Dealing with Imposter Syndrome
Sometimes I struggle with imposter syndrome, especially when I write.
Imposter syndrome, as defined on Wikipedia, is the psychological experience or pattern in which
an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear
of being exposed as a "fraud."
No one wants to feel like a phony. But I read what others are writing in blogs, in books, and even on Twitter and think How am I on the same road with these extraordinarily gifted people? Maybe I just snuck in from a side road and I'm not really supposed to be here. Okay, Erin, just blend in. Fake it til you make it, right? Right?!
The thing is, I know I'm not the only person who feels this way. Plenty of people, from all walks of life, have dealt with imposter syndrome. That sense of being a fraud who's surrounded by people who belong. But I try to remember, I am not alone. And neither are you.
Imposter syndrome doesn't strike all the time. It's actually somewhat infrequent. But when it does, that unwanted sensation lingers--burrowing into the mind like it plans on growing into a giant redwood and infesting my brain forever. Usually when this happens, I need to talk to people to remind myself I'm not the only person this happens to. I need to know I'm not in solitary confinement and that someone's coming to bring me the key. Sometimes, that someone is me.
So here's the breakdown of how I get out of it:
A mental break is good. I watch TV and YouTube clips, specifically of comedians I enjoy and sometimes of cute animals. The serotonin definitely gives me a boost.
I talk with family and friends. This way I can pull the lingering thoughts and all their roots from my mind and lay them out on the table in front of both myself and others in order to see how untruthful they are.
Mention something within my online writing communities to people who probably understand. Like I said, I'm not alone, but sometimes I need to be reminded.
I don't believe it's easy to trample imposter syndrome but I know it can be uprooted for a time. This is when my imagination blooms and I finally believe I'm on the right road to where I'm supposed to be.
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