“I was texting one of my friends, and we were talking about our future plans and what we will be doing with ourselves the next few months. I texted this friend of mine how all of my plans are making me feel like I have major imposter syndrome. My friend’s response was, ‘I wonder if mine will ever go away.’ This really got me thinking.
What IS ‘imposter syndrome,’ you ask? To me, it’s psychological. It’s that ability we have to talk down to ourselves and our accomplishments. We refuse to validate our own accomplishments, because we feel like people will discover we aren’t always the person we appear to be. OR, we ourselves discover we aren’t where we want to be in life. We don’t necessarily TRY to do this, but in reality, we still find a way to let in those nagging thoughts that we aren’t ‘good enough.’ We continually question our own abilities. Will we ever fulfill our life dreams, or will this constant imposter syndrome ruin ourselves from experiencing greatness with what we are offered?
And, my friend brings up such a good point. ‘I wonder if mine will ever go away.’ I wonder the exact same thing.
I myself am somebody who has experienced a lot of amazing experiences. I have crossed A LOT of of my life bucket list. I feel extremely fortunate I have gone through what I have to get to where I am. I am incredibly blessed with the best support system possible. I am fortunate in the way I have had ample opportunities in life to grow and learn about myself. It’s all so weird, though, because no matter how satisfied I am with my life, I always think about, ‘What if I did this differently?’ Or, ‘Is this REALLY what I want?’
Imposter syndrome always seems to be something I find makes me hesitant to fully enjoy what opportunity I do have. For instance, I went to Bowling Green State University for graduate school. It wasn’t my first choice. I didn’t get accepted into my first choice. I told myself over and over I wouldn’t be cut out for this. What if I got into my number one school? I wouldn’t have to be moving 8 hours from home, making this WAY harder than it needs to be. It took me at LEAST two full semesters being in Bowling Green to fully enjoy it because I was SO fixated on wishing it were easier. And to me, that makes me sad. I am incredibly lucky to have walked out of Bowling Green with some of the best friends I’ve had in my entire life, because I learned to enjoy the moment. Sure, it took me longer than I wish it did, but the important thing is I realized it.
Same is going now with where I am. I never pictured myself staying near where I grew up. All through my six years of college, I thought I wasn’t going to be fulfilled staying somewhere I was familiar with for a career. But, given my circumstances, that was where my first job opportunity happened, and I have not looked back. I have met some incredible people and coworkers I plan to keep in life for as long as I live.
Maybe imposter syndrome isn’t the worst thing in the world. Maybe it helps us not take life for granted as much. But, at the same time, it can ruin experiences and how we feel about ourselves. It’s one of those double edged swords. If our life is TOO good, we tell ourselves something bad is bound to happen. If our life is lacking, we wish for better. Some days, I’m grateful for it, and some days I wish I would stop being so obsessed with telling myself I’m not good enough, or it won’t work out the way I want it to. Which is why I am here writing.
I’ve found the best, most simple way to ease imposter syndrome, is to be positive. Sounds silly, right? But reframing your mindset into a positive way makes ALL the difference. Instead of wishing for better, tell yourself, ‘You are MORE than good enough to enjoy the life you do have. There are so many beautiful reasons to be happy.’ You are perfectly capable of working with the opportunities you do have, to help you get to where you want to be.
I’ve also come to notice our life dreams change with time. Life dreams change with experience. Give every opportunity you are given in life a fighting chance. Going to Bowling Green completely changed my outlook on leaving Wisconsin. Working in my home area of the state turned out a hell of a lot better than I ever thought it would. In fact, it was likely the best career decision I’ll ever make. The most important thing in life, is to make sure you are happy. You, yourself, are happy with what you have in that moment. And if you aren’t, instead of beating yourself up for ‘not having what you wanted,’ think about what you DO have. Think about where those ‘almosts’ in life, actually got you. Make it positive. Life is too short to constantly dwell.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jenni Rathsack. It originally appeared on her blog. You can follow Jenni on Facebook and Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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