Why is it that we second-guess ourselves so much?
(I know I am not the only one!)
It seems like no matter what self-work I do, I still find myself coming back to this place (not as often lately, but I do).
Maybe I’m wired this way, with the need to prove something? (Not to others, but to myself.)
I realize now that no matter how much I “accomplish” or the goals I achieve, I still second-guess myself; I struggle to feel fulfilled. It’s one thing to be ambitious and to have big dreams, but always looking for the “next thing” is exhausting.
This past week, I stumbled upon a podcast on the topic of “Imposter Syndrome” on my drive into work. I had heard of it before, but this time, it just struck a chord in me.
“Imposter syndrome is loosely defined as doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud. It disproportionately affects high-achieving people, who find it difficult to accept their accomplishments. Many question whether they’re deserving of accolades and become accustomed to the feeling of unworthiness—that somehow we are not good enough. Invisible. Like, no matter what we do, we feel like we’re not good enough.”
So this is a thing…an actual thing! Clinical psychologist Pauline Clance actually created a test to identify it.
I’m sure there are therapies for it (I’m not a clinician) but just hearing about it gave me an odd sense of peace that I’m not alone in this.
As for the syndrome, I wouldn’t exactly describe myself as “high-achieving.” Though, I was the first person in my family to go to college, raised three beautiful humans, have a stable career, and a great partner. I am not saying all that to boast because, trust me, it hasn’t all been glamorous. But there’s a lot I don’t give myself credit for.
I think sometimes we have to pause (the pandemic did this for me) and slow down long enough to look back on everything we have survived (that alone is an amazing feat) and built thus far.
Lately, I have taken time to do that, to look back on my life (sometimes it doesn’t feel like mine) and revisit the highs and the lows. Just to see how far I’ve come. (Pictures help because I forget.)
Maybe the problem is we’re so comfortable feeling unworthy that we find ourselves settling into relationships and spaces that we’ve outgrown or are unfulfilling.
Maybe it stems from my skin color or being raised in a family where praises weren’t given out like candy. Who really knows? But, regardless, I (we all) have to start with acknowledging ourselves.
Maybe it’s about time we give ourselves as much credit and grace as we give others.
We all want to feel seen and heard. Sometimes, it starts in the mirror.