Love, Health

No matter how much I tried, I felt like a fraud – until I stopped letting fear control me

What if they’re secretly thinking of what a loser you are?

I know who I am and my worth, but sometimes I get the feeling like I’m not being myself, that I don’t know what I’m doing, and that I’m going to get caught in the act – everyone’s going to figure out that I’m a fraud. To summarize it, impostor syndrome is a bitch and it tries its best to ruin my life on a daily basis. Impostor syndrome will make me feel like a total fraud and failure even if I’m at the peak of success

I can be in the middle of a super important presentation in front of my class, killing it, absolutely confident about what I’m doing and then suddenly, the dread hits me. I think, “What if they’re secretly thinking of what a loser you are?” or “What if they’re aware of the fact that you’re a total fraud?” and “They know you’re fake. Stop fooling yourself.”

Everything comes crashing down in that moment. I continue with the presentation, but my confidence level is lower than before. I wrap it up and I get a good grade but I know I didn’t give my best.  And you know why I didn’t give my best? Not because anyone was threatening to expose me. But because I was so consumed by fear.

I was threatening to expose myself. Click To Tweet

I was always interested in debating but I never took it up formally in school or college because of the fear inside that is impostor syndrome. I have missed out on so many opportunities for public speaking all due to impostor syndrome. For the longest time, I was scared of performing my poetry in front of an audience and despite my interest and fascination for slam poetry, I never participated in an event.

I have missed out on so many opportunities for public speaking all due to impostor syndrome. Click To Tweet

I’m still coming to terms with performing my slam poetry because I get this horrible feeling like I’ll freeze on stage and they’ll see through my act. I should point out, however, that there is no act here. It’s just impostor syndrome making me feel like shit and undermining my abilities.

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During my first internship, I actually found myself working way beyond my hours – all because my impostor syndrome made me feel like I was never enough.  It made me a perfectionist, made me want to unnecessarily kiss ass, and made me want to justify myself – all the time. 

Impostor syndrome is a bug that sits in my head – waiting for me to snap.  It makes me apologize for being myself and makes me feel worthless and unimportant.

My impostor syndrome stems from my feelings of self-hatred – feeling like I’m not good enough and I don’t deserve all that I get. Courtesy of impostor syndrome, I can never take a compliment – ever. Someone will tell me they appreciate my work and my first thought is, “Why?”

Followed by, “Shit. They’re gonna look through this facade.”

What’s ironic is that there is no facade because this is who I am. I am a writer and I love writing. But impostor syndrome tries to convince me that I’m not worth it.

It’s a terrible feeling to have but it’s there and I have to deal with it, nevertheless.

And I am learning to deal with it. It’s not always easy but I work at it, hard.

I have to affirm myself – constantly. I have to tell myself that I am worth it, I am important, and I deserve all the good that comes to me. I have to repeatedly tell myself that my successes aren’t just a fluke – that I truly am good at what I do.  I’ve learned that meditation helps since I also struggle with anxiety and impostor syndrome and anxiety are the siblings that work hard to wreck my mental stability.

So I meditate, practice mindfulness, and journal to calm them down.

So I meditate, practice mindfulness, and journal to calm these bugs down. Click To Tweet

I’ve also found relaxation in writing short affirmations and keeping them in my bedside drawer or my bag – just as a quick reminder to regain confidence when I feel the bugs coming on.

The key to all of my techniques for dealing with impostor syndrome is self-love. Self-love helps me compose myself, find my ground, and gather myself to battle the impostor syndrome that threatens to ruin my existence – constantly. And once I learn to love myself, I become confident and impostor syndrome can’t win.

Arushi Tandon

Arushi Tandon

Graduate in Sociology honours from the University of Delhi. Cries over Harry Potter and BTS on the daily and brainstorms about destroying systematic forms of oppression simultaneously.

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