The Reality of Dealing With Imposter Syndrome

When you begin college for the first time, a number of emotions will circulate through your mind. People will tell you about all the great times they had in college and all the friends they made who turned into lifelong friends. However, when I took the college world by storm and started to join clubs and enter a new major in my junior year, I realized that everything I knew about my newfound success was just me trying to keep up with the successes of my friends and the people I surrounded myself with every day A's I was thinking this way, I knew something needed to be done.

These two simple words, imposter syndrome, hold more power over people than they would like to accept. I was left with having trouble being confident in myself when it came to my evident success as I brought up my GPA, made new friends in a new residential area, and continued my passion for writing (one I finally nudged myself to pursue). I identified myself as the ‘perfectionist’ and the ‘overly hard worker’ to justify my successes and to battle my negative thoughts of ‘being a fraud.’

Here’s what they don’t tell you in school and beyond: Imposter syndrome could affect anyone and feel inadequate or like a ‘fraud' despite personal success could arise and affect your perception of your accomplishments. If you find yourself feeling this way and need a sign to break out of this poor habit, this is your sign to take back control of your life and own what you have to offer the world.

Woman wearing black long sleeved shirt sitting in green grass field near mountains under cloudy sky

  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Yes, creating a list or board is one of the best ways to keep track of your strengths and weaknesses. Think of all the things that your employers said qualified you for the job, or think back to the criticism you gained from your actions at work, home, school, and so on. Seeing this list in physical form will reassure your future self of all the things you were, and who and what you can be. We must face what our strengths and weaknesses are to truly understand them to the point of acceptance and more importantly: improvement.

  • Catch yourself in the act of self-doubt.

Hello, it’s reality check here just letting you know that you’re doing it again and it’s not helping you!

I often find myself doing this when I feel my thoughts are suddenly taking over. When I’m anxious about work deadlines or feeling emotional, I think to myself this is what others must be perceiving me as! Guess what? Chances are everyone else is having a conversation with themselves in their own minds as well and are worried about themselves firsthand. So, try to give yourself a little reality check whenever you remember and be mindful that you need to give yourself a break. 

  • Surround yourself with a network of people who care.

Ultimately, it is up to you to surround yourself with the right people in your life who will uplift you but will also be honest with you. Surrounding yourself with people and avoiding isolation will make understanding your strengths and weaknesses hopefully much easier as your habits tend to normalize within the groups you associate with.

The way to the cabin

To be quite honest, I do not know who or what exactly I would like to be someday (does anyone really know?). I am finding that comparing myself to others is possible, but an impossible way to enjoy life. Nowadays, I measure my success by the way I treat people and nature with kindness (the things we need more of in life), accomplishing the little things (like writing this article for all of you), and reminding myself that I control my life. It's up to me, as well as you, to foster and accept our individual purposes in the world — one failure and one success at a time.

All images courtesy of the Her Campus Media Library.