Do you believe you’re not enough for those around you?
Do you feel like a fake and fear being caught out?
Do you downplay anything you’ve worked hard for and believe it was only luck?
Do you feel like you don’t deserve the things you have?
Do you fear judgement, so you don’t try at all to avoid it?
Do you stress that you’re not going to live up to others expectations or worse your own?
I can personally put my hand up to all of these things (especially the last two!) and apparently I’m not alone with 70% of people also experiencing these feelings which is known as imposter syndrome.
So, what is imposter syndrome? Basically, this syndrome is a name for chronic self-doubt, continuous insecurities, and feelings of inadequacy… or what I like to call the voice of the inner mean girl. And apparently these feelings don’t discriminate, they can affect everybody and anybody, surprisingly even high achievers like Maya Angelou who was a damn incredible women… acclaimed American poet, storyteller, activist, autobiographer… just to name a few.
“I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out” – Maya Angelou
When I first heard about imposter syndrome, I buried my head in the sand a little deeper and didn’t want to admit that these feelings of insecurity are something I feel on a regular basis (I mean like every day!) … but after starting my dream *insert Kind Cards* these feelings that I’m not enough, that I’m going to stuff this up and be a huge embarrassment to everyone grew super loud that it became hard to ignore the mean girl voices in my head.
So instead of rationally dealing with Regina (aka mean girl voice in my head) I decided to do nothing for about 3 months. I was so frozen in fear of not just judgement but also fear of failure that I thought it only made sense to stop trying – I mean quit while you’re ahead, right?
I turned to Netflix, an easy fix to keep me occupied and drown out Regina’s voice. When I say I watched Netflix a lot, I mean I watched it A LOT! I turned into a couch potato where the only kind of sit up I did was for the remote. I watched all 5 seasons of Gotham… a TV show I don’t even like – what else is there to do during COVID-19 lockdown!?
I was indulging in self-sabotaging thoughts and then turning to easy fixes to drown them out but my internal war with myself kept going no matter how many movies or series I watched;
“you need to follow your heart and at least try to make things work”
“it’s all going to fall apart and you’re going to make a huge embarrassment of yourself and very publicly”
“you will never be happy unless you know you gave things a shot”
“you’re going to fail, so stop now!”
“you were born to do more than sit on the couch!”
“you’re a failure, quit while you’re ahead”
Even now reading my thoughts in black and white gives me emotional whiplash with the back and forth, and ups and downs my thinking has done to my self-esteem. It seems super obvious (now) that I shouldn’t have listened to my mean girl voice and just told her to shut it, but funny thing about emotions, they’re not very logical!
I honestly can’t say my mean girl voice has been hit by a bus and completely gone away forever, but I can say that I’m getting better at ignoring her, at not listening to all the self-doubt that creeps back when she decides to talk. I’m still learning to believe in myself, my abilities and be confident in what I can do and achieve. I’ve decided all I can do is try my best and not limit myself because of opinions of others including Regina’s.
I wrote this blog to share this chapter of my story (and admit I don’t have all the answers but am trying), and to bring some awareness about Imposter Syndrome and the icky feelings of not being enough to try and help others who have an inner mean girl voice like Regina.
“Raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimised by Regina George?”