freedom from imposter syndrome

by FEW Ambassador and Author, Victoria Reinke

My name is Vicki. My husband, Todd and I, are married now for 32 years and have 9 kids. My oldest son is 33 and the youngest is 15. Three are married and we have 5 grandchildren. For the first time in almost 30 years, we are down to just 3 kids at home, 2 who are homeschooling.

When my oldest few kids were teens, I had the mistaken idea that we would not have any
problems. They would be great teens and we would get through with flying colors. It would be great!! We would enjoy these years and we could homeschool them through high school,
because of course, they would love to be home with me. I had the idea that I could control them and “help” them make good choices. I had the idea that MY kids would be perfect. We would be the perfect homeschool family! They would go to college—if they wanted to—have amazing jobs and be amazing people. They would never get into trouble or make bad choices.

Yeah … are you laughing?? Now, I can look back on it all and laugh. Then … well … I blamed myself for a lot of the troubles we had with them. It was my fault because I was a
terrible parent, that they were kids who made bad choices. Then, I tried to do the things that my friends did when raising their kids, impose their rules.

At our house, all that caused, was more conflict. I already felt like a failure and a fraud for
plenty of other reasons, so this all just added to it. I was failing my kids and my family and my church and Jesus and God and everyone and anyone else. Including myself. The pressure I put on myself to do it all, was ridiculous.

Let me be clear- I DID raise great kids!

Understand, I tell you this all, because I want you to recognize the feelings. The failure. The
overwhelming feelings of not being enough for anyone. The feeling like a fraud. You can have all these feelings anywhere and everywhere you are! Some of us deal with these feelings all the time, others of us deal with them in certain situations. I could not look at what I did accomplish and feel good about it. There was always some part
of me that doubted my accomplishments. Skills? Did I even have any skills?

There is a name for this. It’s called “Imposter Syndrome” and its very real. From the online dictionary:

“Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.”

Just last week, I went through something that really hit this all home for me. I had a couple of incidents happen that made me feel like a failure all over again. The imposter. The one who is rejected and can’t do anything right. I’m a terrible parent, friend and daughter. I have no idea what I am doing and should just stop it all.

Sadly, I went to lunch with some friends in this mood and made it miserable for us all!! Later, I prayed and asked myself for forgiveness. I repented for my mistakes. That night, I called a friend who prayed with me and counseled with me. She is someone who has been my coach for about the last 20 years and she helped me to see the lies I had been believing. I was finally able to see the truth that was there all along.

The funny thing is, I had talked to God and had words I felt He had spoken into me, earlier that day. When she prayed for me and spoke out the SAME WORDS, I couldn’t believe it! I had the truth right in front of me all day, but until she spoke it to me, I could not receive it. I was reminded that day that my identity is NOT imposter. It is not failure, fraud, or rejected. None of those things is true in my life. What God says about me is what is true about me—I am accepted. I am a success. I am authentic.

Once I chose to REALLY forgive myself, that released me to rethink what I believed, even if I
couldn’t believe it yet. I just needed to receive it! I want you to choose to forgive yourself. You are not perfect. You are YOU. And you are the best person for the job. You are not a failure. You are not a fraud. Your accomplishments are things that YOU have accomplished because YOU have the skills to accomplish them!

Take some time over the next week, and look yourself in the mirror. Forgive yourself. If there are any specific things that come to mind as you do this, forgive yourself for them. What you are doing is reclaiming your mind by removing the script that has been playing over and over. For me, I found that some of those thoughts were so deeply ingrained that they would pop into my head at the most inopportune moments. All I need to do to stop the replay is say, to myself, “I have forgiven myself for that.” Next, teach your mind to RETHINK. Find identity phrases and verses that mean the most to you. If you need help, you can look up “Who I am in Christ” or “Finding my Identity” on a google search. Here are some of my favorites:

“I am God’s Child” John 1:12
“I am complete in Christ” Col 2:9-10
“I am free from Condemnation” Rom 8: 1-2
“I am accepted” Rom 15:7
“I am bold and confident” Eph 2:18 and 3: 12
“I am called according His purpose” 1 Cor 1:9
“I am chosen”
“I am confident” Prov 3:26
“I am created in Christ for good works” Eph 2:10

Find some that mean the most to you and your situation and write them on notecards. Hang
them where you can see them often. When those imposter thoughts break in again, choose to think on 1 or 2 of these phrases instead.

A good friend of mine taught me this: “Forgive yourself for being human, flawed, and
imperfect.” We are flawed and imperfect, but we do deserve to be forgiven for those things.
Write this on a notecard too.

Now, I want you to accept yourself as you are, your authentic self! Then you can be free to accomplish all that the Lord God Almighty has for you in this new year! Reclaim the life YOU want to live. Choose to rethink how you think about yourself and others. Walk into this new year in freedom from the lies of imposter syndrome!