(c) cjwright 2010
Are you one of those folks who starts feeling a little awkward and nervous when you succeed? Do you feel like you don’t really measure up to the competition ~ even though you’re clearly exceptional ~ and that you just “got lucky” and don’t really deserve the credit? Even if you’ve received acknowledgement or awards for your efforts, do you still have that nagging feeling that it’s really no big deal and that anyone with half a brain must be able to do it because…well, you did it, so it can’t be that big a deal?
Maybe there’s a weight hanging on you that you just can’t shake, and you know deep in your heart that everything that’s wonderful now is going to come crashing down around you when “they” catch on to how mediocre and undeserving you are. You feel like you’ve fooled everyone, and sooner or later they’ll find out.
Maybe you’re the type that knows you’re qualified to handle a job, but you let things slip and slide without performing at your full potential. After all, “they” just might expect you to do it again and you really don’t believe you can maintain the quality. Okay, maybe you were successful that one time, but obviously it was a fluke.
Well, if you feel that way, you’re most likely wrong about yourself ~ and you’re not alone.
There are so many talented, skilled, exceptional people who just can’t find it within themselves to feel good about their accomplishments. Self-esteem or confidence levels are minimal. Self-doubt is huge. They just can’t believe they are as good as the competition and they know everyone is going to find out sooner or later and expose them for the frauds they are.
If you feel like a fraud, even though you’ve accomplished wonderful things, you might be experiencing a phenomenon known as Imposter Syndrome. If that sounds more Scorpionic to you than Capricornish it’s probably because you’re thinking that imposters are evil-doers out to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes.
Imposter Syndrome is different. It’s not literally posing as someone you’re not. It’s an internal process of feeling like you’re not truly qualified for your success. You think of yourself as a fake. This fear of being found out, as well as the fear of success, is Saturn, Capricorn and 10th house territory ~ fear, wordly success, authority and reputation.
I first read about Imposter Syndrome in the December 2009 issue of Physchology Today. It reminded me of so many people I’ve known ~ women especially, though not solely ~ who were incredibly qualified and competent but who didn’t believe in themselves. They believed they’d be discovered for what they felt they were ~ someone who’s been faking it, without real credibility, just a lucky break. They believed there were other people who were much more qualified than them, and who really deserved the success and acclaim they had received.
A person could have normal jitters before, say getting up to give their first speech, do well, and then draw from this experience to feel more confident about the next time. The impostor doesn’t think this way. Because no matter how well you did or how loud the applause, you always think you could have done better or that you just had a “good audience” with no real bump in confidence.
~ Dr. Valerie Young on Imposter Syndrome
Whether you have Imposter Syndrome, real fear of success, low self-esteem, or occasional bouts of self-doubt, there are ways to use the planets that can help you overcome those debiiltating feelings of not measuring up.
Sun ~ Nobody deserves acclaim for your own hard work more than you do yourself. Tell yourself how proud you are of yourself for even small accomplishments. Enjoy the successes you’ve made and build up your confidence. It really is okay to give yourself a pat on the back now and again. With hard Saturn/Sun aspects you might be too tough on yourself. Slack off a little. Would you treat someone with your accomplishments as poorly as you treat yourself? Probably not. Treat yourself well. After all, everywhere you go…there you are. You might as well like yourself.
Moon ~ This is all about your feelings, which may or may not have anything at all to do with the truth. We can’t let our feelings hold us back and keep us in fear. Do you have hard Saturn/Moon contacts that contribute to your lack of confidence or get you fully engaged in a pity party? Feel the fear and do it anyhow.
Mercury ~ Talk your feelings of insecurity over with a trusted friend or advisor. Shame (§) keeps many “Imposters” from overcoming their negative feelings. Shame likes to stay in the shadows, so talk it out. Bring it into the light. Do you have hard Saturn/Mercury contacts that may contribute to your inability to talk about your self-doubt or your ability to excel? A wonderful teacher once said, “Name something and it is yours.” Speak it’s name and gain control over it.
Venus ~ Be your own biggest fan. In really simple terms, love yourself. In the long run, you’re all you’ve got so learn to be your best supporter. Hard Saturn/Venus contacts might cause you to not like yourself very much or to feel unworthy. If you found the same good qualities in another person that you deny in yourself, would you tell them they’re not worthy? Why would you do that to yourself? More pats on the back are needed again.
Mars ~ Do you find it hard to start something because you think, “Oh, what’s the use?!” Take the reins off Mars for a while and allow yourself to feel some excitement flowing through your veins. Remember the anticipation of finally getting to throw yourself into a great project. Is Saturn making contacts with your Mars that keeps you from taking the first few steps. There’s an old baseball expression, “You can’t steal home if you don’t take your foot off first base.” Sometimes the first step requires the most effort. After the first step, you might find that everything else is a cakewalk. Jumping in and competing will give you a good idea of your true ability. It also just might goad you on to competing with your superiors instead of bowing down to them. Competition will teach you a lot.
Jupiter ~ As the song goes, “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.” If little niggling details are keeping you from progressing or feeling capable, start focusing on the positives and get out of that well of gloom and doom. Is Saturn interfering with your Jupiter? Give ol’ Jup some time of his own. Let him grandstand a little. Everyone can use a cheerleader. You’ve got one with you everyday, if you’ll just give yourself the credit you deserve. Throw thunderbolts at those negative thoughts and zap them the minute they show their dirty little faces.
Saturn ~ Saturn’s just as much your friend as he is your foe. Look behind you at what you’ve accomplished so far. Take a yoga approach and don’t judge yourself compared to the bendy people on the other mats. Do your own thing, at your own pace, and give it your best shot. Envision yourself doing well in a situation and give yourself acknowledgement for each small accomplishment. Use a “star reward system” on a paper chart with stars added to each task you complete. Track your progress and see your growth. And don’t isolate yourself. Saturn’s teeth come out when you do that. And, even when you feel like you’re completely alone, you’re not. There’s always someone who cares.
Uranus ~ Acknowledge the fact that you are pure genius. We all have great insights and spectacular ideas that no one else on the planet can express as well as us and with the novelty that only we can bring. Expect to look foolish sometimes. We all do. Nobody’s born knowing everything. And some of those crazy ideas you have are the epiphanies and revelations that propel you toward the top of your niche ~ whether that’s getting an article published, winning an Academy Award, balancing your checkbook to the penny, or having the best brownies at the Old Hippies Reunion.
Neptune ~ Don’t underestimate the power of a dream. Wanting something can make it so ~ IF you put forth the effort to bring it into being. Robin Fisher Roffer said, “I believe in miracles and destiny, but in the end we make our own realities.” Don’t let Neptune keep you in Wish World, but do everything you can to bring your dreams into being. They’re worth it.
Pluto ~ Pluto may be your best ally. He has the power to rebirth you. If you can tear apart the process of not believing in yourself, you’ll discover all the little ways you’ve sidetracked and bushwhacked yourself. You’ll discover it was never “them,” it was always you. From that vantage point, and with the work you do to really recognize yourself as qualified and deserving, he’ll give you a sort of Magic Ticket and take you so far from the old you that you’ll barely recognize who you once were.
This is not easy work. There’s a huge hurdle to overcome ~ your own thoughts about yourself. But insecurities can be overcome. Someone very dear to me once said, “You can do anything you want to do. You can be anything you want to be.” She was telling the truth.
Imposter Syndrome, Dr. Valerie Young’s website
Feel Like a Fraud? At Times, Maybe You Should
Virgo ~ Criticism and the Fear of Rejection
Welcome to the Faker Fringe, with advice for parents
Dr. Young kindly commented on this post this morning and we had a few lovely exchanges. For those of you who want to know more about Imposter Syndrome, I strongly encourage you to visit her website, ImposterSyndrom.com.
About Dr. Young:
Dr. Valerie Young is an internationally known speaker and workshop leader. She has delivered the “How to Feel As Bright and Capable As Everyone Seems to Think You Are” program at such diverse organizations as Intel, Chrysler, Boeing, Bristol Meyers Squibb, and Procter & Gamble. Her career-related tips have been cited in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, USA Weekend, Kiplinger’s magazine, Woman’s Day, Entrepreneur, The Chicago Tribune, Redbook, Fitness, Self, and The Chronicle of Higher Education well as online at MSN.com and iVillage.com.
In addition to her work at ImpostorSyndrome.com she is the Dreamer in Residence at ChangingCourse.com and is the publisher of the Changing Course newsletter read by over 23,000 people around the world. She is author of an upcoming book on the impostor syndrome with Crown Publishing, a division of Random House.