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There's a saying that says "fake it until you make it" - well, my leading question is, at what point do you make it? Because right now, I still feel like I'm faking it.
There's something about adulthood that makes you constantly feel like a fraud. People don't actually care what I think right? I mean, surely they're just asking to be nice??? Some days, it's a constant concept, an inability to believe in myself, as corny as that sounds. I'm convinced at some point that someone is going to ask me a question and catch me out; they'll get their aha moment as they realise suddenly that I am, in fact, wholly incompetent. That my achievements thus far have been a series of flukes and luck.
I spent ages reading about the ol' imposter syndrome phenomenon for a while before writing this post. I questioned if I had anything to add (I don't, but I also know how many people can relate) and found myself cringing at the wording of posts. The "dirty secret of high achievers" - hun, I wouldn't say I was a high achiever, but it's a feeling that's astonishingly hard to knock for your average 20-something. We're in intricate careers, with often a demanding side hustle, and forging paths for ourselves that previous generations haven't had to do, in a complex economic and political climate.
Most days, I reminded that I am, actually, pretty good at my job and managing life around me. My manager, who is a total hun, will tell me that she's pleased with the work I'm doing. The team I'm in will say the same. Dan tells me how impressed he is with me. Friends will always reiterate that. I go to the gym multiple times a week. Hell, I even meal prep on a Sunday. But it doesn't help that I'm shit at taking compliments, and when you're in your own head, it's hard to think people are just saying to get you to chill out.
Like, even now, writing this, what gives me the right to discuss this, or any of what I talk about. Do I have any real reason to add my voice to the thousands of other published pieces of people feeling the exact same?
I have always put a large pressure on myself to succeed. If it ain't perfect, it ain't worth having. It took me years to accept getting marks that weren't in the top % at A Levels and cried at my first 2:1 grade. Eventually, that went out the window and I was feeling relieved every time I got a mark in the 60's, but still sobbed privately when my final grade came to 62. For my masters, I managed to get a distinction which I was amazingly happy with. Except for two days later I almost talked myself out of deserving it because I had learnt so much from two of the girls that I did the course with. I felt like I had cheated somehow.
Without education, my focus in doubts has become my career. Do I deserve to do the job I do? The competition for psychology is just so stiff, that often I get stages of guilt because I wonder if others would be more deserving of my job. I also know how stupid that is, that actually, I've worked my backside off to get to where I am. In my head, I know I do deserve it, but my confidence can be so easily shaken that it makes it so hard to remember that.
This maps out with blogging - can whatever I do be enough? I feel like I'm a charlatan because I can put on this fake "happy" mindset when actually I can be the total opposite. I can worry if I'm not real enough, or too real, stylish enough, interesting enough and just, well enough. The blogosphere has so many voice and talented creators, who am I to pitch in? And don't get me started on numbers. I feel I missed the heyday of blogging, even though I existed throughout that time, and find myself getting angry that I didn't try hard enough earlier on. What is just dumb.
Now here comes the positive spiel. How does one fix this problem? I've been trying to work on my thought patterns. I'm amazingly good at telling others about this but always find it hard the do it for myself (the irony). My inner saboteur (holla Drag Race fans) is hugely critical of everything I do. I can feel it building up ready to pounce and make me feel like garbage. Normally around the same time, I'm due for a period so it's truly like kicking me when I'm already down. Listen to it, then remember all the points which prove it wrong. Challenge it. Write them down if you have to. You deserve only the best, and to have got to where you are right now, well, you've done bloody marvellous. You're a triumph. And always to remember, those who are out there succeeding, they probably feel the same as you.
So what're your thoughts on this? Have you ever felt the same, and how did you get over it? I'd love to hear more!!