This is the day and age of labeling everything with a snazzy new name. And the human condition does not escape this tendency either. So I was so curious when I heard about the Imposter Syndrome. Imposter Syndrome is defined as: a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. I call this part of life. We all have doubts and fears about our abilities, so why is there suddenly a psychological pattern? And where do you think the saying “fake it till you make it” comes from?
Here is a news flash: None of us actually know what we are doing. We are all just trying to figure out life. Do we really need a condition that most of us would fall into? trust me, that person that looks like that they have it all figured out…they don’t. They may have some, or even most if life figured out, but trust me, they don’t have it all together all of the time.
All of us, no matter how together or secure, are unsure of ourselves and what we can and cannot do. All of us are new to something at some point and have absolutely no idea what we are doing. All of us have a first day, many times in a lifetime. That is part of life, it’s part of growing and learning. Is it uncomfortable? Yes. But it is how we grow. The saying is that we shod do one thing every day that scares us. Why is that? Because we aren’t supposed to know everything.
Why, if this is part of the human experience, is it labeled as bad? Where it is written, and why are we taught to expect that we should feel comfortable and knowledgeable in all topics and parts of our life?
That is what puberty is all about – being awkward and trying to figure out who and what you are. And the thing is…that is just the start of it. How boring life would be if we already knew enough to always felt comfortable and confident on our abilities. Why would we want to sanitize life to the point where we never felt normal human emotions just because they aren’t the happy ones? We have been programmed to believe that confusion, fear, insecurity are all bad. But maybe they are not. Maybe we can use these feelings to not only help us understand ourselves better, but also each other.
Being unsure and a bit uncomfortable also gives us the opportunity to develop. Things of the first time you try to play an instrument. It probably sounded terrible. But often a lot of practice and hard work, you made it through your first recital. And, slowly, eventually, you came more and more comfortable. Until you felt proud of the progress you had made. And maybe now you are a master. That is the precipice of hard work and perseverance. And how sad life would be if we were stripped of that opportunity. Think of the pride of working hard to master a skill or knowledge set?
So embrace that you don’t know. Embrace that you have doubts. Embrace the beautiful mess that you are. Because we are all a mess in our own ways. We are all doing the best that we can, and we are all sometimes unsure of our footing. Don’t shut down when you feel fear or anxiety or insecurity, instead use them as motivation.
Life is short. Don’t worry if you don’t know. Just do the best that you can and let the chips fall where they may. If someone thinks you are an imposter, that’s their problem, not yours. And what they think of you is none of you business.