Have you ever wondered how to overcome imposter syndrome?
If so, you are not alone! Most of us struggle with imposter syndrome and its associated anxieties at some point in our life. Often we feel the pull to be perfect and seen with favor in the eyes of others which leads to feeling “less than” or “not enough.”
Today, Lindsay Hite, owner and photographer of Show Your Spark located in Braintree, MA, shares vulnerably how she works to overcome imposter syndrome in her daily life as she simultaneously brings light and love to those she serves.
This article is a transcription of a pep talk she gave in November 2021 to Show Your Spark, our private Facebook group, designed to help lift up anyone who identifies as a woman, so she can feel empowered in her own skin.
Read on to find encouragement and inspiration.
From My Meditation Room
“I’m sharing these ideas with you early on a Sunday morning from my meditation room in my home. Sundays are really special for me as I view them as days to slow down. I try not to make any work plans and instead use the day to rest, reset, and catch up from the past week. For that reason, I thought today would be the perfect day to talk about self-care.
My meditation room is my sacred space where I can just sit before the sun rises and find some quiet. I’ll be real with you. I do have anxiety. As a very goal-oriented and driven person, I can be my worst critic. The hardest boss that I’ve ever had is me.
My anxieties show up in ways invisible to others but are very real to me. For example, whenever I prepare to create a live video, anxiety takes over and I think “I’m not prepared.” That’s when my imposter syndrome kicks in.
Recently, I was encouraged not to refer to this feeling as imposter syndrome because that makes it sound like a disorder, which it is not. These feelings are common to all of us, though we often think we are the only ones struggling with them. Maybe one day, society will collectively normalize having insecurities.
Until then, I want to do my part to share a little bit about my anxieties, my methods for working through them, and other things I’ve been reading about how to overcome imposter syndrome.
Tip # 1: Carefully Curate Consumed Ideas
I try to fill my mind with thoughts that inspire me from authors, researchers, poets, and artists. With so much negativity in the world, I need thoughts that can help uplift me. I am careful to fill my mind and social media feeds with positivity and with ideas that help me on my journey of development and growth.
Often, people tell me that I’m so positive and full of joyful energy. I am humbled by those statements, but I also want you to know that I am intentional about the energy I put out into the world. I believe that I can serve the world best by being a light for other people and helping them see their light. This is the main reason behind Show Your Spark Portrait Experiences. I know that the more I cultivate positive energy for myself, the more positive energy I have to give.
Practical Tip: Follow Positive Social Media Accounts
One of my favorite Instagram accounts with inspirational quotes is Morgan Harper Nichols. Her feed is full of positivity, encouragement, and permission to simply be.
“I hope in hallways and parking lot, you can take a moment to breathe, to loosen your shoulders, and know it is okay to not know everything.”
As you read this quote, take a moment and breathe it in. Loosen your shoulders and take a deep breath. Wow, what a relief, right?
Tip #2: Reduce Stress
An article in The New Yorker recently grabbed my attention. The article spoke to the biological effects of stress and our thought life. A lot of the article was way over my head, because I’m not a trained biologist or a chemist, but I found the following study interesting. Scientists exposed healthy cells and compromised cells to a synthetic version of the stress hormone, cortisol. What they found is that when you expose cells to cortisol they burn energy faster. The stress hormone actually causes the cells to breathe faster, which makes them consume more oxygen and, in effect, waste energy.
No wonder we feel tired when we are anxious! Our bodies are actually working harder at a cellular level. Our cells are active in the “fight-or-flight” stage even if our minds are unaware of it! I find it fascinating that our minds are so interconnected with our bodies.
Practical Tip: Breathe to Calm the Body
We can help support our bodies during moments of stress and anxiety by simply giving ourselves permission to breathe. As we slow down and breathe, we can decrease cortisol levels and allow our cells to relax.
I have found simple breathwork exercises, like box breathing, to be highly effective in slowing down my anxiety and grounding myself. Breathing fresh air into our bodies, can calm our minds and reduce stress at a cellular level!
Practical Tip: Take a Bath
One of my other favorite ways to practice self-care is taking an Epsom salt bath. Epsom salt, containing magnesium and sulfate, has been known to help ease aches and pains, stimulate detoxification, and support other body functions. Whether the science backs up this practice or not, the process of taking time at the end of the day to rest and unwind in a warm bath is beneficial to one’s mental state. (If you don’t have a bathtub, warm showers can also help. Just letting the warm water wash over the body can feel like a reset on hard days.)
Tip #3: Find Joy in “Being”
Another way I battle anxiety is by becoming more aware of the little, quiet things of life.
Two books that have been really life-changing for me are “ The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” and “A New Earth: Awakening Your Life’s Purpose,” both by Eckhart Tolle. His work is very much inspired by centuries-old wisdom from Eastern Religions and other indigenous knowledge people have know for many, many generations but sometimes the concepts can be fairly complicated to process. I resonate with the following quote of his that speaks to the power of being present for and finding joy in the little things.
“Most people in their restless search for something significant to happen to them, may continuously miss the insignificant, which may not be insignificant at all.” – Eckhart Tolle
Practical Tip: Practice Conscious Awareness
Finding quietness in life helps me be present for and delight in the small moments of the day. However you can find quietness in life, I encourage you to find it. Once you discover it, be alert. Become conscious of being conscious, and then sort of just become aware of the present moment.
Become aware of your breath and the stillness. Think or say “I am” and add nothing to that statement. Remove all the judgments, worry, and fear-based thoughts. Allow yourself to say “I am.” Notice the stillness that follows that statement. Learn to become comfortable in that silence, in your own presence, in your own “nakedness”, untouched by age, shape, judgment, or social demographic. Just be.
Stay tuned for more!
Remember, our bodies and our minds are interconnected. As we learn to take better care of both by monitoring the thoughts we ingest, our environment, and our mindset, we can more quickly shake away thoughts of imposter syndrome thoughts and stay more grounded in the reality of our unique strengths.
Join us for more discussion on this topic over in our private Show Your Spark Facebook Group, we invite you to continue the conversation in that space with us.
Remember, you are powerful, courageous, and one of a kind. You are enough, just as you are in this moment. Breathe that in, and then go out and Show Your Spark!