There are days in my life where I genuinely feel like a fraud.
This is something I’ve struggled with for a while, especially on Twitch. I have a loyal community of regulars there. They have subscribed to me and gifted so many subs to my channel to people over the course of my time streaming. They have brought friends to the stream. Some of them have even acquired things for me in games because they’re total sweethearts.
While I do have moments where I feel blessed to have such a wonderful community of people like this in my life that choose to support me however they’re capable of doing so, more often than not, I don’t believe I deserve it.
Some days, I feel as though I’ve manipulated those people into supporting me. Those are the days when Imposter Syndrome rears its ugly head.
Imposter Syndrome (or Imposter Phenomenon) was first identified in 1978 during a study on high-achieving women by psychologists Suzanne Imes and Pauline Rose Clance. They defined it as “the psychological experience of believing that one’s accomplishments came about not through genuine ability, but as a result of having been lucky, having worked harder than others, or having manipulated other people’s impressions.”
Do you experience a lot of self-doubt, fear, or constantly blaming yourself for whatever failures occur? Do you attribute your successes to luck or manipulation rather than skill? Fail to start or finish projects? Don’t believe you actually deserve what you’ve achieved? Fear you won’t be able to keep those successes up?
Guess what? You may be dealing with Imposter Syndrome, too.
It may come as a bit of a surprise to some of you that this is a thing I deal with from time to time, especially if you’re from my streaming community. Regardless of what I do when I’m online, I try to be the most genuine version of myself that I possibly can be. So how can someone who is as genuine as they are deal with something like this?
Well, if I’m being honest with you all, I’m still working that out. Imposter Syndrome is one of those things that never really goes away. However, there are ways to make it a bit more manageable.
First of all, identify what’s making you feel that way. Figuring out what triggered the thought in the first place helps. It might be something easy to identify (a new title at work, for example) or it might be a bit difficult to figure out at first. If it helps, write the thought down as you’re having it and go back to it a bit later. Once you’ve figured it out, talk to someone about it but make sure that person is detached from the thing that triggered the thought (i.e.: if it’s something work-related, try to talk to a long-time friend as opposed to a coworker).
I’ve even seen suggestions about creating an accomplishment box, which I actually really like the idea of. It’s a physical reminder of all the things you’ve managed to accomplish in your life and it’s a way of accepting that this is a thing that’s happened in your life.
But most importantly, remember you’re not alone in feeling like this. Lots of people, some of them infinitely more successful than I am, deal with this, too. And we all have one thing in common with each other: we’re not failures. We deserve the things we’ve achieved for ourselves regardless of whether or not we actually believe we do.
And sometimes, that little reminder is all I really need.