Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
Last year I walked into a panel session on imposter syndrome. I sat down excited to hear the women speak. One of the women held a doctorate, the other was well-traveled and the other was an expert on this topic. I had not heard much about imposter syndrome, but I immediately thought, I could never speak on that, I am unqualified, and these women are much smarter than me. Little did I know a year later I would be speaking on imposter syndrome to a group of women, which happens to be you. God sure does have a sense of humor and there is absolutely nothing that stops His will, for your life.
I thought back on that moment as I was preparing for today, the day I walked into that panel session I brought with me self-doubt, not feeling equipped and most of all not feeling enough. You see the issue was that "I believed in empowerment, but I did not believe that I could be empowered". It was not until recently that I realized that I was dealing with imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. It goes on to say that Imposters suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence.
Despite the many ups and downs and hardships, I had to overcome I have always thought of myself as lucky or hashtag blessed. I thought that I had somehow gained “all the things” because of my appearance or that I was “in the right place at the right time” I recognized that my motherhood, marriage, and growth was because of all of the hard work I’d put in but none of it made sense because of my past. How did my life end up like this with a past that suggested otherwise?
What would happen if people knew that my motherhood was not perfect, that I did not love my husband intentionally sometimes, and that I was secretly insecure about things that did not even matter. I was afraid of being exposed as a fraud and someone would figure out that I did not know what I was doing. At the beginning of my marriage, I struggled the most with feeling enough. I somehow, get it “somehow” ended up with a man who was a believer, well educated, witty, and FINE! I could not figure out why he chose me, I didn’t think that I could bring anything to the table. In fact, at the time there a well-to-do lawyer pursuing him as well, and well I was a junior in college. I walked through that season feeling unworthy, not enough, and underserving.
I carried external evidence that indicated I knew what I was doing but I did not believe that I knew what I was doing. These lies matriculated over into my friendships, relationships, and motherhood. Instagram vs Reality is a whole topic within itself.
Women, Women of Color, and especially black women experience systematic oppression or are directly or indirectly told all our who lives that we are less than or undeserving of success and we begin to achieve things in a way that goes against a long-standing narrative…. This is how imposter syndrome occurs. As women, if we doubt ourselves even when we are doing all the right things, you will feel like an imposter, no matter what.
I read something recently that stuck out to me and I want to leave it with you. Ps, I tweaked it a little.
It’s not your job to convince other people you are worthy or important or successful. If you are "creative" a lot of times people will treat you like your job is a hobby and then follow up with “Well, what does your husband do?” or something similar; if you are like me, it probably drives you crazy because they belittled what you have built but at the same time, we know what we have created and if they don’t find worth in it or don’t understand it, it’s totally on them and not a reflection of what you’ve created. Everyone feels like a fraud. Like an imposter in their own world. It shows up in different ways and at different times, but it’s deeply rooted in the fact that we’re achievement-oriented, and we’re out here chasing our biggest dreams. With that comes fear and uncertainty. Don’t let it stop you before you even begin.
Again, don't let it stop you before you even begin.
Quote Credit: https://jennakutcherblog.com/impostersyndrome/