The teacher diaries- Imposter Syndrome- Are you an imposter in your own life?

I became acquainted with the term ‘Imposter Syndrome’ recently. It made the jigsaw puzzle of my underconfidence fit together perfectly. On the outside, I seem like a driven, passionate individual taking on the world.

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Although on the inside, I felt like a fraud for many years. I wondered why so many opportunities came my way. I questioned whether I succeeded because I got lucky. As a result, I waited for the unavoidable moment of failure.

Looking back, I probably had some degree of high functioning anxiety too. I thrived in situations where I had to deliver results quickly and efficiently. I relished taking on new challenges and proving myself again and again. However, the journey to success was lined with an underbelly of light anxiety to a healthy dollop of self-doubt. The victories were many, but the journeys were full of hard work to prove that I was worth it.

The minute I learned about Imposter Syndrome a few years ago, I understood I had it. I had felt it all my life, wondering why I was placed in the situations I was in, always wondering when people would question their decision to back me up. I wondered whether God had just blessed me, and it would all be gone in the blink of an eye since I didn’t really deserve it.

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Once I identified the reasons behind my under-confidence, I realized I needed to give myself some credit. My dad was my role model, he taught me to work hard, and I imbibed those values. I began to realise that my work ethic was the reason for my success rather than sheer luck. 

However, it all came crashing down again a week ago when a colleague jokingly insinuated that I had received all the opportunities I had because of favouritism. It brought back all the instincts I had tried to fight the last few years.

I once again felt like an imposter, wondering whether she was right. It takes only a spark to light a flame of doubt that sets everything you stand for ablaze.

After my panic levels rose to my throat and choked me for the entire day, I had to take a deep breath to center myself again. Even after all these years, shadows lurked over my shoulder, telling me I wasn’t good enough. 

I looked back and scrutinised every event I had been a part of.

I examined why I had gotten a specific role and what I had done to bring myself success. But that’s when I realised, I didn’t have to.

I work my butt off to ensure that I enjoy what I do and do it to the best of my ability. The reasons why people trusted me were not my problem. What mattered was my level of dedication and expertise.

I did not doubt that I was one of the most hard-working people I know, and I have always done justice to what I was given. I am no imposter. 

I’ll probably always have shadows telling me I’m not worthy. But I’m learning to fight my demons, and every success brings me closer to realising my self-worth. No one else’s opinion matters and my own negative opinions of myself don’t matter either. 

It’s important to live life to the fullest, to live up to your potential. The greatest gift you can give yourself is to trust in your intentions and actions fully.

No one is perfect, and the journey toward success is paved with failures. But, that’s the only way you know that success is worth it; it never comes easy!

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