How to use mindfulness to reflect and relinquish anxiety, imposter syndrome
Whenever I start a new job, I have bouts of fear and anxiety. Often, I doubt on my own capabilities.
A long history of self-shaming
Fear is something that everyone experiences. Some fears are small and some are big. There are fears that we can manage and fears that can leave us unable to cope with the daily tasks in life.
We become fearful to the point of being unable to move forward in life. Sometimes, we can do what we’re supposed to, but we carry the uneasy feeling around waiting for something bad to happen.
Type of Fears
There are two kinds of fear. There’s the fear that’s caused by what we don’t know and the other one that is based on past experience.
The “Future” Fear
Fear is an emotion that manifest because we’re afraid that something is going to happen.
We’re afraid that this unknown is going to impact our way of life and create change that threatens us financially, emotionally or physically. You are afraid of failure such as not getting a job or the promotion that you need. You can afraid of rejection by a loved one or with your creative endeavors. We fear the judgment or anger of other people because we worry about what they’ll think about us.
There’s an acronym for this type of fear. It’s False Evidence Appearing Real, meaning that all these situations running in your head haven’t even happened. Most types of fear never actually become real.
The “Past” Fear
The second type of fear is the emotion that’s based on our past experiences.
It can be deeply entrenched from a childhood trauma or based on a recent experience you had.
Do you have a friend who is afraid of water due to a drowning incident that happened at a young age? I have a couple of friends with similar experiences and they avoid any form of pool parties or even heading to the beach.
Living with anxiety
With a fear-based approach to life, you will live with anxiety and somewhat grapple in and out with imposter syndrome. I was an example.
I still remember my first job out of the university. It was the fear from the future. I also had the fear of failure.
In a fear approach outlook, it will show in the way that you carry yourself, how your relationship will progress and how your career will develop. The irony is.. what you fear for will actually come true, so you will be trapped in this self-fulfilling prophecy.
Do you have an imposter syndrome?
Have you ever feel constantly like a fraud? You are sensitive to how people think about you and you strive really hard to get approval? You don’t sleep well and often think about things that happened during the day? These are a few signs of having an imposter syndrome.
If you need to do some tests, here are some sites that have tests to determine if you have imposter syndrome:
Case Study: My Own Anxiety
My outcome from my first job was to live up to my imposter self. I did everything I can to build up my knowledge, I was overly helpful and too eager to please. And it went well, I was appreciated for my work to some extent, I felt validated but anxious internally, thinking that one fine day, everything will be exposed. While it looked rosy for my job, on the surface, my personal life was crumbling. I exhausted so much mental capacity that I went home grumpy, angsty. I argued with my family and
I was very unhappy and one fine day I had it. I took 1 day of urgent leave. Sobbed my heart out in an empty house and started writing the same sentences.
“I hate my life”
“I hate my life”
“I hate my life”
It started to change to:
“Why do I hate my life?”
“I have no life”
“Why do I have no life”
“I am always angry”
“Why am I always angry”
“I feel like no one understands me at home”
“Why do you feel like no one understand you at all?”
“I barely talk to them”
Then I realized I hardly communicate to my family and loved ones.
“Why do I barely talk to them?”
“I have not much time to talk to them”
“Why do you have not much time?”
“I am always working”.
At that point of time I was still very proud of my work.. I made a mental note to take note on why my work is taking so much time.
And it took me not long to find out that I took 30 minutes to craft out that very grammar perfect and
Internally reflect: That’s mindfulness
Mindfulness can set you free from that.
It helps you focus on the present and be able to see the fear for what it actually is – simply an emotion that can help us. Mindfulness will allow you to be able to understand what fear is actually valid and what is not.
Fear is rooted in negativity and mindfulness can change that. By practicing mindfulness, you’ll be able to calm the anxiety that often comes along with fear. You’ll learn how to neutralize fear through mindfulness by letting go of the preconceived judgment you have toward the emotion. When you’re free from fear, you’ll be able to live life freely and without reserve.
Choosing to walk away from your anxiety
My anxiety was a very obvious problem but I was so embroiled in the drama that I could not see it. I became in a mess, creating typhoons out of thin air wherever I go.
I am pretty sure my family and friends advised me and pointed out my anxiety but when I was the lead actor in my own drama, I simply dismissed them away. It took me many reflection sessions to uncover what havoc I was.
No one knows I had imposter syndrome and it’s no one’s fault except myself. I consistently felt like a fraud but acted out to everyone that I was in control of my life. What an irony right?
Seek help when you need to
Major highlight: You will not know that you need help.
If you have been feeling these few emotions – please talk to your friends and family or seek help. There is nothing wrong in seeking help.
- You consistently feel nervous, out of the norm and suspicious
- You are tired but you still continue on your daily grind
- You always tell your family and friends that “I am fine or I am good” when they ask about you but deep down, you don’t feel right and you know it.
- Your family and friends somewhat think that your life is pretty good based on the societal baseline: Good job, good live, promotion
- You are lonely, sad and depress when you are not around anyone else
- You contemplated suicide at least once.
If some of these pointers echo to you, please seek help or identify that you need to help yourself.
For people who find point 6 agreeable, please seek external help. Don’t
Show your vulnerability: No one is perfect
Even if the person looks like he or she has it all. It simply looked like it but deep down, everyone has their own set of challenges.
Celebrities are one example. There are just too many cases of a perfect life except that it was a downward spiral of silent depression that led to suicide. Below are 2 iconic figures who were larger-than-life and shocked everyone by taking their own lives.
We are each an
“Everything will be okay”
Say this even when everything is collapsing. You will survive and you will get over the challenge.
Here is one imperfection that I will bring to this table: A video on meditation that I did (first time!)
Hope you enjoy the (imperfect) writing. I will be happy to hear comments and your thoughts. J
Lastly, try out these tips to take charge of your life!