Does this sound familiar to you?
-> Your accomplishments are because of other people and not your hard work.
-> When you make a mistake or can't complete something on time, it is ALL your fault and not any outside factors.
-> Everyone else around you is doing so much more with many more obstacles.
-> You don't feel like you are where you are supposed to be.
Many people who experience imposter syndrome are intelligent and high-achievers. While sometimes it motivates people to work harder, it can drive others to burnout. Someone once told me, "instead of saying 'why me,' say 'why not me.'" They said if the world gives you the opportunity, you were given that opportunity for a reason, not to sit there saying this opportunity isn't for me.
Personally, this isn't easy. In the world of social media, everyone is posting about the best parts of their lives and their biggest accomplishments. At the end of each semester, my peers will post, "I made a 4.0 while working three jobs and taking 16 hours," or that they have an internship lined-up for a big company. While I'm proud of them, I can't help but think, "why couldn't I do that?" I think about how I took only 12 hours and only had one job and one organization, and I still couldn't get a 4.0. What does that say about me? It says nothing. It says nothing about my self-worth, how hard I worked, and what the circumstances were.
Other people's accomplishments do not take away from your own.
In male-dominated fields, women can feel like their accomplishments are overlooked and undermined by their male counterparts. Somehow, nearly every field is like this, including journalism and business, specifically in S.T.E.M related fields.
In S.T.E.M related fields, women accounted for 27% of workers in 2019. Not only are women less likely to enter these fields, but they are also more likely to leave these fields. With so little representation of women in these areas, it can be challenging for women to see themselves there. This is even worse for women of color, transgender women, and non-binary individuals because there is nearly zero representation for these minority groups.
What are some steps you can take to combat imposter syndrome?
(1) Fake it until you make it
Another spoiler alert! No one knows what they're doing! People show their best parts of themselves to social media and to the world. You don't know what goes through their head throughout the day and their insecurities.
(2) Separate feelings from facts
It's okay to feel dumb sometimes, but that doesn't mean you ARE dumb or that you will always feel that way.
(3) Highlight the positive
Highlighting the positive parts of life can be hard when it doesn't feel like anything is going right, and I get that. However, taking a few minutes out of the day to highlight the positive parts of life will help in the long-run.
(4) You don't have to know everything, and it's okay to ask for help
Asking for help does not make you weak. People have different strengths, and you're not going to have strengths in everything. Asking for help shows that you are willing to put your pride aside and recognize that other people might be better at the task than you might be.
(5) Recognize that other people's accomplishments do not take away from your own
I know that I mentioned this earlier in the post, but I can't stress this enough. Your accomplishments are your own, and if it appears that someone achieved more, that doesn't mean your achievements are any less valid.
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