I recall being about eighteen or nineteen years old and taking note of what I thought to be was the first time someone showed romantic interest in me. I dubiously proceeded to engage and thought to myself, “this must be a prank of some sort”. Recalling memories of middle or high school where the boys were deliberately harsh and belittling to their female classmates. Bullying them, pranking them, criticizing their features. After all, this was someone I went to school with in the past. We had no prior history but my mind couldn’t get past the possibility of this being some sick prank reminiscent of my grade school days. “How could he or anyone for that matter possibly be interested in me? What is so appealing about me?”. Insecurity was a theme here and in more recent years I’ve been identifying these patterns of thoughts using a broader psychological term, “Imposter Syndrome”. Imposter Syndrome is clinically defined as “a pervasive feeling of self-doubt, insecurity, or fraudulence despite often overwhelming evidence to the contrary”. It also can appear in our relationships through feeling as if we are not “good enough” for our significant others or friends or that one day, just maybe they will discover who “we truly are” and abandon us. Imposter Syndrome has been a theme in my life. Appearing in romantic relationships, jobs, and even friendships. It hasn’t been until recent years that I consciously chose to fight it. To honor who I am, my efforts, and my accomplishments. I am discovering how to accept that anything that I have obtained, attracted, or achieved is not merely a result of “luck” and rather acknowledging that I have earned these things through putting in the work and oftentimes, through simply being myself. I recall a conversation that took place with my supervisor at my previous job within my first or second year of employment there, in which she stated that she could see me as a supervisor. I thought to myself, “Girl, please”. Why the hell would she ever trust me with that position? Fast forward to a few years after and she did indeed make me one. Even then, I found ways to convince myself that I wasn’t a “real supervisor”. “You have one supervisee and you just got here. You ain’t no damn supervisor.” However, I had to get out of my head and accept these two simple truths:
If it happened, it happened. The reality was I DID earn that title whether I felt I was deserving of it or not. We can’t erase or deny anything that simply is. Nor can anyone rewrite history and take an accomplishment away from you. I was promoted to that position. It was documented on paper, on a job offer that I signed off on and this is something that is forever noted on my professional resume.
If there's a history of multiple people saying something about you (good or bad), chances are it's probably true. If it's bad, it's our sole responsibility to make the corrections. After all, self-improvement is a lifelong journey. We're all flawed and we each have unique life experiences that contribute to said flaws. The mystical stork that dropped us on our heads at our parents’ doorsteps obviously forgot the “How to Do Life: You’re Going to Need This Shit” booklet. God willing, she includes it for the next generation but I digress. If multiple people are saying good things about you, you better accept and honor those things about yourself.
This instance where my boss communicated her desires for me was not the first time that I had an employer say this about me or push for me to move up. I was fortunate enough to have four direct supervisors in my professional journey who truly believed in my potential to the point where they were critical and transparent in pointing out my weaknesses so that I can correct them and get to where I needed to be. The reality was that individuals saw traits in me that I couldn't see in myself. This inability to see yourself as you are can become detrimental and ultimately lead to a life of stagnancy and regrets if not addressed. The only person stopping me was me. Correction, I'm going to have to place the blame on this backstabbing imposter. Screw her.
Imposter Syndrome is something that many of us have or currently experience. Oftentimes, we just didn’t have a name to place to it. My personal belief is that every individual has characteristics that can be considered strengths or gifts. While yes some individuals are labeled as exceptional and that is because they have talents that make way for them to stand out amongst the crowd, we all have at least one thing that we are good at and it’s perfectly okay to hone into that gift boldly and unapologetically. My friend, transformational speaker, and mindset coach, Empress Livewire often speaks to this. She preaches the importance of embracing these gifts or superpowers. “Activate your superpower,” she says. Meaning that you have these superpowers for a reason and they are meant to be shared with the world. They are sincerely gifts that are meant to be used and you are worthy of all of the lovely things that come with acknowledging your superpowers. Tell that imposter within to exit stage left. ReplyForward