I’ve written on numerous occasions about imposter syndrome and how it affects me. There are many occasions in life when I’m in situations where I believe I’m inferior to others. That affects me in many ways, not least by making me retreat a little, stay relatively quiet, and not contribute to discussions as much as I could and should do. It’s a difficult one to address as it feels like a default mode to me; that this is the norm – how it will always be. However, there is one coping mechanism I try to remember at times like these. When I have the clarity of thought to try to do something about it, I imagine what the people I’m with are like deep down, beneath the surface. Just what type of person they’ll be when they’re sat alone at home. They might be outgoing and supremely confident; they may be extremely knowledgeable; they might just have the gift of the gab and be able to win people over with sheer charm and chutzpah. However, I’m a firm believer that beneath the veneer, the vast majority of us are fighting daily battles or dealing with issues which nobody else knows about. Why should I feel that certain others are somehow superior to me and have a more valid reason to speak and contribute when they only difference may well be that they have a little more confidence or are simply better at presenting a persona which they want/need everyone to see?
Is there truly anyone out there who doesn’t have issues to deal with in life? Mental health; physical health; the wellbeing of family members; the wellbeing of close friends; the wellbeing of pets; financial worries; problems at work; pressure to succeed; pressure to merely survive and get through day-to-day life; pressure to be a loving, caring, successful husband / wife / father / mother / son / daughter etc. The list could go on and on and on. I’ve yet to meet anyone who isn’t dealing with issues of their own, whether they are serious or relatively trivial. Unfortunately, life just isn’t like that. There are precious few of us in a position to be breezing through life each day whilst singing Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows without a care in the world.
When looking to normalise this, particularly when impostor syndrome kicks in, I try to remember that the vast majority of us are essentially one and the same, in that we just want the best for ourselves, our family, and our friends. That’s it – for me, it’s as simple as that. Just what ‘the best’ is for each of us, how we go about achieving that goal, and how we approach life may differ but, fundamentally, that is life in a nutshell. We’re not that different, you and I. Not that different at all.
One final thought – a reminder I find it’s always useful to consider at times such as these. At the end of the day, when we all have that one guaranteed quiet spell alone during the day, we all look pretty damned similar (and never dignified or superior) during those precious few minutes when we’re sat on the loo…
As always, thanks for reading and take care.