Tired of feeling like a fraud?
by Majbrit Villadsen on April 3, 2016
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How to take back your power and focus on your own needs
Do you ever feel like a fraud? Running around like crazy to be the perfect everything to everybody? Trying to ignore that gnawing voice in your head saying, you’re not good enough, who do you think you are? And despite your obvious accomplishments, you remain in fear of being exposed as a fraud.
A few years back I was attending a health fair as an adviser for a company producing homeopathic medicine. I was there to help visitors in their search for the right homeopathic remedy to restore balance in body and mind.
Fairs always leaves me feeling drained. The energy from so many people, and all the sensory inputs are an overload to my nervous system. On top of that it’s hard to be on for so many hours; and my fear of being judged for not being good enough made me wish nobody would come and ask for guidance. Of course wishing that would make me feel guilty.
I’d put up a facade of being available, ready and open but felt like a fraud; who am I to advice these people, how will I be able to make a difference for someone, these were the thoughts running through my mind.
On the second day of the fair my body was tired from being on my feet for so many hours and my back was aching. My mind was exploding with all the information it had been fed, and my nervous system was threatening with a complete shutdown. All the while I was keeping a smile on my face, back straight, running on sheer will power as I’d done so many times before.
Not even thinking twice about the irony of me telling clients to slow down and take better care of themselves, while here I was pushing myself so hard, trying my best not to reveal how I really felt. I thought I didn’t have a choice, and I was afraid of being judged as weak, or worse - incapable! As if continuing to whip a half dead horse is noble.
I see it not only in my own life, but in my friends lives as well. And I hear it in the stories my clients tell me from their lives. Maybe you have similar experiences.
Loosing our inner connection
To some degree we all do it, adapt. It’s a natural way for us to conform to different circumstances. To adhere to the spoken and unspoken rules of society. To fit into a new group of friends. To match other peoples expectations, or what we think other people expect from us. We do it as a way to protect ourselves from disappointment or hurt, and many other reasons. For me, it is a form of survival technique from childhood to ensure a sense of belonging and emotional connectedness.
It’s definitely not all bad to be able to adapt, but for some people - myself included - it might become such a habit that we eventually end up unable to feel ourselves, our wishes, needs and desires. We’ve spent so much time trying to feel into other peoples needs that we’ve forgotten to feel into our own. Or we just plain ignored our needs (often as an unconscious form of punishment). It can even reach a point where we allow other people to invade us and our personal space. We let our boundaries be crossed again and again as we no longer feel our healthy boundaries.
We try so hard to get other people to love and validate us by conforming, adapting and accommodating. All the while it seems we do everything to negate ourselves, denying ourselves our own compassionate caring. Not feeding our soul a fraction of the care we give to everyone else.
We work so hard to achieve our goals and become succesful, all while we feel like failures. Nothing ever matches our perfect (non-existent) ideals.
So no wonder we feel like frauds because in a sense we are. In the busy-ness of life we forgot about ourselves. We stopped listening to our own needs and desires, and made other people and their opinions more important. We lost our inner connection and no longer express ourselves from an authentic place. When we move away from our own essence and start to conform in such a degree that it’s harmful to us, we loose our power. The kind of power I’m talking about is the power that comes from being respectful - of yourself and of others. Not the kind of false power that comes from manipulating and controlling others.
This pattern can continue for years and years until we become aware of it and have enough compassion for ourselves to want to change it. First step is becoming aware. We can’t change what we don’t know.
Becoming aware doesn’t mean judging yourself for not taking better care of yourself. It’s easy to fall into that trap, so pay attention to what you’re telling yourself. Be patient. Changing any habit takes time, and trust me: becoming aware doesn’t mean you’ll never end up in old habits again. It just means that when you do fall into the old habit, you’ll notice much sooner than you would’ve done before. And that’s a good thing. Congratulate yourself - and move on.
Let me know in the comments below if you’ve ever felt like a fraud and what you do to deal with old habits that doesn’t serve you. Any insights you have may be the inspiration someone else needs to make a profound change in their life.
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