By Dr John Demartini – human behaviour expert and founder of The Demartini Institute
Ever feel like you’re just pretending to be someone who knows what they’re doing, and that you’ll be exposed as an imposter at any moment?
That’s the ‘imposter syndrome’ – and Dr John Demartini, author and human behavior specialist, can help you free yourself from it.
Human beings have an impulsive, animalistic, biological need for pride and to be right, and to avoid shame and being wrong in front of others. It’s linked to our need to conform to society’s norms, traditions and conventions and fit in – and that’s why we often put on a façade, instead of allowing our true, whole nature to show.
After all, that true nature is double-sided. No one is all good or bad, just as no one is all friendly or unfriendly, or kind or cruel, or generous or stingy, or peaceful or wrathful. Each of us expresses a mix of both positive and negative. Yet many individuals feel uncomfortable revealing those so-called negative expressions to others, in case they are rejected.
Most people have had moments when they experience this fear of rejection, along with the addiction to pride, and so there’s a little bit of imposter syndrome in each of us
The irony is that, although the common definition of perfection revolves around exorcising the negative elements of your personality, this can and will never happen.
On the contrary, true perfection is the acknowledgment of the balanced polarity that exists within each of us, and appreciating that you don’t need to get rid of one half of your self – the so-called negative half – in order to love yourself and be loved.
“True perfection is the acknowledgment of the balanced polarity that exists within each of us, and appreciating that you don’t need to get rid of one half of your self – the so-called negative half – in order to love yourself and be loved”
This is one of the keys to achieving fulfillment, because the more you try to suppress or ignore those negatives and only display the so-called positives, the more you’ll feel like a failure and imposter.
That failure reaches a peak when our pride drives us to set goals that are plainly unrealistic
In doing so, we set ourselves up for a fall, which isn’t necessarily an unproductive thing. In fact, it acts as a helpful feedback mechanism, because it brings us back to our authentic, whole selves.
In the same way, imposter syndrome is another mechanism that triggers a return to authenticity. You’ll notice that it sets in after your ‘pride persona’ has tried to provide a boost by pretending to be something that you’re not.
That sparks your innate ‘rubbish’ detector, bringing with it a dose of shame, because you know you’re not being true to yourself – and so the stage is set for imposter syndrome. The addiction to pride results in compensatory shame. Pride initiates the fall.
How do we avoid this self-esteem rollercoaster in the first place? It’s simple, really
Each of us has a unique set of higher order values which govern the priorities in our lives. When we live in accordance with these highest priorities, we become more resilient and more authentic, and there’s no longer a need to protect ourselves with pride.
On the other hand, if you’re living by someone else’s values, you can be certain that you will feel like an imposter much of the time.
It’s all about living more centred in authenticity
Society is a feedback mechanism, bringing us down to earth when we’ve extended ourselves in a way that isn’t true to ourselves, and rewarding us when our lives are aligned with the things we hold most meaningful and dear.
For more of Dr Demartini’s teachings, visit www.drdemartini.com