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Wellness > Mental Health

How I Deal with Imposter Syndrome as a Woman in a Man’s World

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

I don’t deserve this. 

Any minute now, they’re going to see me and realize that I don’t belong here. That I’m not what they expected. That I’m a faker. That I’m not good enough. 

I’m not good enough. 

These are just a few snippets of my internal monologue when my imposter syndrome sets in.

I’ve grown up my entire life acting. I’ve been in so many shows. I’ve gotten the lead role. I’ve received standing ovations, and I’ve even gotten hired for my acting ability. I know that my talents in abilities have led me to success in the past. On the other hand, my brain is telling me that something’s wrong. I only got the parts because I got along with the director. Because I was the right height. Because, because, because. My brain is constantly making excuses for why I achieve the things that I do. 

My head won’t leave me alone. And it hurts. How is anyone supposed to believe in me when I can’t even believe in myself? One of the biggest things that I’ve had to realize is that my brain is not working against me. It simply is a product of society and, specifically, society’s view on women. Research suggests that 62 percent of women “have rarely experienced true confidence.” At that point, who can blame us for that statistic? 

Society is constantly failing women, and with as many steps as it takes forward, women are always one step back. We are just another pretty face. We are there for our looks, not for our ideas. We must be wearing makeup for them to even listen to us. And even when they hear us, they aren’t listening. You’re so cute for trying to help, but let’s leave that to the men. Not only are our accomplishments not truly ours, but our feelings are also invalid. We’re not angry, we’re just PMSing. Come on, pretty lady, just give us a smile. 

Professionally, socially, whatever situation it is, women are constantly being belittled and infantilized — to the point where we don’t even know what we’re worth. We begin to cooperate with systems that actively work against us. We begin to wear the makeup because at least, then, they’re looking at us. At least, then, we’re something.

But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Glossed lips or not, we, as women, bring so much to the table. We have so much to offer the world. And if the world can’t turn around and accept it, we’ll just have to make them see. 

When I got Alice in the play Alice in Wonderland, I couldn’t shake the imposter syndrome. I met with my director almost every day to tell him that he made a mistake. That I couldn’t do it. That I wasn’t good enough. What he said to me has stuck with me ever since: “Stand right here and look at yourself. And tell me, with 100 percent certainty, that she does not deserve this.” I looked into her eyes, my own eyes, and I couldn’t do it. Who was I to be like every other member of society and tell myself I couldn’t perform? I needed someone to believe that I could do it. And God help me if I wasn’t going to be that person.

Imposter syndrome is a hard thing to combat. It’s hard because we’re already clawing tooth and nail for a place in this world. But once we get it, we have to fight against our own minds. The same minds that come up with brilliant ideas can also be our biggest critics.

When we look at ourselves, we must realize that the person looking back just needs someone to lean on, to encourage them. So, believe in yourself. You deserve this!

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Mikaela Georgi is a freshman at FSU. She is an editor for Her Campus. Currently, she is seeking a BA in Theatre with a double major in English. Though this is her first year working with Her Campus, she loves the newspaper. She had a satire column that gave dating advice. She was also the Copy Editor, and she ensured that each article was up to the newspaper’s standards. When she’s not writing an article, you can most likely find her on a stage somewhere or fueling her caffeine addiction: two activities she deems equal in importance. She loves acting, directing, and playwriting. She’s also made it a goal to find all the best parks and greenery for reading YA romance in Tallahassee. It’s going well so far. She’s determined to make every song she loves a karaoke song, and right now she's probably petting a cat somewhere.