To the Girl Who Never Thinks She's Enough

It was my senior year of high school, and I was asked to perform a solo flute piece at the spring band concert. I refused multiple times before finally agreeing to do it, and from that moment on all I could think was “I don’t deserve this.” I started worrying that everyone would think I’m a diva, and I thought they were saying I wasn’t even that good at flute behind my back. Up until the moment I finished my performance, I heard the phrase “I’m not good enough” over and over in my head.

A few months later, I was about to head off to college. My church choir director asked me to intern with the music department for the year. He told me I would work with the choirs. My immediate thought was that I’m not a good singer at all, so why would he ask me? I told him I would do it, but ever since that day I’ve been leaving church feeling like I didn’t contribute enough. 

I’ve shared these feelings with other girls and they have all admitted to feeling the same way at some point in their lives. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why is it that whenever we make something amazing happen in our lives, we think we don’t deserve it? 

I believe part of the answer to this question is that most women feel like they aren’t allowed to take up space, so when they achieve something great, they downplay it as much as possible. This leads them to believe that what they’re doing isn’t important, and that they aren’t smart enough or talented enough to do anything on their own. This feeling is so common that it has its own name: imposter syndrome. If you experience imposter syndrome, you feel like everyone thinks you’re someone you’re not. You think you’re acting as an imposter in your own life; the real you isn’t as smart, funny, pretty, and capable as everyone says you are. You think that everyone is wrong about you and that’s the only reason you got the job or were voted president of your favorite club. 

If you have ever felt this way, I am here to tell you that you are not alone, and that those negative voices in your head are wrong. Your genuine self shines through more than you think it does, and it’s your genuine self that people love. You are not an imposter. You are enough as you are. Since I struggle with this so much, I came up with a few coping mechanisms. I haven’t completely convinced myself that I’m worthy of everything I have, but taking these steps has definitely lessened the hold imposter syndrome has on my life. 

  1. Keep a journal

I just started writing in a journal, and it helps way more than I thought it would. Getting all my negative thoughts on paper forces me to think about how irrational they are. It doesn’t have to be a pretty journal, and you don’t have to write anything coherent. I usually just write down my thoughts for 5 minutes before I go to bed. Don’t talk yourself out of journaling just because all the journals you see online are perfect bullet journals with mood charts and drawings of flowers.

    2.   Surround yourself with supportive, loving people

This is key. As a freshman in college, I can get really lonely. Luckily I have an incredible support system of friends that both affirm me and call me out when I get down on myself. None of them go to Belmont, but they are still in my corner no matter what. Find at least one person that will hold you accountable for staying grounded and that will remind you how incredible and worthy you are.

    3. Praise yourself when you do something awesome

I’m the type of person who puts too much emphasis on my mistakes, and I barely notice my successes. If you’re like me, start to make a bigger deal about the things you do right, no matter how small. If you have an interaction with your crush that doesn’t make you want to crawl into a hole afterwards, celebrate that. If you make an A on a quiz, display it on your fridge. It sounds silly, but after you force yourself to notice your triumphs for a while, you will begin to understand that you are capable of anything, and that nobody made a mistake by choosing you for a certain task.

Following these three steps won't solve all your problems, but I hope they help you realize your worth. Everyone is different, so remember to do anything you feel like you need to do in order to feel valuable. Never forget that you are capable, you are worthy, and you are enough. 

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