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Imposter Syndrome as a Spiritual Practitioner


From the moment the client walked in, up to the moment they left, I felt an antagonistic vibe from within. It started small. A slight flutter in the solar plexus, pointing an accusatory finger at my confidence. Despite intentionally preparing for this session, and years of practice, training, and experience, a familiar feeling surfaced, unpacked its bags, and settled deep in my core. Recognising this feeling and having dealt with it in the past, I took a cleansing breath, attempted to shake it off, and tapped into the energy I needed to complete the service. Throughout the session, however, it kept rearing its head. With any movement or change of facial expression in my client, this uninvited guest in my mind whispered, "You don't really know what you're doing. You're not as qualified as others. You're not helping this client at all.". Although I could feel the energy moving and I was still receiving messages, I felt put off of my game and, ultimately, dissatisfied with myself. 


It was twenty minutes before a session with another client, and I had a fleeting thought that perhaps I should do more to prepare myself and the room. Instead, since I already was feeling calm and grounded, I decided to do some unrelated work as I waited for the client to arrive. From the moment they walked in, up to the moment they left, I felt centered, confident, and collected. The energy flowed so smoothly, and the connection to the client was easily established and maintained. There was nothing that could have interrupted the vibe and I felt refreshed and self-assured.

How is it possible that two days could be so different? How could it be that I have such wildly varied experiences as a practitioner in such a short amount of time with no apparent reason? 


After my client on Monday, it hit me that even if I have an "off day", or I feel impostor syndrome creep in, those feelings are temporary and will pass. Those feelings are not something that I need to get attached to, or obsess over, or base my entire perspective of self upon, because I know what my strengths and capabilities are. This realisation has completely shifted how I view these moments through observation and reflection. Normally, I would let this affect me to the point where I would fall into an abyss of self-doubt, questioning everything about my practice and my ability. However, truly seeing and acknowledging that I am really good at what I do and bring many well-honed skills to the table, I can look at these instances with discernment. 


It doesn't matter WHY I felt less-than - whether it was a misalignment of energy, or a conflicting transit in the stars, or simply intrusive thoughts - what matters is how I choose to handle it. Rather than giving it more attention and trying to figure it out, thereby causing it to get stuck in my body and mind, I can accept that the feeling showed up and allow it to move through me. That doesn't mean that I forget it happened altogether. I think it's important to file the moment away, and take note of how often it happens, when it happens, and any circumstances or feelings that show up in parallel, as this information can provide insight into how to anticipate future instances. Noticing patterns and triggers gives us an opportunity to act rather than react, and perhaps proactively minimize the affect impostor syndrome has on our being. 


I do believe that impostor syndrome, and similar feelings of inadequacy, is normal and can have a valuable purpose. Our ego is always working to protect us in the best way it knows how. Therefore, giving ourselves a check now and then where we can admit that we don't know everything isn't a bad thing when we move from a state of curiosity and humility. In fact, I am ready to welcome these moments in the future as I will take it as a cue to open my mind and my heart to any lessons that are waiting to be known. Because if I'm being honest, I had a feeling something was off within me prior to that first client, and after some deliberation I have a deeper appreciation for my intuition and will be better equipped to work with it, rather than against it, next time.

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