You know that moment when you achieve something and in the middle of the applause and pat on the shoulder of congratulations, you have this voice in the back of your mind whispering thoughts of doubt as to whether you even deserve the applause? You know those thoughts that keep bubbling up, having you wonder whether you are worthy of an applause, never mind congratulations? You know those thoughts you have that have you wonder how you attained your job, never mind the position? The thoughts that challenge you into wondering whether someone else is not better suited to be in your current position. You know those thoughts that make you feel unworthy of your accomplishments, the ones that downplay the significance of what you have achieved and the thoughts that have you unable to take a compliment, without wanting to shift the credit to someone else? You know those thoughts that have you believing you are a faux and that it is just a matter of time before someone figures out that you are not as great as everyone says? The thoughts that ponder negative words and criticism you have received, and you start to wonder, maybe they are right in saying I don’t deserve it?
Those thoughts come from a syndrome called imposter syndrome.
The word imposter is defined in the oxford dictionary as a person who pretends to be someone else in order to deceive others. It further goes on to describe imposter syndrome as the feeling that your achievements are not real or that you do not deserve praise or success.
Many times, we deal with imposter syndrome and never truly know what to deem it or how to label it, all we know is that much of the time you feel unworthy. It is often simplified and labeled self-doubt or insecurity, which although it plays a role in how the feelings come about, it helps a great deal to understand the syndrome to curb it and overcome it. The best way to silence the voices in one’s mind that plant seeds of self-doubt are to be vocal in affirming the opposite of what the voice says. This allows you to take apart the facts from the emotionally charged doubt. You can affirm your reality by either speaking to someone you trust or writing in a journal so that you can work through the tangled thoughts. Allow yourself to dwell into the reasons as to why you deserve your accolades, your achievements and your position. Although it may seem meagre and not worth the time as it can come across as self-pity or be misconstrued as attention-seeking, ensuring you work though the imposter syndrome is crucial because it has the potential to cripple you and have you unable to move past a certain juncture.
Besides, when you feel pressured to be a specific way, whether it be pressure to accomplish or take the lead and have all the answers, allow yourself room to be what you please. In the journey of life, you cannot be everything for everyone, what is important is who you want to be, based on your ambitions and life satisfaction. Operate in what you deem probable in your current space and not hold yourself to the opinion and standards of everyone around you. That unspoken pressure can be anti-progressive.
Unshackle yourself from unrealistic expectations from both yourself and the world. Take back your power and walk a journey that is fulfilling, where peace is at the epicenter. You will be okay, you always are in the end.
*Mavis Braga Elias is a Civil Engineer by qualification and a Marketing Officer by profession. A philanthropist of heart and founder of the EM Love Foundation. She won the Vivid Philanthropist award in 2015 and the Queens Leaders Awards 2018. Catch up with Mavis:
* Twitter – @maviselias; Instagram – @maviselias; Facebook – fb.me/mavis.braga