The Imposter Attacks
Someone’s curated life attacked me. I was so happy before the blow. So confident in my conscious decision to open my life to writing again. Excited about a new opportunity to learn dance. Proud that I’d made time to do a little sketching. Content with the gradual resurrection of art in my life.
Then I saw what others were doing, a blogger in particular. I started to participate in the dreaded “comparison” game, and everything I was so proud of seemed so menial.
Why did I decide to blog? Anyone can write. Why do I think I have some sort of talent in this field? What if no one likes what I write? Worse, what if no one reads my words? Why do I think I have anything original to say?
These questions not only flooded my brain, but emitted from my mouth. Killer words. Gross words. Discouragement. If you haven’t figured it out, I lean toward a negative sentiment all too often. But my wonderful boyfriend believes in me. An artist himself, he always encourages me to do the impossible, to pursue my ideas. I invited him to this little pity party I threw for myself, and I’m so glad he attended.
As per usual, he said everything I needed to hear. He even mentioned the Imposter Syndrome, which isn’t the first time we’ve discussed this theory. It’s something I suffer from way too often. I think it’s a syndrome we can all self diagnose and with which we all struggle.
According to the Caltech Counseling Center, Imposter Syndrome is a “collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in the face of information that indicates the opposite is true.” Other words used to describe the Imposter Syndrome are “intellectual fraudulence”, “chronic self-doubt”, “feeling fake”. In other words, that slimy internal voice you hear that always tells you you’re not good enough, that’s an imposter.
I don’t know about you, but I struggle with these feelings every day. I think it’s our human nature. I do believe we can always grow, always improve our skills. There will always be someone better. But this shouldn’t be cause for self-doubt. When these feelings overwhelm me, I’ve found that actually talking about them with someone I trust is the best remedy. Hiding these feelings of inadequacies and fraudulence only grow when they remain in your psyche. They feast on your inability to release them. The first time you talk to someone about these feelings will be uncomfortable, but I promise the relief that blankets your soul when you realize you’re not the only one that feels this way is enough to squelch those imposter feelings for a while.
If you’re like me, the imposter often rears its head when I’m the happiest, the confident and the most content. But now that I know when they occur and that I’m not the only one that feels this way, I’m able to quickly self diagnose. If I can’t talk to someone at the time the thoughts surmount, I try to talk myself through it. I remind myself of who I am, what I am doing, that I’m enough and that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made”. Sometimes I’ll even say a little prayer or breath through the feelings. It’s important to figure out what works for you and remember to return to these whenever that wormy imposter crawls into your mind. Life is hard enough. So why not be your number one fan and squelch that measly imposter who tries to distract you from your purpose?