Fighting 'Impostor Syndrome'

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Wow, it's been quite a while since I last did a post on here. I've been battling with myself over where I see this blog heading in the future - the types of posts I want to write, how regularly I want to publish, heck even the aesthetic of the site itself. Then time just went on and on and on, and it hit me that the longer I went without posting, the less I felt like I was "allowed" to post, like if I am not posting regularly then what is the point of it all anyway? I'm not kidding myself, I don't have the biggest of followings on here (I'm no Zoella!) but there are the whee group of you who always come back and read what I have to say - goodness knows why!

The more I sat here thinking about where this site was heading to in the future, the more it dawned on me that my little friend 'imposter syndrome' was paying a visit yet again. And I guess that's what I want to talk about today.

Impostor Syndrome

Imposter Syndrome tends to go hand-in-hand with anxiety and depression (ahh, the golden duo) as it manifests itself into our minds; filling our thoughts with fear and doubts over our successes, often making an appearance when we're trying something new or receiving praise for something we've achieved.

Despite the name, Imposter Syndrome isn't technically a mental disorder or illness apparently because it's so broad and widespread. However, in saying that, if you are having worrying thoughts or feelings that just wont go away, it is okay (and encouraged) to see a doctor, a counsellor, therapist or other professional to talk about it.

Impostor Syndrome and me

When I feel like I have Imposter Syndrome, I feel pretty much exactly how it's described - I feel like I have cheated my way into success, or that I shouldn't be allowed to be doing what I'm doing because there's so many other people who are better than me, or that the only reason why I am where I am is because of a fluke or some kind of mistake.

Imposter Syndrome shows up when I am working on something challenging or am competing for something exciting. My experiences with Imposter Syndrome have been when I put my hands up for something new (I don't have a lot of experience, I am not qualified, why would they want me), when I'm trying to do something I don't know how to do (someone else should do this, [x person] would be way better at this than me, if I can't get this right the first time why should I bother), or when I have the slightest disagreement with someone close to me (why do they stick around, they're just going to up and leave me, they're better off without me).

Recently these Imposter-y thoughts have come in with me starting my new job, trying to figure out how I want my blog to be (see above where I compared myself to Zoella, a highly recognised blogger completely different to who I am and where I want to be), and often when I have disagreements with my friends/boyfriend/family.

As you can probably expect, when I feel the Imposter Syndrome thoughts coming on it can be quite hard to cut them off before it turns itself into depressive thoughts.

How I fight Impostor Syndrome

Often, to try to stop feeling like an 'impostor' we over prepare (to the point where it isn't needed and is just too much) or we procrastinate until the last minute and exhaust ourselves playing catch up - to prove to ourselves that "the only reason why we succeeded is because anyone could have succeeded with that amount of preparation", or "the only reason why we failed is because we aren't capable of doing it".

The thing is, feelings aren't facts, just because we think we can't do something, it doesn't mean we actually can't - these thoughts may seem the be all and end all but really they couldn't be further from the truth.

It can be incredibly hard but one of the ways that I've found to help fight Imposter Syndrome is to try to change my perspective on the situation - not completely to convince myself everything is fine, because that's often not possible to do in these situations - instead I think "maybe others could do this better than me, but I am here now and I will try my best anyway" and "there's no way anyone could juggle a hundred tasks like I am trying to, I should prioritise or delegate so I can get done what needs to get done" and "I may not know how to do this but it doesn't necessarily mean I can't, I can learn and try and see what I can do". Unfortunately there's no one-stop-shop for fighting Imposter Syndrome but I try my darnedest.


Do you feel like you suffer from Impostor Syndrome? What do you do when you have these feelings and thoughts?

- Louise x

PS. a few years ago I wrote a post about "post creative blues" where I talked about the lows of feeling uncreative once finishing a big task or on a break between tasks - check it out!

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