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Last week, a friend on Twitter asked, “How do you deal with imposter syndrome?”
The first thing that popped into my head? “FERAL FURBIES!!!”
Because one just can’t write “FERAL FURBIES” as a way to combat imposter syndrome, I wrote instead:
I picture my imposter syndrome as a little furby or gremlin and mentally envision myself putting it in my pocket. Often, I can’t get rid of it – so I just tell it, “We’re still doing this, and I guess you’re coming for the ride!”
Why I Picture a Feral Furby // Gremlin
I can’t take 100% credit for this approach, as I learned this way of dealing with negative feelings from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Committed, where she talks about how her anxiety rides shotgun – but it never drives the car.
I take this a step further, and I picture my anxiety or imposter syndrome or scary feelings as a little fantastical forest creature. A Feral Furby, if you will. (Gremlins are a liiittle too aggro for my tastes.). Doing this reminds me of a few things:
- Everything is RIDICULOUS: Picturing my anxiety as a Feral Furby (yes, I love alliteration), helps keep me grounded in knowing that a lot of what I’m feeling is VALID – but it’s not factual. Feral Furbies are not real, and my fears are often focused on what could happen – not reality.
- Separates for Objectivity: Picturing my fears as a Feral Furby makes it easier for me to take a step back and be objective, almost serving to separate myself from the moment to be more calm, cool and collected. I can look at my Feral Furby in my mind’s eye, and really get a feeling for what’s happening.
- Moving Forward with a Feral Furby in My Pocket: When I’m done processing and ready to move forward, I picture myself putting my Feral Furby into a front pocket on my shirt. This makes it so I can move forward, without the belief or expectation that the negative feelings have to go away for me to move forward.
Plus, Furbies are cute!! And they come in loads of different colors and aesthetic options, making it fun for me to mentally design what my imposter Feral Furby looks like that day.
Is my Feral Furby magenta? Does it look like someone on a bad (or great) acid trip designed my Feral Furby, representing my mix of complicated emotions?
Reframing Imposter Syndrome – Acceptance Instead of Rejection
Let’s talk about that point #3 more.
Moving forward with imposter syndrome.
When folks talk about imposer syndrome, the focus is often on GETTING RID OF IT, RIGHT EFFING MEOW NOW!
And while I totally get the desire to NOT deal with feeling like an imposter, and the angst that comes with it – what if, we tried something else?
What if, we looked at the unpleasant feelings of self-doubt and worry, and just… accepted them? Putting them in our pocket and charging ahead?
Instead of trying to figure out how to scrape our souls and NEVER FEEL BAD AGAIN, what if we acknowledged that imposter syndrome is going to happen. And that feeling it doesn’t make us totally lacking in self-confidence or a failure. It means we’re human, and we’re fallible – and we can move forward with fear.
W can do the thing we want to do, taking imposter syndrome for the ride.
“If you’re afraid to dive, dive afraid.” – Viola Davis
I saw this quote on my friend Alysse’s Instagram, and I was like, “HOW HAVE I NEVER HEARD THIS? THIS IS GENIUS?!”
We can jump in afraid. Moving beyond one’s comfort zone usually implies being a bit (or a lot) freaked out. Imposter syndrome usually pops up as a way to keep us in our comfort zones.
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