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Learning to Love Yourself
with Habiba Jessica Zaman, NCC, LPC

Impostor Syndrome

impostor photoWhen we have spent more time than not, judging and being critical of our own abilities, it is difficult to shed the cloak of uncertainty and inferiority. I have had these moments in just about all aspects of my life from motherhood, to my career to even my writing.

At what time in your life did you feel you were strongest? Do you sometimes forget you are still that same person?

Strength is not manifested by large displays of power, but by gentle, compassionate, self-directed corrections in the form of good decisions.

You are more powerful than you may give yourself credit for. Power in the sense of how you can choose the next steps you take.

We get stuck in ruts, and sometimes it feels that we can’t change something because we’ve been acting that way so long that it is just part of who we are. But that’s just not true. It is difficult to go against your “natural grain” of what you’ve become accustomed to being, AND it is still possible to do something different.

Despite your fears, nothing has been irreparably “messed up” yet.

At times, the issue we are actually having is not the fear of messing up, but rather the lack of confidence you have in your ability to cope when the “failure” happens.

That’s where we behave in all kinds of ways to prevent ourselves from having to experience that original pain of the “failure”.

Make a list of these behaviors. Is it that you are holding yourself back from being vulnerable? Preventing yourself from letting go of a past grievance? Keeping yourself in the safe zone of work responsibility without taking risks?

By paying attention to the self sabotaging behaviors, we can make sense of what is keeping us from getting to where we ideally want to be.

Are you clear on what you want out of life? If someone asks you what you want out of life, do you respond, “to be happy,” without even knowing what that means for you?

Make a list of the different aspects that make up your life. Mine include motherhood, career, family, social life, romantic life, hobbies, spirituality, and physical health.

With this list of the different areas of your life, I want you to then write a paragraph of what this one element looks like at the moment and then underneath it, write another paragraph of the ideal version of what you would like this area to reflect. Do this for the remaining aspects.

This will not only have you reflect on where you are now, but also paint a picture of what you are working towards. Our subconscious brains respond best to imagery and our conscious brains work best with a clear understanding of the path you are wanting to follow.

Remember, it is important to have your ideal vision reflect reality. For example: In my family aspect and my relationship with my parents, it would be amazing to be able to turn to my father for empathy and emotional support. However, I cannot list this because that is expecting a change from someone who is not me. Also, my father is someone to turn to for solutions and tough love, not empathy- that is NOT who he is, so to hope to find that in him, is self-sabotage.

Instead, I can put in my ideal version to have male figures in my life who provide emotional safety and empathy when I need that kind of support. Or, to work towards turning to my father only for the other kinds of support and being able to recognize and appreciate the forms of love and support he does provide.

Once you have gone through all the aspects of your life in this way, commit to taking at least one step towards any one of these elements through action. Just one in any one of these 6 areas every day in a conscious and mindful choice. This will affirm your strength.

Acting in the face of fear proves your courage, which then becomes self-esteem.

Write them down on a calendar or notebook where you can record your movement, great or small. You can also choose to incorporate a time you faced your fear and prevailed.

Every time you meet a challenge you are afraid of, and persevere, write it down. I prefer a calendar that I can go back to and see the specific day of what I did that brought me closer to the life I want to lead.

This is written proof that you can accomplish what you once thought impossible. It will be a repository of hard evidence, proving that you can handle the issue confronting you.

Remember that you have come so far and can go even further.

Most of us are being too hard on ourselves in the quest for self-improvement. Today, be kinder to yourself when taming the unruly parts of your experience. It is important that you aren’t just courageous, but that you are also respecting who you are and what makes you strong.

Look at this moment as a snapshot of where you are on your path and be present with your life and see it as it truly is before proceeding.

What do you love about your life currently? Can you name the moments that bring you peace? Which elements do you wish would change?

Accept your life and the lessons you currently find yourself learning. Breathe in the truth of your life at this moment and give yourself the grace to recognize where you’ve been, who you are now, and the person you are working on becoming.


Photo by Crystl


Impostor Syndrome

Habiba Jessica Zaman, NCC, LPC

Habiba Jessica Zaman LPC, has a master’s degree in professional counseling specializing in trauma, and is the therapist and owner of North Star of Georgia Counseling. With fifteen years of work experience in the counseling field including counseling, advocacy, guidance, and education, she believes that as awareness of one’s fears, perception, desires, and strengths increase, one can make successful life changes. Self-awareness by becoming more honest with oneself, can initiate the authenticity that often results in healing, transformation, and living a fuller life. Habiba has created the I.D ME Quiz (which is designed to evaluate your general level of identity and determine whether you need to work on your self-image. Self-Awareness is an integral part of personal happiness, fulfilling relationships and achievement. Take this quiz to find out your true sense of self. She has thirteen publications that started with a children’s book titled, But I am Just Playing published in 2012, followed by Beautifully Bare, Undeniably You, award-winning Dear Time, Amazon best-seller Dear Love and You’ve Got This, Mama series released in 2018. Habiba is of Bangladeshi and American descent. She has two children and lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her family.

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APA Reference
Zaman, H. (2020). Impostor Syndrome. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 26, 2020, from


Last updated: 1 Aug 2020
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