Hello my favorite booknerds! I made a few silent vows (or resolutions, if you will) this year to 1. Post more meaningful blogs, things that go beyond my writing and show you the real me (gulp) and 2. To be kinder to myself, so I can be kinder to others. Often I look at myself and instead of feeling love or self-confidence, I feel disgust. But that’s another blog post. Today I want to talk to you all about a little thing called Imposter Syndrome.
Imposter Syndrome, for those of you who are blessed with enough self-confidence (or just sheer ego) to be unfamiliar with this term means, according to Wikipedia: “Is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’.” Basically, despite your good grades, your glowing work recommendation, publishing two books, or your perfect hair day, this dark, anxious cloud of negativity follows you around undermining all of that. Telling you that you haven’t actually accomplished a damn thing, you have nothing to be proud of, this was all just good luck, you’re a fake and soon everyone will know and hate you for it. So, yeah … not a great feeling.
I wouldn’t say I get this all the time, but it happens enough to where I recognize it for what it is. That doesn’t mean, however, that I can stop it. Usually, it just means that I end up waiting for the moment to pass in sullen silence, or by complaining to my closet friends, which now include you guys. Objectively speaking, I have a lot to be proud of. I have a master’s degree, got a job right out of college, I was (ok, AM) an expert in the field of gamers and game marketing, having worked in the industry and specialized in marketing on consoles for brands (mostly video game publishers) for several years, and I own my own house. Few people my age have done, or get to do these things, and that’s crazy in a good way! But the Imposter Syndrome takes all of that and just sneers. Telling me, falsely, that it’s not that big a deal, or that the only way I got to this point in my life was based on sheer luck and circumstance.
And see, that’s the other thing, I can write down that these accomplishments are things to be proud of, that I’m not just faking things and crossing my fingers in hopes no one notices, but I don’t feel that way. That’s the worst part, I can be rational about all of this, but my emotions still tank and I feel awful, even while telling others about Imposter Syndrome.
While talking about this with others does help, I’ve also decided that I should do things that are less passive. Namely, to not just wait for this feeling to evaporate on its own, but to actively fight against it in hopes of keeping it from coming back. Speaking from experience, it’s far too easy to just sit back and wait for these negative feelings to go away, because they often don’t. They may lessen, but the thing that was making you feel like shit is still there, it’s still this toxic little nugget deep down waiting to administer its poison once again. So, let’s make a pledge together, shall we? Let’s pledge to kill this monster known as Imposter Syndrome once and for all because we have all done incredible things worthy of praise and we shouldn’t let anything take that away from us!
There are a few different types of Imposter Syndrome so it’s best to figure out what kind you are first, as that may change how you go about addressing the problem. The way this psychological phenomenon presents itself may vary based on a person’s background, personality, or even their life circumstances. The different types are:
For people like me with this kind of Imposter Syndrome, the best advice I can find (as in, it sounds like things I can do) are to learn to take my mistakes in stride and view it as part of the learning process instead of a sign that I’m a failure. Additionally, I should try and force myself to act before “I’m ready” because believing there is a perfect time for anything is just erroneous. Things will never be 100% flawless and accepting that means I can move forward with my work. Additionally, I need to realize there is no shame in asking for help. Also, sharing what I know with others not only helps them, but will help me heal from my fraudulent feelings.
There are a lot of resources out there you can find by just Googling Imposter Syndrome. I’ll link a few here but if you aren’t finding something in my blog that works perfectly for you, that’s fine! There are tons of other resources out there. I mainly want you to know that you aren’t alone. You earned this. You deserve this. You got this.
And, if you’re like me, and need a little help along the way, remember there are resources for you, and sympathetic ears (like mine) to bend when need be. Now, on to the helpful links as promised!