I’ve been having a lot of conversations lately about the “impostor syndrome”. For some people, it’s that feeling of recognizing the greatness that you’re a part of and wondering how you got to be a part of it. You leave a conversation and you play it all back—you watch your lips move in slow motion with all these brilliant minds watching you and you wonder…Do they know that you’re just you? Is what you bring to the table enough? Will you be found out?
For others, it’s living a double life. They project a certain persona and lifestyle in public that doesn’t match who they really are or their current reality in private. The feeling of being an impostor isn’t new. We work so hard to put our best foot forward—a very curated version of ourselves. Social media has made being an imposter the easiest job. A lot of people post not to share but to create a feeling of envy in others. They’re not interested in connecting, they want you to be a voyeur and not only that, they want you to want to be them. Do we ever get tired of “trying to be”? Who are we trying so desperately to impress—other imposters?
There will always be someone smarter, prettier, skinnier, richer and more successful than you.
I often say that nothing can add or take away from who we already are. I’m well aware that this seems counterintuitive to what our culture has ingrained in us. Advertising has built its entire purpose on making us feel like if we just get one more thing –this thing, we’ll be complete. Romantic comedies tell us that we’re are half beings and until we find another half being, we can’t be whole. I don’t know about you but the idea of a half-formed human has zero appeal to me and news flash, there will always be one more thing to get. What I know is, it’s impossible to complete something that is already complete. It’s why no matter how much we try to add another external thing, we still can’t seem to cure the delusion of incompleteness.
“No envy…no fear” — Joshua Radin
It is important for you to know yourself before the world knows you. Knowing yourself allows you to build a mostly unshakeable foundation. No one can penetrate the forte you’ve built when you know yourself. Knowing yourself allows you to know your worth and when you know your worth, you have no desire to live someone else’s story. This means recognizing that even in our chaos, messiness, and insecurities, there is something deeper within us that remains unmoved. A core that is so confident and sure of itself that there is no need to fight for recognition and validation outside of that self. Like the bottom of the pond that remains unstirred and unshaken, even with thrown stones creating a ripple on top; you recognize that your true self is more than everything happening on the surface.
It is more than the environment you find yourself in, it is more than the mental noise and the conversations we use to outwit each other. Knowing this allows us to recognize that it is enough to “be”. We’re not trying to be but just being. We let go. There is nothing left to prove.