How Introverts Can Use Self-Care to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Dec 22, 2021 | Introversion

How Introverts Can Use Self-Care to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is defined as doubting your abilities or feeling like a fraud. It disproportionately affects high-achieving people, who find it difficult to accept their accomplishments. Introverts have a tendency to seek authenticity, with a preference for seeking inner sense of identity and worth rather than external validation.

Introverts have the loudest minds and the inner critic can run riot within, causing self-doubt and low self-esteem. Introverts also struggle with perfectionism, or buying into the “fake it until you make it” approach or shouting loudly about their accomplishments.

This means that by not actively seeking or receiving acknowledgement of how great they are or their accomplishments, they have to battle with themselves until they feel worthy.

A person who struggles with imposter syndrome could also feel self-loathing.

As an introvert who works with other introverts, I found that not being able to shout about yourself from the roof top or be the life and soul of the party, or having to act extroverted to cope with demands in social situations can lead to self-doubt and self-loathing, which when not addressed causes many to shrink from the limelight and give up on going after the fulfilment and freedom they desire.

I have found self-care extremely useful in helping to shift from self-loathing to self-love consequently increasing your feelings of positive self-worth.

The oxford dictionary defines self-care as; the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress. Effective self-care is choosing to live intentionally and unapologetically as your true self and nurturing your sense of being.

Here are 5 ways you can apply self-care practices to help you overcome imposter syndrome and thrive.

1. Self-Awareness: By tapping into the superpowers of introspection, introverts are able to gain lots of self-awareness. This means having consciousness of who they are at the core. Once you know yourself, you can choose to grow yourself. I always tell my clients, “getting to know yourself should include befriending your “inner critic” and turning him/her into your “inner sage”. This requires you to :

Collate, calibrate and celebrate every win big or small;
Seek validation and feedback. Yes!, I know this is hard but, getting external validation and feedback helps you get rid of blindspots, and serves as undeniable evidence that can be used for shutting your “inner critic” up, and
Use affirmations and meditation to circumvent ingrained conditioning, rewrite limiting beliefs, and create a new self-image.

2. Self-Acceptance: This is the opposite of self-loathing and requires you to offer yourself tender loving care and compassion when things don’t work out as you want them to or when you struggle with adapting in an extroverted environment. Embracing your flaws by accepting them and practicing continuous forgiveness, gives you peace and happiness.

My favourite phrase which I say out loud is “I offer myself grace for this and more”.

3. Permission: Introverts struggle with giving themselves the permission to adapt. Quite often there is the fear of feeling uncomfortable, giving the wrong impression or being stuck with a mask pretending to be who you are not. Give yourself permission to adapt and revert unapologetically. This means doing what you have to do to achieve what you want to achieve, and giving yourself permission to be your introverted self without seeking approval for it. Not being one’s true self increases imposter feeling.

4. Set Healthy Boundaries: Most introverts I know are empaths (which is the ability to understand the experiences and feelings of others outside of your own perspective – Healthline). This makes them also great givers. Very often, this can lead to over stretching and being taken advantage of, there by increasing feelings of low self-worth. Taking a closer look at your relationships and how you conduct them, saying No! when things don’t feel right, building up your assertiveness capabilities, will make a big difference to how you feel about your worth.

5. Time-out: Carrying on with unresolved burnout and overwhelm, can leave you feeling like an imposter. Introverts suffer burnout and overwhelm from too much exposure to external stimulus such as light, sound, noise and people activities. To feel good about yourself, requires you to feel energised and bring out your best self. Introverts need time out to recharge, reenergise and rejuvenate, to perform at their optimal best. Take as much time as you need as often as is possible to do. Don’t miss that lunch break, don’t stay in doors all day, don’t ignore your bodies stress signals, take time out.

Implementing these self-care strategies overtime, help you feel more self-assured and exude self confidence. Change takes time, so select your starting point, start gradually and build up your capability and capacity.

Remember! ultimate self-care is asking for help when you can’t achieve what you want on your own or as quickly as you like. Strong and confident people know that success is a team effort and seek to leverage the strengths of others to build up their strengths. Seek help if you need to.

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