Royce Shook

1 year ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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Impostor Syndrome and Limiting Beliefs

I was listening to a radio podcast that talked about imposter syndrome. For those of you who don’t know what this is, and for the record, I did not know what it was, or if I did know I had forgotten. This where a person feels like they don’t belong. Like their friends or colleagues are going to discover they are a fraud, and they don’t actually deserve the job and accomplishments. 

If you have had these feelings you are in good company. An estimated 70% of people experience these impostor feelings at some point in their lives, according to a review article published in the International Journal of Behavioral Science. Impostor syndrome affects all kinds of people from all parts of life: women, men, medical students, marketing managers, actors and executives.

Impostor syndrome—the idea that you’ve only succeeded due to luck, and not because of your talent or qualifications—was first identified in 1978 by psychologists who in their paper, theorized that women were uniquely affected by impostor syndrome.

Since then, research has shown that both men and women experience impostor feelings, one of the psychologists published a later paper acknowledging that impostor syndrome is not limited to women.

Part of the reason, I believe that a person may suffer from the Impostor syndrome is that hey may not always know what invisible, limiting beliefs they hold.

In believing limiting beliefs to be true, accurate and factually correct we stop interacting openly and freely with certain aspects of our lives. This can have very significant consequences without us even realizing it.

A belief is a personal acceptance that something exists or is true. Beliefs don’t require evidence or proof, and they often rely on trust, faith and having confidence in something or somebody.

Truths, on the other hand, conform to reality. Based on facts and evidence, they can be verified as real and certain. They cannot be argued with.

Some of the beliefs that we hold are purposeful and protect us from harm (for example, if we touch the cooker we will get burned). These beliefs absolutely accord with the truth.

Limiting beliefs are constructed from our past experiences. Often shaped and formed at an early age, they are naive, misinformed, shrouded in inaccuracy and usually simply wrong.

Limiting beliefs aren’t truths, they are not the factual entity that we perceive them to be. Despite this, we treat them as sacrosanct and sacred. We accept them without question and don’t interfere with them.

We all have limiting beliefs; we hold them about ourselves, others, our relationships and the world in general. These beliefs guide us, we follow their rules and we don’t question their validity. We hold beliefs about what we are able to accomplish, about the rights and permissions that we have, about what we are allowed to do. Some examples of limiting beliefs include:

“I’m not good enough.”

“I don’t deserve X, Y or Z. I am not a nice person.”

“I am not attractive/ intelligent/ funny enough.”

“I will fail.”

“I can’t make a fuss. I need to keep quiet.”

Once we understand that our limiting beliefs are not truths we can move to change them. To do that you need to know the kinds of empowering beliefs you'd like to possess. And so, one decision at a time, one day at a time, you can choose to behave according to your new beliefs. And, worlds will be born, you shall be transformed, and the cows will come home, to use a farming metaphor from my youth.

Impostor Syndrome and Limiting Beliefs

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