Hey there. I am talking to me and you. You know how long I contemplated writing about the impostor syndrome. Quite a long while to say the least. This delay of writing a blog when you promise you would; forms a part of having an impostor syndrome. May be it won’t be good, may be I should do it when I really have the flow in my writing. Maybe a better mood or a better day. In the words of Mel Robbins, you are never going to feel like it.
I appreciate the lockdown for 2 big reasons – one is it gave me the necessary break from my chaotic life and two, it gave me the time to really look at my own idiosyncrasies and figure things out. The latter is something I love to get lost day dreaming about on most days but the former would not give me that luxury. So impostor syndrome was one of the discoveries. Why did I feel like it?
Most Indian women do have impostor syndrome across levels, lifestyles, work and life. It was never programmed in us to do things and feel deserving of it. So yes, a deep seated conditioning does work against us. 2 years back when I walked out of a codependent situation, embraced my decisions, mistakes and took a leap ahead on my own I started to see this clearly. I had a portfolio of work that I wanted to showcase and get employed for. There were a series of feedback that came my way – you are over qualified, you are too young for this position but your resume does suit the profile, we can’t pay you for this experience. All the while listening to this, all I could hear was I had done something wrong. As if I could have done better. I started to chip away things from the folio to get it to sound as if yes, look at me I belong just like everyone. You know at this point, if I had to look at it from the point of view of the Universe looking at me – this is how the judgement would sound; Dear, you are not believing in your self…. now see how far it will take you down that path from where your true self is going rise and say fuck this. But no worries, I shall wait for you to wake up.
Self awareness is the answer. To almost all questions that haunt the distraught humans finding themselves lost in the system designed for only some to dominate others with fear and guilt.
This syndrome is across genders, across the world and across age and occupations. There are multitude of reasons why people come to think of themselves as fraud but a clear cut deep rooted answer is the feeling embedded in our head, ‘I am not good enough.’ A lot of childhood situations and the way you were communicated to can leave this feeling controlling everything you do. More often than not one does not even realize they have this syndrome.
Impostor syndrome goes hand in hand with perfectionism. The crippling feeling of whatever you do is still not ready or perfect and probably never will be. Which essentially quantifies to drafts and drafts of your work and having no clue it was perfectly enough then.
How does one get over this?
The internet will give you step by step guide of how to address the impostor syndrome. But like with everything, it is difficult to over ride our beliefs and convictions.
So here is what helped me. Being silent. You only get that nowadays in wee hours of the morning, away from all your devices and also when its quiet enough for you to hear your self. You breathe and ask your self the right questions.
- Who am I as of now? This is something you write or even record as a voice note. The answer that comes could be your present work identity, roles in your personal and professional sphere.
- How I got to where I am now? This would revisit your qualifications, achievements and projects or responsibilities you took care of so far.
- What story of mine makes me think I am an impostor? This is a deep question. You may come up with a past incident or incidents where you were belittled or remarked as not good enough.
- How I would I like my story to be? Here you think and create your identity that you want right now. It takes into account all that you have achieved so far. Hence you get a chance to frame what you are trying to achieve and how you are qualified to do it.
- Be grateful for your past and let it go and embrace your new story. This basically keeps you in the present. And hence opens you up to your future.
We all have a film running inside of us. And most of the times it is running on an autopilot mode. The mind has figured out fears and triggers and created a film that helps it keep you safe. But one realizes that with time this capacity of our mind to keep us safe ends up sabotaging out future. Hence its important to check our narrative and beliefs and reinvent them to help you move ahead.
The next best thing you could do is forget about others judging you and keep doing your bit. Perfect or not. Good or not.
Everyone creating something that they believe in, this message is for you. It takes courage and a whole lot of your self to push something that is a 100% you. So stop worrying about how is it, how people respond. Just do it. And keep doing it.
Impostor or not.