Imposter Syndrome is real, and it needs to be addressed more

 Have you ever heard of the term Imposter Syndrome? No? Well, according to Psychology Today, Imposter Syndrome is defined as:

"People who struggle with imposter syndrome believe that they are undeserving of their achievements and the high esteem in which they are, in fact, generally held. They feel that they aren’t as competent or intelligent as others might think—and that soon enough, people will discover the truth about them."

Now, this explanation leaves out those of us who are neurodivergent, who have spent our lives being told we are going to accomplish amazing things, only to struggle to reach the level that was expected of them. That or we find something that we enjoy doing, but we aren't at the level that we want to be at, so when we get compliments we beleive that we don't deserve them. We beleive we are a huge fraud, and that if people knew just how much better we could be at it, then they would understand just how wrong they are about their compliment.  Or, it can even be when those we love, think that we are caring and loving, but we feel like we could be, and should be, doing more for them. So we feel like we are a fraud, that they wouldn't really love us if they knew just how much more we think they deserve, but we can't give.

If you connected with any of those, or know anyone who can connect with any of those, then you understand more about Imposter Syndrome than you think you do. It is something that can affect us once or twice in our lives, or it could be something that completely controls our lives. Either way, it's there, and the majority of us who suffer from it have no idea how to handle it. It is a feeling that can be COMPLETELY overwhelming to the point of feeling as if you will never be able to live up to what other people see in you. It can be trigged by depression but it can also trigger/worsen depression. It is a feeling that can then take over every part of your life. Because of course if you are an imposter with one main thing, than you must be an imposter in other places of your life, right? Maybe everything you do is actually worse than people beleive. Oh, and any time something happens in your life where someone thinks you're doing well at it, but you know that they are wrong but you've been hiding your struggle with it, that just adds to the already mounting suspiscion that everything you do is fake, and soon everyone will know it and hate you for it.

The part of all of this, that those with Imposter Syndrome often miss, is that we are our own worst critics. No one can put us down, or put us "in our place", better than we can. We are looking at every compliment that we are given through the same lens we use to judge ourselves, and it's a lens that is twisted and dirty and cracked and shouldn't ever be used. However, that is the lens we have become accustomed to, so that is the lens we just keep using. Why get something new when this one still works for us? Why get rid of the lens when it's become part of our every day life? Besides, we are just being honest, right? We are being blunt honest about ourselves and everyone else just refuses to take us off the pedestal they have us placed on. Once they do though, once they take us down from the pedastel, they will see us for who we really are, the awful broken person we see in the mirror every day. That's how that works right? That's how all of life works, right?

Wrong, that's not how life works, that is how the intrusive thoughts work, and Imposter Syndrome feeds off of those intrusive thoughts. It loves those thoughts because they always find a way to prove itself right. It's something that's called a "Self Fullfilling Prophecy". The bad thing only happens because we spent so much time focusing on it, that we made it happen, and then used that thing happening, to embolden our intrusive thoughts to bring us even more down than we already were. It feeds on our personal frustrations, and how we see the world through the lens of self judgement. Imposter Syndrome loves nothing more than to push you down and make you hate yourself for not seeing yourself as others do. 

How do we combat imposter syndrome though? How do we make ourselves feel like we deserve the compliments/praise/positions of power/respect/etc that we have convinced ourselves we are undeserving of? How do we do it without becoming someone who is too into themselves? How do we accept all the accolaides that we feel we don't deserve, without feeling like we are being self obsessed or vain or conceited or narcissitic? Most of us have spent our lives being taught not to be that way, so how can we avoid it, and still accept the compliments? Well, first you have to understand that there is a huge difference between acknowledging/accepting compliments, and feeling like you deserve them. There is a difference between appreciating them and embracing them. When you accept a compliment, you are litterally just thanking the person for their kind words, giving yourself a small pat on the back for doing a good job, and continuing on with what you were doing. It's such a simple thing to do and yet it can be insanely hard to accomplish. On the other hand, if you were being vain or conceited or what not, you would only be doing the things to get the praise, or would always expect praise with everything that you do. Those of us with Imposter Syndrome don't have that issue, so we really shouldn't be too worried about coming across that way if we just accept the compliment.

Also, when it comes to accepting compliments from others, you don't actually have to beleive them. You just have to accept that they beleive it, and that it is coming from a place of love and care for you. Just because we have a hard time loving and caring for ourselves quite often, doesn't mean others can't love and care for us. Those two things are not mutually exclusive, and actually those people who say that "You can't love someone else, until you learn to love yourself" are wrong. They are looking at it from a neurotypical point of view, and refuse to accept that it's not that way for everyone. However, that's a conversation for another day. Today we are discussing how to accept that you have imposter syndrome, and how to try to learn to move past it.

Learning to move past our imposter syndrome will help with so many parts of life. Not just with accepting compliments and the like, but also with our own views of ourselves. Our self view is one that needs the most work, and if we can stop thinking of ourselves as imposters, maybe we could actually see just how amazing we can be, without the narcissim. Got my fingers crossed for you.


Your feelings are valid, honest

Do you ever feel like you are just way to sensitive to ever be normal? Do you ever feel like you're just weak and you need to toughen up more? Do you ever feel like you just don't have any tolerance for pain like the rest the world seems to? Well first off, read this:

Okay? Got it? Good.

We, as neurodivergent people, have to stop trying to fit ourselves into the rest of the world like some kind of lost puzzle piece. We are not a piece that needs to be shown where to fit in so that we don't stand out. We are not just weak or overly emotional or too sensitive. We are human beings who's brains are wired different from "the norm" and we were never taught how to handle our emotions properly. The fault is not so much with you, as it is with a world that refuses to accept that it's okay to be different. Personally, I myself, I catch myself chocking up at big feels in tv commercials, but I could never let anyone see. I didn't want to have anyone ask me why I am crying at such a stupid thing to cry about. It wasn't that I didn't want to cry because it was only a commercial, I didn't want to cry because I was afraid of how people would treat me if they found out what I was crying over. We all feel pain and emotions differently than everyone else, sadly though we live in a world where everyones pain and emotions must fit in a certain box to be considered valid. 

We live in a world where everyone judges everyone else based on how they react to the world around them. That joke hurt your feelings, well too bad because it didn't hurt anyone elses, so you must just be too sensitive. You got incredibly frustrated over something somebody did and reacted to it, even though no one else saw the harm in the persons actions, so now you are just overreacting and need to calm down. Your type of neurospicy makes you hyperaware of peoples vocal tones and facial expressions due to years of trauma, and it makes you super leery of one of your coworkers, but no one else has a problem with them, then you are just being closed minded and needed to be nicer to them. Any of those sound familliar to you? If so, then you understand why it is so hard to beleive the text in the image above. If the rest of the world around you is telling you that you are too weak, or too sensitive, or over reacting or being close minded, then they must be right, right? If all the evidence is pointing the same direction, then it must be that you are the one at fault and you need to change. It can't be that you see something that they don't, or feel something that they don't, or are okay with the fact that you don't have the same inner or outer strength that they do. 

Your feelings are valid.

Yeah, you read that right, your feelings are valid. You are still responsible for your reactions, but your feelings are valid, because they are your feelings. What we as neurodivergent must learn to do, is not to mask and try to be like everyone else, but learn how to properly handle our emotions so as not to allow them to take over. That is where controlling our actions comes into play. If we can learn to stop those moments from being our sole consuming thought, then we have a much better chance of getting through them without having to hear others tell us we are too much. I know, that is WAY easier said than done, I am very very aware of that. It is however the goal that we should all be striving for when it comes to our journeys into learning to deal with our own neurodivergence. If we can get even the slightest handle on our reactions to things, then we are that much closer to feeling like we have a handle on ourselves as well.

 So how do we do that? That is the biggest question of them all and sadly it is different for everyone so there is no one specific way to go about it. However, I will do my best to give you some insight and a bit of guidence into how to go about it. The end goal is the same for everyone, it's just that we are all wired very differently so trying to find one specific way to help everyone just isn't possible. I don't care what any group or organization tells you, therapy and self work are different paths for every single person. You can't just try to follow someone elses self work path and expect it to work the same for you as it did for them. However, we can use others journeys as guides for us to learn and adapt to our own journey. It's the same idea as a younger sibling learning what not to do based off of their older sibling. They have different life paths, but they can at least see what does and doesn't work and adjust it to match themselves.

Where do we start then? Well, you start by admitting that you are wired different, your feeling are valid, and you are not as broken as you beleive yourself to be. Simple enough and yet for most it is the single hardest part to do. We live our lives constantly dissapointed in ourselves and the way we are wired, wishing we could just be "normal" and fit in with the world around us, which leads to self loathing and self doubt. That is that part we need to start working on before any of the rest of it can be accomplished. Notice I didn't say that is the part we need to fix first? I know first hand that learning to love yourself or even like yourself is an up and down battle that will be fought every day for the rest of my life. However, it is a battle that I must fight if I am to continue moving forward in my self work journey. It is a battle that will test your resolve often, but you must continue to fight it or you will never feel like you are okay being you, or that your feelings are actually valid.

Once you have started on the path of learning to accept yourself for who you are, it then becomes easier to start seeing the patterns of what makes you who you are, and what triggers the reactions that make people tell you that you are over reacting. Then, long as you can keep going with the the work of accepting yourself, you can start to work on noticing the signs of your neurodivergence taking over, and learn how to curb it or work through it. That part of it is up to you and depends highly on the situation and your specific flavor of neurospicyness. Some of us need to learn how to curb our reactions to keep them from taking over and getting out of hand. Others need to learn how to work through their reactions to keep them from growing any worse. The biggest trick is learning to stop trying to avoid the feelings or bottle them up. All that will ever do is cause issues for you down the line that you may not be able to handle properly. Again, personal experiance with that one. You have to figure out which direction is going to work best for you when handling your emotions in that situation, it will take some trial and error, and I am sorry now for how much of a toll the errors take on us. Nothing can make you feel like all your progress is for naught then failing when you were convinced you had made the right choice.

Now that you have started working on accepting yourself for who you are, and are trying to learn how to curb your emotional reactions and/or how to work through them, it's time to take the next step. What is that step you may ask? Well, that part is up to you actually, I can't tell you that part as much as I would love to. I wont even tell you what the next step was for me for fear of leading you down a path that wont work for you. The next step is figuring out where to go next with your journey of accepting yourself as you are, and accepting that your feelings are valid. I can't tell you how to do that part. You are on your way there, but I can't tell you how to go about doing it. That is the part that every individual must learn for themselves. It could be therapy, medication, meditation, inpatient treatment, cutting ties with toxic people, chasing your passions, etc. There is no specific answer that works for everyone, but there is a specific answer for you that you will find.

So remember, you are valid, your feelings are valid, and it is okay to have them. Its just all in how we react to them and during them that matters most. Just don't let anyone tell you that you and your feelings are invalid, or you will see yourself in that light as well.


Welcome to Neurospicy 'R' Us, how may we assist you?

 Welcome to our new blog. We hope to fill this blog with posts not only from me, but from others, links to articles and videos that we have found helpful, Q&A's, Live Streaming events, and on and on. The end goal is to try to create a hub of information for all the neurodivergent people to come and find information, feel at home, build a community, and learn how to survive in a neurotypical world that doesn't seem to have time for us.

I hope this helps, I hope you can find peace in who you are, and I hope beyond hope that we can make this world a better place for all of us.


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