"I Don't Deserve to Be There; I'm Not Talented Enough"—And Other Lies Impostor Syndrome Told Me
What is the lie—or lies— that your impostor syndrome tells you?
The lies that impostor syndrome has told me and at times creeps up and tells me is that "I'm not worthy of being loved healthily and wholly by a man and even in my platonic relationships.” That "I must compare myself to others my age and their accomplishments," which subsequently robbed me of my own peace and joy. I felt as though "I must handle everything myself because no one will be there to help me, (even though I know this is false)," that "I'm not doing enough, that I'm not supposed to be where I'm at in my career, that I don't deserve to be there; that "I'm not talented enough."
Introduce yourself: Who are you?
Share the journey: How did you get here?
I never opened up in depth about this and how it made me feel but I got here through believing a lie from a White male classmate of mine in middle school that I wasn't good enough to get into Duke. Up until that moment I can honestly say that I was an assured young lady. At thirteen years old I had allowed that one polarizing moment in my life cripple me and set the course of how I would journey through my adolescence and early adulthood thinking that I had to have it all together. I thought that I had to be "perfect" and excel and when I missed the mark, in terms of how I felt my trajectory should've been I felt like a failure; like that middle school girl again believing the lie that I couldn't get into Duke and because I couldn't, I didn’t even apply to Duke when the time came and I believed that I couldn't do anything else.
Face your reflection: Is there a disconnect between your inner self and your outer self?
When I was in my teens and early twenties there was a huge disconnect. I felt like my outer self must be this woman who was "perfect." I felt l had to (even as a Christian Woman) be “on point,” smile and graceful all the time. It became exhausting; in my relationships: platonic and romantic; that I had to please people when my inner self just wanted to rest and be me wholly; the young lady who was different, who was nerdy and at times eccentric. It wasn't until my latter twenties and learned life lessons where I realized I don't have to put on for anyone that I can rest in who the Lord made me to be and those that truly love me will do that in-spite of the imperfections.
What do you do to remind yourself that you are enough?
I remind myself that I am enough by remembering this scripture, Psalms 139:13 & 14, "For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my Mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well." When I remember this scripture the lies that I'm not enough dissipate. I remind myself that my journey is mine and that I'm not in a race with anyone. That the Lord has me right where He wants me and that I don't have to believe the fiery darts the enemy throws at me. I am grateful to have the support and encouragement from a loving partner, my family, friends (who have become an extension of family) and mentors, to give me a push when I need it and have nullified the lies impostor syndrome tries to make me believe. I will find outlets to use the gifts and talents the Lord has given me to constantly create; be it through writing, singing, photography. I write down encouraging quotes and scriptures to look at every day and find inspiration from the arts, and those I may know and not know and even the mundane. I also don't take myself too seriously, listen to music and learn to love, laugh and appreciate everything.
Scenario: You walk into a room of your "peers"—describe who they are....do these people encourage you, intimidate you or both?
My "peers" (based on life experiences) both encourage and in the beginning intimidated me. I have had the pleasure of working with the most brilliant and accomplished black and women of color who have intimidated me in the sense of feeling like why should I be working with them cause I feel like I'm not as accomplished, but the loudness of that impostor syndrome rolls away when they have encouraged me, believed in me and pushed me to be the best individual person I can be.
Who is in your "hall of fame"? How does this person(s) influence how you view yourself and your potential?
There are so many in my "hall of fame" that have contributed to me growing and learning and shaped me in a positive way but hands down it would be my Parents. I am so grateful for them for more than one reason.
My Mama is the only woman who I looked up to and wanted to be like. She isn't perfect by any means but her example of strength during insurmountable times, her grace, encouragement and prayers have carried me more than I know. She is a woman who is tenacious and full and firm in her faith. She has influenced how I view myself and my potential in a monumental way because she has been an example to me that I am not limited as a Black Woman.
My Dad is one of the hardest working men I know and I’m grateful I’ve had that example growing up. Now that I’m an adult He reminds me often to stay focused even through the smallest endeavors and I need that push often. They both remind me that I don’t have to believe the lies of impostor syndrome, because by the grace of the Lord, I can do and be anything I set my mind to accomplish.
How would you encourage someone who is afraid of their potential?
Rest in knowing that you will get there. It won't ever be perfect but trust that your journey is yours. It is hard to see it when you're fearful however quiet the loudness of fear and trust that every ability the Lord has given you is for you to keep going and keep trying no matter what. Trying is a good thing.
If you haven't already, explain the work you do and why.
I work with people in the museum sector. I almost let impostor syndrome make me believe that I couldn't earn a degree in History, however by the grace of the Lord I did obtain it because it is important for me to pass along to my people who may not know; to the next generation the importance of learning history through the Black lens and experience.
Hello, Rose here—
I was having some computer trouble so I didn’t post yesterday, but here’s DAY 7 from yesterday! I hope you’ve been inspired by Rie! I know I am!
I am amazed at the participation I am seeing so far! Keep the stories coming!! We have 28 days to fill after all