Imposter Syndrome. I was never really aware of what the term meant until around 2 years ago, where somebody had mentioned it at a WeBlog workshop, and I was like whattt? Imposter? Syndrome? What is that? For those of you who have clicked on this blog post to find out what the hell imposter syndrome is, here it is explained in a nutshell: The feeling of not deserving success, doubting your accomplishments, feeling like a fraud and feeling as if you are never going to amount to anything, and even when you do you are still in denial. Its much more common than we think and I feel like that all the time. Almost constantly actually, and I think that its the main thing that holds me back from, dare I say it, chasing my dreams.
Last month I won a Lovin’ Manchester social media award for ‘Manchsters Most Stylish Person.’ I genuinely couldn’t believe it. Like I literally couldn’t. I know everyone always says that when they win something, but I really was so shocked. Everybody in my category was amazing, had a much higher following than me and I just saw them as being much more worthy of the award than me. How could little old me be ‘the most stylish person in Manchester?’ Yet here I am, sat at home looking at my award and wondering how this came to be.
I have just short of 1,500 followers on instagram, hardly anyone reads this blog anymore (I mean, most people don’t read blogs anymore, which makes me sad, but it is v true) and this year I’ve probably only worked with about 4 brands. Compared to most, I just look like a little wannabe fashion blogger from Manchester. I can think of so many people more deserving of this than me. Its so sad that I think like this and I feel really emotional about writing something so negative when I want this blog to be a haven of positivity. But this is what goes on in my mind, and I feel like it is important to share the bad with the good on the internet, or it can be totally damaging for people that only see the good and compare, just like me.
I had so many messages from best friends, blogging friends, colleagues, old school friends, acquaintances, strangers, family and family friends telling me that it was ‘well deserved.’ Everyone was singing my praises and I just could not understand how anybody could think I was the best person to win? Whenever anyone brings it up I get really flustered and I guess you could say that I am embarrassed. I get worried that people are thinking the same as me, and they think its strange and really ridiculous that I’ve won such a thing too.
I guess I just don’t think very highly of myself. For someone with such confidence, I am really not so confident in myself and my achievements. Its not just this award, or my blog that I feel like a fraud, it can be anything. When old friends ask me what I’m doing now, I feel embarrassed saying that I am a designer. Writing that down now seems so bloody ridiculous I know. But I know what people are thinking, and it shows on their faces. They are thinking something along the lines ‘oh wow thats crazy that she actually became a designer.’ This is in no way a bad thing, but I feel like people have in their heads that it is a v glamorous job and it’s somehow a fluke, that I don’t deserve it. I remember one friend from school asking me what I was up to and she was so shocked when I told her I was a designer. Well you know thats what I studied at uni and I didn’t just complete a horrendously difficult degree for nothing. Why is it such a shock?
I know so many people that feel the same. Even without realising it, they too suffer from imposter syndrome. I think its a millennial thing, or possibly a British thing. We all know that us brits can’t take a compliment and I am a walking talking example of that. You like my top? “Oh its only Primark.” My hair is nice? “Oh no its not, I just washed it thats all.” You love my flat? “Oh everything is second hand, it could be better.”
Why do we constantly put ourselves down?
Why cant we accept compliments?
Why can’t we believe in ourselves?
I say this totally presuming that you feel the same as me, which may not be the case, which means you are probably wondering what I’ve been going on about this whole time.
WHAT I’M WEARING
The curse of imposter syndrome is very real. But WHY OH WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES? Can we not? We are all capable of whatever we put our minds to and its time I wake up and smell the coffee. If I think like this, where is that going to get me? Its completely out of order for me to be so nasty to myself. We are our own worst enemy and we need to not be so hard on ourselves. I give this advice to people all the time and never practice what I preach. If you are reading this and you too doubt yourself, DON’T DO IT. It is so toxic and you are amazing. You are as incredible as you want to be and you can be as successful as you wish, you just have to get yourself into the right frame of mind.
Lets say NO to imposter syndrome and start accepting ourselves for who we are – exceptional human beings with the power to change the world as we know it. We are all capable of doing whatever we want to do in life and its going to be fabulous when we do it.
Photos by Aimee Hodgkinson