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Are Other People's Expectations Burning You Out?

Updated: Mar 16

Mental Health Moments from Movies

The Movie: Elemental

The Concern: Anger, Imposter Syndrome and Sacrificing One's Own Dreams



I watched Elemental with my daughter today. Here's a glimpse of Imposter Syndrome and its presentation from an animated perspective. Our girl, Ember, the main character, has a noticeable issue with anger. When she is challenged and overwhelmed, she explodes and everything around her feels the literal heat. Then she meets Wade. Wade has a way of being simply delightful and profound. At one moment, when Ember asks him how he manages his anger, he wisely replies,

": Sometimes, when I lose my temper, I think it's just me trying to tell me something I'm not ready to hear.."

YO!! What amazing insight. The therapist in me recognizes that our adverse behavior is almost always a type of language that we cannot quite express in words. Emotions are information. I often say in the therapy room - don't ignore your emotions. They give us direction and powerful information about what is wrong in our lives.

It turns out Ember's anger was related to a very suppressed dream of expressing her talent. Instead, she'd aligned herself with the family business, believing this was necessary to be a good daughter.

If I had to gauge Ember on the Dimensions of Imposter Syndrome, I would think she falls into the category of Dimension 5 - Inauthentic Assimilation. When we authentically assimilate, we are prone to please other people and dishonor ourselves. We don't think it is okay to fully express our needs and desires for fear of being shunned. Link to the Dimensions of Imposter Syndrome here.


Now let's go from the movie to the mirror.


Where are you suppressing your talent and ignoring your heart's desires in order to please someone else or fulfill what you believe are their expectations for you?

In what ways are your emotions and behavior trying to communicate with you that something is wrong.

What is it that you really desire to choose for your life?

What is one small step you can take in that direction?


Blessing to you as you shed the weight of imposter syndrome moment by moment.


Want to fast track your path to joy? Join the Opposite of Imposter Course or B.A.L.M., The DAWN's signature course designed to help you build identity and self-care that lasts through any circumstance.

The next B.A.L.M group starts April 1, 2024.

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