Years ago, I had a very traumatic experience happen in our family's life. Because it involves others I will keep the details private but I can share my own experience with you in order to help you understand this concept better.
As I was working with a therapist, he asked me some very important questions.
I shared with him a moment when a man who had been involved in this crime had literally backed me into a corner. He was completely out of line and was threatening me. The therapist asked me what I did. I said I looked down and tried to pretend like I wasn't there. I let this man think I was broken and resigned to his abusive treatment so that he would leave me alone. Then the therapist asked me how I wish I would have handled this situation if I could do it over again.
I told him that I wanted to punch this guy out. I wanted to scratch his eyes out. I wanted to knee him in his crotch and hurt him. And I also wanted to yell at him and make sure everyone in that building heard how he had treated me and how I had stuck up for myself, which in reality I hadn't.
The next thing out of my therapist mouth completely changed my life. He said
"You are giving off mixed messages because you are trying to fit into a mold that you somehow believe is acceptable even though it doesn't match your inner compass and your inner truth."
I was stunned! He didn't feel sorry for me. He wasn't proud of me for enduring this behavior or keeping the peace? He called me out for being fake and giving off a message to others that didn't represent my real intent or truth at all.
He was brutally honest and he was right.
In our society we literally teach our children to deny their own feelings and needs, All of the time. Think about when a child is playing a sport. When they are hurt their coaches and parents say, shake it off and get back out there. Your team needs you. Or what about our schools grading system. A child feels like they are succeeding if their teachers give them a good grade. But does anyone stop and ask the student if they learned anything or if the subject matter was even relevant to them.
And what about when our children are little and they get a new toy for Christmas and they don't want to share it. We as adults say, "you need to learn to share"...but no one stops to think about it in real life. I mean if you bought a brand new Audi and your friend wanted to take it for the day, you would be offended and there is no way you are just going to turn over your cool new car to someone else. But to that child, their toy is your Audi.
Why are we so afraid to express our true feelings? Why are we so closed off with our deep emotions? Why is it taboo to cry? We all have struggles. We all have weakness. We all have opposition. It is literally part of God's plan. But so many learn to be one way on the outside and a completely different individual on the inside.
This creates fractures in our souls. We put ourselves in a very difficult state of mind when we are constantly questioning our own abilities and our own strengths. When on the outside we seem confident and secure and smart and kind but then on the inside we aren't those things. The truth will eventually manifest itself. It has to. Mental illness, personal doubt and fears create anxiety. We don't feel safe. We lose the ability to trust because if we are being dishonest with ourselves and others then of course others are doing to same. This becomes a vicious cycle.
We stop trying because we stop believing in the possibilities of having a beautiful life.
Everything begins with the level of personal honesty. IF you are struggling with confidence, examine the level of your honesty with yourself and the level of your need to be an imposter and hide your truth.
Some are raised in very religious environments which can be wonderful but most often it becomes an expectation of others that is truly is an impossible task to achieve. In these environments we find ourselves judging and being judged by this unnatural standard. We aren't taught that the true beauty of knowing our God is achieving a level of hope in his constant love and the way we do that is to struggle and fail forward. I mean have you watched a child learn to walk. We don't all stand around and judge that child because he fell down, We clap and cheer him on and everyone in the room is holding their breath as the child takes his first step. When does that change. That hope and belief in each other and ourselves. What happened to the hope and belief that we will eventually succeed if we keep trying and failing forward?
We are all equal is being human. We ALL make mistakes. We all harm others knowingly or unknowingly. We ALL get stuck in the negative and self loathing whether we want to admit it or not.
The answer to overcoming and ridding ourselves of this tendency to be imposters is to shine a bright light on our expectations. Are they our own or are they learned from years and years of trying to live someone else's rules.
Stop and examine all of your beliefs about yourself and about your life. No one has to know that you are making these adjustments to your mindset and your belief system. Depending on the severity of your imposter journey, this may take quite a while and you many want to reach out to a trusted coach to help you navigate this journey.
Side not, beware of getting involved with the wrong coach. Oh my goodness, many of my clients came to me after being coached by crazy so called certified coaches. Very scary. I mean there are coaches who not only advice but almost demand that people end their marriages and put their children into unnatural consequences. Just be careful. A great rule to follow when you are looking for a coach or a therapist is to ask yourself if this is making you love others and be kind to yourself and others. A very good thing to remember is that good is good and bad is bad, always. Pay attention to how you feel. Many of us have gotten so out of touch that we don't stop and simply ask "How do I feel in this environment? Do I feel happy and positive and safe?" Or do you feel like you have to "get tough" and throw people out of your life and create contention?
Don't get me wrong. Being a coach is a very spiritual and emotional journey. I pray for my clients. I put myself in their shoes. I think how can I reach them and show them they are worthy of love all the time not just when they are jumping through those expectations. Truth can be uncomfortable and trust me, my clients and I have moments of uncomfortable discoveries together but they are building and empowering.
Many years ago, my son came to me late one night. He was in his teens and was handsome and athletic and popular. He seemingly had everything going for him. When he came into my room I knew there was something really bothering him. I invited him to sit on my sofa and talk. I sat and waited. Finally with great concern on his face he asked me a very significant question. He said "Mom, do you only love me when I'm good."
It took me a minute to really understand what he meant. Finally I said "There is nothing, NOTHING that you can do or not do that alters my love for you! My love is not contingent on if you get good grades, or if you fail out of school. I love you ALWAYS.
This question is another question that changed my life. Are we like this as adults? Do we act and live a certain way because we are afraid that if we are honest with ourselves and others that we wont be loved?
This is at the core of being imposters. Has there ever been a time in your life when you agreed to do something or go somewhere against your true wishes and then the night of the activity you call and cancel and give a lame excuse or even more detrimental you go and act like you belong or want to be there but your heart knows you are faking it?
Stop the madness. This kind of dishonesty with ourselves causes so much harm.
Nelson Mandela said the most profound statement that I quote constantly.
Now of course this is in my own words but he is the one who inspired this in me. "When we allow our own light to shine, we give others permission to do the same."
Let me give you a personal example. I, of course, have told a friend that I would come to a party and then begged off before... but as I immersed myself in this quest of finding my own truth, I decided that I had to be true in every aspect. So, the next time I was invited to do something I did not want to do I simply said "No Thank You." It was hard and it was a relief but what happened next changed my whole understanding. My friend looked at me surprised at first and then she smiled this bright smile and she said, "Wow Cindy that is amazing. I wish I could be that honest with myself and others. You have just enlightened me."
Being lukewarm is not a place to live but many of us find ourselves smack in the middle of this no mans land with one foot in and one foot out. There is a scripture in the New Testament, I think in the book of Revelations that says something like...God would rather us be hot or cold but because we are lukewarm he will spew us out of his mouth.
God does not want us to be imposters. He created us to be uniquely beautiful. We each have individual gifts and talents that are our own. I do not know how to be you but I do know how to be me. Do you know how to be you? Not your parents or your teachers or your spouse or your children. YOU!! If you can't answer this immediately, then begin the journey to become a detective in your own life and uncover the beauty of being uniquely YOU. There is no place to be an imposter when you are living a true and honest life according to you and your own discovery of what makes you YOU. This kind of personal work creates confidence and balance and JOY that is indescribable. You begin to live with no apology and no crazy expectations. And like Nelson Mandela teaches, you now have the strength to let your own light shine and give others permission to do the same.
My vision for this life is to vanquish depression and anxiety and suicide. I want to help people become aware of their own unique gifts and teach them how very crucial their contribution is to this world. We are family. We need each other. We need to be vulnerable and to be kind no matter what. Let's celebrate each other simply because we are equals in the struggles in this life. They may be different circumstances but they are still struggles and don't forget that struggles are simply failing forward to a more successful beautiful balanced outcome for your life.
Measure your personal honesty. It's called the golden rule. Treat others the way you would like to be treated but first find out who you are and what kind of treatment you want so that you can be true in your actions toward others.
I hope this helps. This took me several days to write. It is a deeply important and personal message. These truths that I share in this blog are real. Test them as I have.
My book Just Be Honest can be found here at this link https://amzn.to/3HBnxmR
If you want a complimentary coaching session to see if we are a good fit contact me on my website at
Be happy and set yourself free through living a more honest life.