Some time ago, a couple of friends were talking about Impostor Syndrome on Facebook. As I read through the comments, I began to hear the echoes of what I’ve experienced. It’s really not a new thing and I do know what it means to have this thing wreak havoc, in my life. It does not have to wreak havoc in your life.
Would you like to know how to overcome Impostor Syndrome? If so, I’d like to encourage you to keep reading this blog post. I’ll be soon following this article with a video on my YouTube Channel. You can find it, here. Don’t let it try to convince you that it’s new. It’s a lie.
Impostor Syndrome is better known as social anxiety mixed with the fear of other people’s opinions. It’s something that has been plaguing humanity for centuries. In fact, it is a frequent topic in the pages of Scriptures. Every so often, someone is worrying about one thing or another thing. In fact, Paul provides some great tips buried in Philippians 4.
Before I get into what Paul says, it would help to share what Impostor Syndrome means. In the early days of blogging, I would have serious struggles with accepting praise. I felt like it was undeserved and thought, “You are just saying that because of disability.” It never dawned on me that they meant it. I would struggle in believing that my content was of any real value, and it led to some unhealthy habits.
If you are wondering, I am not just relating personal experiences. I am looking at the symptoms described on The Awareness Center site. They have a great article called “Impostor Syndrome: What It Is and How to Overcome It“. As I read through the article, I could see that I’ve been dealing with it, for years. Though it is not a Christian site, I do appreciate their input and putting this liar under the spotlight.
How do you and I overcome the feeling that we are fake or impostors? For one, it would help to stop listening to that lying voice in your head. Yesterday, I did some research on the issue and I am delighted to see that I was not the only person to make the following suggestion: Get your eyes off yourself! Here’s what Paul says in Philippians 4:8-9
8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.Philippians 4:8-9 NASB
Very often, we do not see ourselves in the same way that God, the Father sees you and me. If you do not know how God sees you then ask God. He can help you with resolving any underlying issues and direct you to the right place. It all starts with Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Would you like to put a foot in the rear of lying spirit called Impostor Syndrome? You can begin by saying “yes” to Jesus.
Do you know that God the Father never saw my disabilities? For God, it’s not an issue because God only sees the Son in me. When I first heard this, a look of surprise could be seen on my face. Yet, I know that God fully accepted me, as an adopted son because of Jesus.
Impostor Syndrome would have you believe that you are not of value, and you have nothing to offer. This lie is pure bullcrap! This thing simply wants to weigh you down with fears, anxieties and doubts. If you would put your eyes on Jesus and listen to what God is saying, then you will soon cease to care what that liar is claiming.
Here’s another tip that I came across and it brought a smile on my face. Think of helping other people rather than focusing on yourself. Yes, it appears counterintuitive, and it works. For one, it gets your eyes off yourself and your insecurities. By choosing to be a blessing to someone else, you will starve that lying spirit and learn that you can be of help to others.
Of course, you are going to make mistakes and it is NOT the end of the world! Rather, you will learn and grow each time you help others. Guess what? You will also grow in confidence, too. Do not be afraid to ask God for help and guidance.
Did you catch what Paul says in Philippians 4:9? It can easily be missed when paired with that other Scripture. Here it is:
9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.Philippians 4:9 NASB
Do not make the mistake of comparing yourself to others! The need to compare oneself to others is nothing more than a trap. You will only send yourself on a downward spiral and fill your mind and heart with nothing but fear and anxiety. So, what is Paul talking about in the above quote?
Paul is talking about the things the Philippian Church has learned from Paul. Since he spent time in that area, it makes sense that they have seen how Paul conducted himself. It is good to have people that we can admire and respect; however, it is not a good idea to compare yourself to that person. You are not that person and he or she is not you.
Here’s a better idea. Compare yourself to yourself! When I need to measure my performance as a blogger and YouTuber, I compare my current track record to where I started at an earlier point. In doing so, I can more easily see the progress that I made and where I still needed work. I can’t do this when comparing myself to more experienced bloggers or less experienced bloggers.
The first one will lead to beat ups and feed a feeling futility and a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. The second one will lead to pride and a haughty spirit. Both paths will only lead to self-destruction and you will not grow in your ability to be a blessing to others. Hint: God hates the haughty spirit or pride and will oppose it. Not a winning idea.
Does not that article, mentioned earlier, says to “accept praise”? Here’s what Proverbs 27:2 says, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.” It’s okay to receive a kind word or compliment from others. Just don’t let it go to your head! Accepting a compliment does not lead to pride.
Pride comes when we think too highly of ourselves. Humility is not thinking poorly of yourself. It’s the total opposite of pride and maintain a healthy view of self and a reliant on God. For it expresses a heart or willingness to learn and grow. Pride can never say this for it always sees itself as superior.
How does this relate to Impostor Syndrome? This liar does not seek to fill one’s heart with pride; rather it seeks to fill you with shame. My current pastor once told me that shame is the fraternal twin of pride. They work together and can wreak much havoc. She is right! Remember: Humility is not the same thing as shame.
Here is the final tip that I’d like to suggest for overcoming Impostor Syndrome. Yes, it can be challenging, and it is the opposite of what that lying spirit wants to fill your heart with. It comes from Philippians 4:4-7:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:4-7 NASB
The Impostor Syndrome would have you filled with misery, complaint, bitterness and feeling like a failure. It is very difficult to do that if you are choosing to rejoice in the LORD, instead! God is not far from His children and the Holy Spirit is able to help you. For some, the idea of thanksgiving is a hard concept. Fear not!
Do not be afraid to ask Jesus to help you with your prayers. Do not be afraid to give your anxiety, insecurity and fears to your Heavenly Father. Because God is a loving Father, God is willing to help you. Just pray, “In the Name of Jesus, Father I need your help. Please remove this Impostor Syndrome from me”. I think you get the idea.