That feeling, that instinctual internal contraction, can greet you in any given moment.
No matter where you are at in life. No matter who you are.
No matter your skills, talents, qualifications, titles, achievements.
Maya Angelou, famed and much loved American poet and writer, is said to have suffered from imposter syndrome, which is a persistent belief of inadequacy.
That feeling of not measuring up can be chronic, or it can strike randomly without any forewarning.
It only takes one moment when you are lured into looking outside of yourself to validate who you are, what you do, and how well you do it.
You may meet someone at a party, doing what you do or want to do, only seemingly better, and with more ease.
You may stumble upon a post on social media, with someone flaunting their most recent wins.
You may hear from an old colleague, or an old childhood friend, living the life you have been dreaming of and working hard towards realising.
It rises up from within.
That sinking feeling.
Your inner dialogue: I’m not good enough.
You look at them, and zone in on what they have that you want. And with that same limited filter, you look at yourself, and see that you don’t have or have much less than what you’ve just seen.
You’re not as far along in your career. You’re not as pretty. Not in a loving relationship. You feel much less talented or competent.
You doubt yourself. And your abilities.
Immediately you feel deflated.
All that you had believed the moment before about yourself quickly comes undone.
In that blinding moment, you forget that all those external measures are only an illusion and largely irrelevant.
It took me a few years after starting my own business to realise that I can be and am content without the need for that to be validated in conventional ways.
In the beginning, I was striving for it because that was the only way I knew how to assess my own success. And very quickly and often, I felt like a failure when I could not meet my own expectations.
We often measure failure as lack of success. We feel we have “failed” at a marriage or relationship when it comes to an end. We feel we have “failed” when our businesses aren’t thriving or when we don’t get that promotion. We feel we have “failed” when we are anything less than perfect.
My light bulb moment came when I realised I am succeeding when I am living life on my own terms, doing what I love. This realisation moved my focus from the external to internal. It changed my whole perspective on the idea of success and failure and hence my judgment on adequacy and competency.
I have chosen to live in accordance with who I am, and serve others to the best of my ability, and this cannot be measured in the number of clients I see, or in dollars and cents I earn.
It is an internal state of being.
I know when I am in alignment. And when I am not.
That for me now, is my gauge.
Still, every now and again, those pangs of inadequacy do arise. Because we do live in a world that measures and labels according to outdated markers of success.
And now, I know they are merely reminders for me to refocus.
And so I am derailed less and less.
I recently worked with an amazing therapist and a passionate artist, who have been questioning their own levels of success because they are looking to social media and the size of their following, and to the number of bookings in their diary, as a gauge.
So if we work harder, we will have what they have, and we will feel equal to.
What brings us back on track?
It is the precise same feelings of inadequacy we want to chase away.
They guide us to look within to see what has driven those feelings.
Those triggers serve to inform you.
Those triggers, are your blessings.
They shine a light on what you need to look at.
It is the way to transformation.
You do this by staying in those moments that feel uncomfortable.
When you feel that sinking feeling, observe. Without attachment. Without judgement.
Notice what is going on underneath. Notice what is really going on.
Stay open to being led to where you need to go.
Dive in. Explore. Allow.
Have the courage to discover a deeper truth about yourself.
After guiding them to subconscious parts of themselves, the therapist and artist both saw parts of themselves they have neglected which was stopping the flow of abundance. And this in turn, created feelings of not measuring up when they look towards others for validation.
Your feelings of inadequacy is guiding you to reflect on what you are not noticing on the inside, and rarely what is actually missing on the outside.
Your transformation: turning your I’m not good enough’s to I am enough.
To assist you on your journey, here are 3 truths to embrace.
You always have all that you need, in any given moment
When you align with lack, that is all you will see. When you align with abundance, that is all you will see. You may feel lacking in one area, but in what other areas are you abundant? If you don’t like the reality you see, look inward to see what changes in thought patterns can help create a different reality.
You find the most reliable guidance inside of you
There will always be someone ahead of you, and someone behind you. There will also always be someone telling you what you should do and how you should do it. Keeping your focus on outside influences can lead you astray. Because they are more than likely not going where you’re going. Turn your attention within, and there you will find your most reliable guidance.
Accept where you are at, and you will be content with where you are at
Accepting where you are at does not negate your goals and dreams. But until you accept where you are at, it will be difficult for you to embrace what is to come. For that search for more will always remain elusive.
In what ways have you felt inadequate?
What has it taught you about yourself?