Strength - Overcome Your Imposter Syndrome and Self-Doubt - The Warriors Will

Strength - Overcome Your Imposter Syndrome and Self-Doubt

ADHD & Autism. It's been a week, and I still can't stop thinking about reading that diagnosis from my psychiatrist. I was reasonably sure that I had at least one of those. I wasn't prepared for the way a 20-page report on my own behaviors would hit me. It read like a textbook. I found myself reading about Tiffany, what her life has been like, and her behaviors that were worth mentioning in a formal behavioral examination.


Hi Warriors! It's Tifa Strife again, though I'm sure after that intro, you knew it wasn't Mark writing this!


Here's the thing: We get caught up in self-doubt, even when we are facing something that isn't our fault, isn't necessarily bad, or even when we know better but can't shake the distortions from our minds. There was another sentence in my evaluation that hit particularly hard—though I technically realized it about myself already. (This is in relation to certain behaviors I have, not the lack of executive functioning from my diagnosis).


Tiffany is likely capable of functioning, but due to her limiting beliefs about herself, she often creates self-sabotaging situations, causing her expected disappointment to become a reality.


Just. Fuck. I fall into thinking in black-and-white, a distortion many of us have about situations in life. What I have learned in dialect therapy is that, more often than not, multiple things are true at the same time. In other words, black-and-white thinking can cause us to self-doubt and feel like an imposter. However, there is a way to accept these emotions, feel them, and let them go. You deserve to believe in yourself. You don't want to push feelings away. We face our battles head-on and come out the other side, radically accepting our situations and outcomes.


The absolute bitch about all of this is knowing that there are times when we get in our own way. There are other times when we know we can do it but can't turn off the anxiety/depression/PTSD, etc, in order to remain calm. The results? Facing situations, we are likely unaware of whether we are in a controllable situation or not.


Obsessing over it makes us stagnant. Reaching out for help makes us look immature/weak (not because it is, but because our societal norm says it is). Giving ourselves the grace to allow those feelings in so that we can heal is crucial. In case it isn't being said loud enough -


FUCK the societal norm. Say hi to the elephant in the room. Be the person who chooses your health and your loved ones' health over being "strong" and having pride.


It's incredible to me how we humans can be stubborn in the name of pride and strength, which causes us to be weak, fail, and self-doubt. Meanwhile, the dreaded emotions (seen as weakness) bring us together and make us strong. Processing emotion is badass. With that, let's look at the beliefs you may unintentionally harbor that qualify as Imposter Syndrome:

1- Fear that we will have to do a task twice because we aren't confident about whether or not we are doing it right.

2- When we measure our success to our perceived success of others.

3- Fear of evaluation at work or feedback from others.

4- Feeling undeserving of compliments and promotions.

5- Having negative feelings about others pointing out our accomplishments (it feels uncomfortable).

6- Question our choices or line of work

7- Feeling like we don't know what we are doing or feeling as though we are unsure why we are doing things the way we are.


There is a scene in Cars 3 that I will never forget. As a mom, I have seen this movie hundreds of times. My child loves Lightening McQueen. There is a scene where the self-doubting character asks Lightening when he realized he was good enough to be a racer. He thinks for a moment, slightly confused, and replies, "I guess it never crossed my mind that I couldn't."


For one reason or another, some of us will never know what that sort of reassurance feels like coming from our own belief system.


It's okay. It's okay that you think and process differently. It doesn't mean you are incapable of obtaining self-reassurance. It just means we need a little more practice at believing in ourselves.


With that, here are some tips for combatting intrusive thoughts!


This first one is a little tricky—don't sweep things under the rug. If you are like me, you've been doing this for so many years that when you first start trying to accept the emotions you feel, you can't figure out how to take your mind off autopilot. It's like you don't even have negative thoughts long enough to try and catch them. I had to practice mindfulness to get to a place where I could take my fight-or-flight reflex offline.


Make a list of your strengths and achievements. When you feel inadequate or like you don't deserve a promotion, challenge that distortion with the truth. It sounds silly, but I promise it helps.


Don't allow others to gaslight you. This is huge! There are people everywhere who gaslight and manipulate. It is a broken world with broken people, and the unfortunate truth is that many behave this way because it's how others behave towards them at some point in their lives. It is normalized in society to have this generational cycle of implicit toxicity. I know there are bad people out there, but a lot of people mean good, not realizing it's toxic positivity. This means setting boundaries that keep you healthy. Here are some examples of boundaries that might be useful for you:

Finally, it's okay to learn. Don't feel bad when you encounter elements of your job that require asking a question or needing someone to show you how to do something. Curiosity is the backbone of a growth mindset. It's also okay to change your mind if you learn more information about something.


Example: Society assumes unmotivated people are just lazy. You have always believed this because it was stated to you as a fact all your life. Mental health professionals have extensive evidence that Neurodivergent individuals lack motivation for other reasons, such as being overstimulated or overwhelmed. With the right tools, they can become successful.

Lesson Learned: Laziness is a problem, but we can't assume that just because someone struggles with work means they are inherently lazy. There could be a different underlying cause.


Choose to be open to sometimes being wrong. It doesn't mean you are inadequate or have failed in some way; it just means you are learning!


You got this, warriors! As always, please let us know how we can love and support you all! We are stronger together.

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