We’ve all suffered from thoughts that make us think we are not good enough, or we are not what we appear. It’s called imposter syndrome.
And for some people, it’s a part of everyday life.
For others, it comes and goes and they have learned to manage their expectations and realities about themselves in a way that allows them to function and succeed in their goals.
But what if you are one of those people who can’t shake the feeling that everyone is judging you and secretly thinking you aren’t good enough, or good at anything, for that matter?
How do you overcome those thoughts and feelings?
Here are a few ways you can stop thinking your life sucks and you aren’t good at anything – and it’s easier than you think.
How to Find What You’re Good At
So many of us focus on character weaknesses. Why? Because it’s easy to focus on the negative and ignore the positive.
This is especially the case for those who have abilities that aren’t exactly obvious.
Look at me for example. It took me years to figure out that this is what I’m good at:
1. Grit and ability to keep going with a task even if I’m failing. I don’t easily give up.
2. I’ not gullible and I don’t jump to conclusions easily. I realize there are always multiple sides to any story.
3. I’m a kind and caring person who thinks about other people and how they’re feeling.
Now sure, these traits are good, but they’re not as obvious as someone like Tom Brady who noticeably has great hand eye coordination and is excellent at football.
When people look at Tom Brady, they think they are less talented. But this is not true.
If everyone were like Tom Brady, then society wouldn’t function very well. Everyone would have been busy playing football and exercising!
Society and groups require all types of people with different talents and interests.
So, while your strengths may be less obvious to the eye, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have any strengths.
You just need to have a good think about what you’re good at.
Here are a few ways to do that.
1) Have a look at these 16 different personality types. It will help you understand different types of traits and tidbits that you have. You might realize that you have some traits that other people don’t.
2) Ask your friends or family members what they like about you. You might be surprised with what you hear.
3) What can do you do, or do you do, that others simply can’t or they can’t stand doing? Think deeply about your daily interactions and activities. What’s different about you?
See, the problem is, most people correlate to what they’re good at to a skill like tennis.
But you need to think deeper and more broadly than that. Human beings are incredibly complex and we have many different personality traits and skills.
What “I’m Not Good At Anything” Really Means
We’re all good at something. It’s easy to sit there in a funk and believe with all your might that you have no talent or skills to share with the world. But it’s simply not true.
There is at least one thing you do well. The trick is to realize, though, that this one thing, might not be the thing you wish it was.
For example, a lot of moms long for something more in their lives besides being “Mom.”
And while that sounds crazy to admit out loud, millions of women struggle with their “Mom” identities all over the world, especially when “Mom” replaced CEO or COO in their lives.
So you might be thinking I’m not good at anything, but what you really mean is that something is something in your life is not as you had hoped and you are blanketing your entire life with that single thought.
Try on A New Thought.
Once you can admit that you are not, in fact, a giant suckhole of a person, you can begin to let some positive thoughts into your life.
Going back to the Mom example, if you are currently thinking that you suck at everything, try settling into the thought that you are a good mom, or dad, or brother, or son, or daughter.
Try something else on for size and see how it feels. We get so caught up in focusing on the negative that we forget to make room for and believe the positive things in our lives.
So even if you feel like everything is awful, try focusing on one thing that is not to get you out of your funk.
Question the Rest.
Now that you have drawn out a single thought that you can get on board with related to your capacity and talents as a human being, try questioning what is left.
Why do you really think you are an imposter? Why do you think life is so bad? What is it about your life that is, in fact, so bad?
Where do those beliefs come from? Who are the people that influenced those thoughts? What do you think about those people as an adult?
What do you want to believe about yourself? Where can you learn new beliefs about yourself?
What else is there that you might be good at that you are overlooking or forgetting about?
Don’t Look for Negative Reinforcement.
If you are feeling vulnerable and exposed, don’t look to people to confirm what you think you know about yourself.
If you go looking for people to say things like, “yeah, you should never have started that business in the first place,” then you won’t come out of that transaction feeling better.
Instead, think about the people who would encourage or applaud your efforts. There are lots of people out there who can take the good with the bad.
There’s no point in throwing a pity party for yourself or getting tough love from someone who is not going to help build you back up.
Seek out the people who know you best and trust that there are good things about you and that you are good at things.
If you seek out negative reinforcement of your lacking ways, you are sure to find it and people who would just love to tell you about all the ways you suck.
Recognize the Pattern of Self-Loathing.
It’s not fun to feel this way, so why do we continue to allow ourselves to participate in these epic lies? We don’t suck at everything.
In fact, we are probably better are more things than we are bad at them, but we don’t take the time to think about that when things feel like they are falling apart.
It’s all too easy to let yourself spiral out of control and end up on the sofa with a bag of family-sized Doritos wondering where you went wrong.
When you start to feel that twinge of self-loathing in yourself, take a minute to name it and recognize it for what it is.
Then ask yourself where those feelings are coming from: they are coming from a thought you are having about yourself. So then ask yourself, where is that thought coming from?
And keep going with the thought origin until you can discover where it came from and why you continue to hold on to those thoughts.
It’s really hard to pull yourself out of the downward spiral associated with feeling like a failure or feeling like you don’t fit in or you can’t reach your goals.
There are lots of things we do on a daily basis that come so naturally to us that we don’t include them in our list of things we are good at, but if you must turn to that list to start the healing process, do it.
Try saying things like, “I am good at cleaning my home. I am good at being a friend. I am good at driving my car. I am good at choosing good books to read. I am good at paying the bills on time.”
These don’t have to be earth-shattering skills or talents, but they are the root of everything you do, so give them a little more credit when you are trying to give yourself more credit in your life.
Do you want to live a more mindful life?
Mindfulness has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years and is endorsed by celebrities, athletes, and CEOs alike.
Hack Spirit's eBook, The Art of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Living in the Moment, is the perfect introduction to mindfulness. You’ll learn what “mindfulness” really is, and uncover a set of simple yet powerful techniques to bring mindfulness into your everyday life.
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