takes out the stress of feeling that we have to defend against the story that we are an impostor.
Then, we can explore equally thoroughly how the reverse is true, in what ways are we not an impostor. And that takes out the stress of being stuck in just one of the permutations of the impostor story.
We are freed out of the dynamic through seeing that each permutation has some truth in it, and none is close to having the whole picture.
Here are a couple of examples from my own life:
I write this online journal.
- How am I an impostor when I write this journal? (Find at least three examples.)
- I don’t really know what I am writing about. I have very limited personal experience with it.
- I go into areas explored by generations of mystics and practitioners, and there is a wast amount of knowledge and experience out there I am not familiar with. My writing and my own explorations are not informed by the traditions, the work of generations of other explorers.
- I sometimes write about things that was alive for me at one point, but is less alive for me as I write about it. The impression may be that it is alive for me here and now, while it is not.
- (I notice the relief in honestly acknowledging this. A part of me knew this was true beforehand, but it is different to take a honest look at it and write it down. I don’t have to defend against this anymore. It is out there. It is OK.)
- How am I genuine, the real thing?
- Well, I do write from own experience. In the worst case, what I write about is alive in the background of experience here now, or from a memory.
- I don’t try to make it look as if I am writing from a great deal of experience, or that I know more about this than I know. I am very clear that all of this is a question only, coming from very limited experience.
- I am receptive to what people see here. I am willing to find it for myself. To find the truth in it.
I do Breema bodywork
- In what ways am I an impostor?
- I have only done it for a few years, and not even daily at times. Others have far more experience than I do.
- It is endless. Even if I did it full time for a whole lifetime, I would still only scratch the surface. Even if I had the most experience of anyone at any time with it, I would still only be scratching the surface.
- (Hm… can’t find a third one right now.)
- In what ways am I the real thing?
- I have studied it and have a certificate. The center thinks I am qualified to give sessions.
- The Breema atmosphere is alive when I do Breema, and it is the Breema atmosphere that does the work.
- People benefit. They seem to get something out of it, and they (almost all of them) return and want more.