Tarot Talk: What is “Imposter Syndrome,” and How do You Deal With it?

Imposter syndrome is a phenomenon that exists outside of tarot and divination, but as practitioners of the occult already face strange looks and a bunch of skeptics and debunkers knocking on their doors daily, the experience of imposter syndrome can be extremely visceral.

“Impostor syndrome—the idea that you’ve only succeeded due to luck, and not because of your talent or qualifications.”

time.com

In the world of tarot, divination, and psychic ability, imposter syndrome can essentially be doubting entirely that what you do in the first place is legitimate. Readers and psychics alike who I’ve talked to have experienced this in some level, and it can seriously hinder the flow of your practice, as you begin doubting your own advice, what you see, what you feel. No doubt, I’ve experienced it too. No matter how many clients tell me that I was spot on with how they’re feeling, later that my predictions were exactly correct, that the advice I gave them was what they needed — I can experience a period of time where something just nags at me telling me that I’m not good enough, or worse, telling me I’m a fraud.

Divination is difficult because, to an extent, I do rely on the feedback of others to confirm my feelings and ideas. It’s a conversation, a means of communication and connecting with others. And even more so, it’s possible to make mistakes, and when you’re literally dealing with other people’s intimate situations and relationships, that can be daunting.

Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

  1. Testimonials, feedback, and words of encouragement. This is perhaps a temporary fix as imposter syndrome can convince you these mean nothing, but consider also turning to friends, family, and loved ones that know you and your work. Kind words from loved ones in particular can speak to something special within you as they know your intentions and purpose.
  2. Stop the comparisons. We are on different ends of the spectrum in reading delivery, ethics, and whatnot for good reason. Diversity within the community of readers allows for us to attend to … diverse sets of needs! If you had this or that skill instead of the ones you have now, you wouldn’t be yourself as a reader, healer, or, anything, really.
  3. Imposter syndrome makes little sense. Approach things logically. There’s no reasonable way to justify that you’ve gotten to where you are only by chance. Chance can only take you so far! Your own talents, skills, and actions have to carry weight too.
  4. Being wrong is okay. If we were always correct, always infallible, we would no longer be human. Accept mistakes as mistakes, and not as signs that we are wholly frauds. You wouldn’t tell a friend that made a mistake that they’re completely talentless now, so there’s no reason to tell yourself so.
  5. Remember what we actually do. This is divination-specific, but sometimes what gets me into this frame of mind is outside perceptions of what divination is. Because of the associations to having “powers” or supernatural abilities, it can be easy to think, “Well, I don’t have supernatural powers.” Intuition and psychic ability are natural. We all have an intuition.

Imposter syndrome is much like a heightened insecurity that … really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but can feel wholly real and visceral if you’re carrying it on you. Face it head on with a few (or all) of these and you’ll find that it can’t stand very much on its own if you refuse to feed it.