There’s something I really want to speak about, and that’s imposter syndrome. I’ve only just recently put a name to this feeling and I’m so glad I have more of an explanation. If you don’t know what Imposter Syndrome is, it’s known as a “psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalised fear as being exposed as a ‘fraud’” (cheers google). But it’s not just that, it’s also being put under pressure to be what everyone else is because that’s the “correct way” to be. It’s something we pick up as preteens and progressively gets worse throughout high school so then we have to go “find ourselves” before Uni starts (if you go to Uni). BUT because of the beautiful universe of social media, it goes beyond the school years, it goes beyond the work environment, because you take it home with you. There are pictures of social media influencers everywhere telling you who to be and what to wear, even what to write. I still fall victim to it, every day. “Follow the herd, or you won’t be heard”, we’re told.
It’s perfectly okay to be sucked in, it’s the world we live in. You can really use it to your advantage if you wanted to. As always, it’s also great to go against the grain and be your truest self, which is what I’m trying to be. I’ve had so many years of trying to be the perfect someone else that I’m not 100% sure who I really am (Cliché as shit, I know). But that takes time and a lot of self-exploration. I think that’s why I do a lot of the things I do, to see if I’m comfortable doing things others might not like or simply don’t do. The blog, pole dancing, opening up about mental health and motherhood. Yes, these are all things people do and speak about, but if you really look at it, it’s not something the majority do. All those things mean putting yourself out there and being vulnerable because it’s not the “norm”. I’m not trying to make a point of being different, I’m just trying to find ways to bring out the real Hayley, and stop trying to seek so much validation from this “imposter” in my head.
Self-doubt is the biggest bully around, in my opinion. Nothing can tear you down quite like you. Ignoring negativity from others is actually quite easy, it’s ignoring that imposter in your head that’s agreeing with them. It’s extremely hard to ignore that. That’s what kept me from doing things. I put off my blog for years because my imposter kept telling me that no one would read or care about what I had to say. I put off trying pole dancing for years because I was scared about what people would say, and I was scared people would think I was copying them, even putting my mental health struggles out there, I was worried that people would think what I have gone through and am still going through is nothing and not worth even a sentence. I was worried people wouldn’t care about my journey as a mother. All of the things that this imposter had told me seemed to ring true. I used to believe everything it would say, I let it control me. I don’t know what it was that encouraged me to kick my imposters arse, honestly, I have no idea. I think one day I literally said to myself “Fuck this, I’m doing it”. It’s not as easy as that but it helped me take the first step and that’s all you need to beat anything.
Every day I still struggle with Imposter Syndrome, but every day I seem to prove it wrong or do something that invalidates its voice. I’m the one that gives it power, so I just have to keep proving it wrong. I strongly believe it’s the best thing for it. You are your biggest competitor, not someone else. You have to find the strength to tear down the imposter and build a positive and encouraging voice. I know it will take a long time, but to me I think it’s worth it, because what you do is worth it, everything you say and do is worth something. If you can create that strong positive inner voice it will help combat the negativity around you. Whether that be negative people or negative situations.
I was only able to put a name to this feeling thanks to a podcast called “ProBlogger”, even if you don’t blog I’d recommend giving it a listen as it was quite eye opening! Hearing about real people and their success just motivates me to keep going and kick that imposters arse!
I plan on writing more about how I’m building a more positive me through different actions, I’ll be sure to keep you updated. I feel like if this can help me, maybe it could help someone else drowning in negativity. I wish someone had told me a long time a go to not listen to the negative voice in my head, so I’m going to tell you not to listen. If that voice is telling you, you can’t, I’ll tell you that you can. If that voice is telling you that you’re not worthy, well you bet your arse I’m going to tell you that YOU are worthy. Put yourself out there, please. Even if it’s just starting something small, that something small could turn into something big and you’ll be so grateful that you took that first step.