Confession of a Person with an Imposter Syndrome
Author: Haziq Maricar
Editor: Fatihah Mahmood
Don’t get me wrong and settle down because this is not a mental illness but more of a psychological pattern I would say. However, yes it is a struggle, and definitely annoying just getting by in day to day life. If you ever felt like you’re a fraud and most of the achievements that you have accomplished are pretty hard to acknowledge, I guess this article might just be the one that you have been searching for. You might be wondering what imposter syndrome is all about? Well, in other words these thoughts are born from the idea that you have only made it just by pure luck and simply, you don’t deserve it. Well don’t get offended because I obviously don’t mean that. Anyway, sounds familiar? For instance, it could be a normal day where you worked so hard on a group project and as usual it went splendid. All the compliments that showered you the whole day or week felt like it did not matter because you constantly beat yourself up thinking that those praise should have gone to someone else. But hey, don’t get discouraged because I know for a fact that you are not alone, as that makes it the two of us.
For starters, here’s my story. The term “be yourself” is pretty hard to sink in because I could never be myself due to the never ending unrealistic society norms and expectations let alone my own parents and family members. Coming from a conservative family and growing up with a religious background, I do think there is a contributing factor plus as I have always felt like I’m at war with my own self. I’m not even going to lie, when I was growing up a lot of people thought I was smart and good at English even still to this day. I remember that one time where I entered a debate competition in my school and was humiliated in front of the judges as I went blank and had no arguments to say back to my opponents because I was a nervewreck. See what I did there? I could’ve just said “I was nervous” but “nervewreck” appears to sound smarter but in reality, it is not. After that incident I genuinely felt like my English is not as fluent as I thought I was and it occurred to me that it was only good because other people don’t know that I only imitate native speakers like what I have seen on television. I think for the most part a lot of things that I did and still doing in my short lifespan is influenced by how insecure I am and for the longest time I really believe that.
Fast forward to university, it got worse. I even got to receive an award for my batch for a Promising Junior Icon which forms a sense, that from that day onwards many lecturers only expect great things to come from yours truly. From good grades and even to land on two scholarships at once I genuinely felt like I did not deserve it this whole time and it has been slowly eating me up from the inside. It might’ve sound like I’m boasting about my achievements but trust me, I am right here thinking that my friends have worked twice as hard and they are not being compensated enough. As a result, sometimes I found myself just stopped trying because ladies and gentlemen, I am a slacker and I have always been. I submitted my work late, I don’t wake up as early as others and I’m not even religious to begin with. Looking back to all these so-called performances in the past, it seems like I’m just reading a false online resume with very limited relationship to it as well as the memory of how I did it. The awful thing is 99% of the time I just felt sorry, to everybody and to myself because it almost seems I took “it” from them and how I wish I was more capable of owning my own success.
In all honesty, I am still struggling with it to this day. This is not the type of story of how I overcame it in the end. What I can tell is that we both know that it is not an excuse for you to call it quits and stopped trying just because of these little mean voices in our heads. The point is, look at the bright side, these thoughts and struggles keep us grounded. My advice is, if it gets too overwhelming at some point just stop overthinking and consider it as blessings for you to strive for more and work even more harder without actually the need to constantly try to prove yourself to other people. Because if you are, I guess you already have failed the first step of taking the power to control it. Don’t worry, it's okay! You’re going to be just fine.