Imposter Syndrome⁠—What Is It?

Have you ever had the feeling that you’ve been faking it? That you are secretly a fraud and don’t deserve your success? There’s a name for that and it’s imposter syndrome. 

The term imposter syndrome is something relatively new, but people have felt this way since the beginning of time; it’s human nature. Recently, pop sensation Lizzo has brought more attention to the idea, but huge celebrities like Meryl Streep, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Watson have also admitted to feeling like an imposter. I know… the goddess Meryl Streep doubting herself!? Well, it happens to the best of us. 

Hopefully hearing that such notable people feel like they don’t deserve to be where they are, will provide you with the comfort that you are not alone. If you feel like you don’t deserve your success and that everyone around you will find out you are a fraud⁠—breathe. You are exactly where you deserve to be. It wasn’t just luck that got you where you are⁠—it was skill, hard work, and YOU. The novelist, poet, and inspirational woman Maya Angelou once said, “I have written eleven books, but each time I think, 'uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’" I hope in the end she is the one who found out she deserved all eleven of those books and they earned a spot in readers’ hands. 

I’ll admit, I struggle with a bit of imposter syndrome myself. Sometimes I wonder if I am even a good writer at all. Do I really deserve you to be reading my words right now? I hope so, because I don’t plan on stopping. When I first arrived at Boston University, I was sure there had been a mistake. There was no way I was smart enough to be in the company of these amazing people. I thought I would have to prove my worth every time I spoke, but I realized if I truly didn’t deserve to be here then I wouldn’t be. I just have to continue to work hard and always try my best, because I deserve every joy and success I receive. So do you. 

It’s becoming increasingly difficult not to doubt ourselves as we are constantly shown the best bits of the lives of others on social media. That’s just the issue though, people tend to only show the good. We cannot compare ourselves to that and we shouldn’t compare ourselves to anyone, period. Everything is relative and social media is not real. 

If you are following your heart, you are not an imposter. You deserve all of your success and you are enough. Truthfully, everyone is somewhat of a fraud. We all fake it until we make it, and no one really knows what they are doing. To quote one of my favorite women, Tina Fey, “you just try to egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud. Seriously, I’ve just realized almost everyone is a fraud, so I try not to feel too bad about it.”

Own your success and more will come your way. I believe in you, and you’ve got this!

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