I Thought I Was A Fraud For Years
I can be my own antagonist. Flying wholeheartedly into the things I love - only to miss the mark just slightly. What seems so minuscule to those around me is a vast, deep canyon of uncertainty - an endeavor I have to pry out of my own fists of vehement energy.
I prepare for months to breathe hope and excitement into a project and finally find myself standing on the cliff of skepticism and hesitation. Upon looking into the abyss of the unknown, I retract into myself - violently.
I don’t think I can do this.
I’m not alone.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I found the words for the feelings that bounced in the echo chamber of my mind. I had Imposter Syndrome - something called the imposter phenomenon in a 1978 psychological study and even discussed in Forbes and The New York Times.
Somebody else is probably more qualified than I am to do the things I want to do.
If I’m not the best at what I do, maybe people will think I am a fraud.
Maybe I was just lucky or maybe I just worked hard enough, I don’t actually have any real abilities.
The Expanded Stats
This ugly feeling pops up for some people when they encounter new environments, like getting a new job, a promotion, or going to college. For other people, feeling unworthy can happen in social interactions or in relationships.
The initial findings in 1978 claimed it was an experience unique to women, but it has since been found to affect many other types of people including:
those in higher education
those with family pressure
those who suffer from clinical depression or anxiety disorders
people of color
It is prevalent, but a person doesn't have to actually stick with these feelings forever. Many people who suffer from imposter syndrome don't realize that they can get help and possibly break the cycle.
I Believe In You
Start by recognizing your worth and practice kindness with yourself.
Some people can push through the crippling feelings of anxiety and depression that come with imposter syndrome, but not all of us can. If you need to reach out, I recommend group therapy, seeing a counselor, or even just talking about your feelings at 7 Cups for free with a Listener.