Imposter Syndrome

What does it mean to be worthy?  Where do we pull our sense of worth from?  And how do I own my worthiness?

These are all questions I’ve been spending a lot of time with lately in my own personal spiritual practice.  I noticed I was facing a series of areas of my life where underneath the fabric of discomfort in myself and with others were essential questions of worthiness.  Rather than wait until I have it “figured out” I wanted to write as I journey through the stickiness of unworthy questioning.  So often when we get to the other side, we forget how we walked through the discomfort in the first place.  Instead, I want to walk hand in hand to give it life and to heal together along the way.

As I mentioned before, I made a big decision recently.  I finally said “yes” to the latest call from the Universe, to own that I am a healer of healers, teacher of teachers, and mentor of mentors to others.  I’m still figuring out what this means for my work, but in the meantime I’ve said yes to the invitation that’s been knocking on my door for some time.  I have to be honest, what I said “yes” to felt uncomfortable to type right now.  I typed a vaguer version of it many times before I typed the realness of what I said “yes” to because a part of me whispers…imposter.  

Imposter syndrome.  Have you ever felt it?  

A fear that you aren’t what you believe you are and you may not be doing it justice.  That maybe you need to question all that you know you Know?  A question of, who am I anyways?  A sense of needing to make yourself smaller than you are.  A fear of shining too brightly too soon.  This fear has been showing up a lot in my work with others and it’s something I’ve been dancing with myself.  

When I think about it, I know this fear well.  It comes to visit me every single time the Universe invites me into my latest calling.  If I could sum up major life moments for myself on my path it would go something like this:

Universe:  And now you go forward Marci (towards whatever I’m being invited into).

Me:  Go forward?  Me?  Why?  No, you definitely must not mean me.  *looks for anyone else behind her*

Universe:  I said...go forward.

Me:  Uh.  I mean, are you sure you don’t want me to hang out here in a chair and wait for that other person you said to go forward?  I bet they’ll be right here.

Universe:  How many times do I have to tell you that I want YOU to go forward.  You are ready.  Go forward.

Me:  Oh, you mean in like ten years right?  Or maybe 20.  Yeah I think that’s what you mean.

Universe:  Forward.  That is all.

Me:  ………………….

Universe:  *nudges hard from behind*  Go

Me: *Nudges one toe forward and looks back for assurance*

Universe:  *smiles*  Go

Me:  *two toes forward and looks back for assurance*  *then pulls two toes back*

Universe:  *smiles*  GO

***this continues for a while until the Universe squeezes me so tight that I...

Me:  *pep talks self and then leaps*

You get the point.  I fight the Universe tooth and nail every time it invites me into the next phase of my life’s manifestation because in essence I believe...I’m not worthy.  While the amount of time I fight it has shortened, it still happens.  I questioned “why me” when the Universe invited me to go to yoga teacher training.  I was neither the longest practicing, nor the most flexible yogi, so I couldn’t understand why I’d go to a training to teach others.  I was sure I wasn’t ready.  By the way, not being (ready) for something from a place of fear for me always turns out to actually be “I’m not worthy.”  It’s always the imposter syndrome hiding underneath my logic.  

This happened when I was invited to start teaching, go to more trainings, learn reiki, leave my government job to coach, start offering healing services, publishing my writings, etc. etc. Literally, I’ve questioned whether I’m worthy of every single step on my current path.  When I look back at each step in retrospect, I see that it is just the process of growth.  Every time I’m asked to expand it’s always before my mind thinks I’m ready for it, but it’s always when I am actually ready for it.  I just don’t see it.  

Each time I’m invited into the next level of my purpose, it always….ALWAYS...feels too big for me.  It always feels like the Universe is asking me to put on shoes that are absolutely not my size and certainly were assigned to someone far greater.  

My fear of being an imposter stems from painful experiences in my past when I shined my light brightly and others tried to stamp it out and the moments I witnessed how growing power and influence can corrupt spiritual teachers and healers.  I’ve always been afraid of being “too confident,” overtaken by my own power, and completely blinded by my own arrogance.  Mentors, friends, and teachers along the way have consistently reminded me that my very own fear of this means that it won’t happen.  That the narcissism I witnessed and experienced in others is born of a lack of a self-watching mind.  

So here I am.  Learning that every step of the way on my path will likely be like this.  It’s predictable that I’ll feel like an imposter.  It’s predictable that I’ll not feel ready.  It’s predictable that I’ll fear my own expansion.  It’s predictable that I’ll try to convince myself that I’m wrong in the calling that I’m hearing.  Knowing this means I have a road map for recognizing the discomfort, understanding the fear, the desire to self-sabotage, and clamp down on myself.  This gives me compassion for myself to know that at least for now, when I’m being asked to grow, something inside of me will tell me that it’s not right.  That I haven’t earned my keep yet. That I haven’t earned enough wrinkles and grey hairs.  

You know what happens when I believe the imposter syndrome and stand in defiance against the Universe’s wishes?  I say I know better than the Universe.  I work against the Source I most deeply love.  I question the very fabric of existence I spend each time devoting myself to.  When I see this, I recognize that the imposter moment is not actually saying yes, but saying no.  The arrogance is saying “not made a mistake.”  The mistaken power is when my fear thinks it’s in charge and it  

What if the most humble thing to do is to say “yes” to every invitation the Universe invites you into?  No matter how scary, how “unready,” how foreign it seems.  What kind of radical faith, love, devotion would that create in your heart?  

This is the kind of consuming dedication I desire, I aspire to, in my practice.  That is what I believe we’re all invited to do.

For this week’s Joy Tip Wednesday I want to invite you to spend some time journaling about worthiness and see what comes up.  

This is to become a little more familiar and curious about your own relationship with worthiness.  After journaling, share some of your own journey with worthiness in the comments below.  Here’s what to reflect on:

  • What invitations is the Universe bringing me that I’m sure I’m not ready for?
  • Where does the imposter syndrome feeling show up in my life?
  • When I say I’m not ready, how do I mean I’m not worthy?
  • What would shift if I said Yes, every single time the Universe invites me?

Much Love,