Am I Good Enough?
There is an imposter among us.
Well that turns out to be me. But this isn't about a game anymore, it's about real life.
Impostor syndrome. It refers to "an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be". To put it simply, imposter syndrome is self doubt, feeling like you are not good enough.
Here are some other signs:
- Attributing your success to external factors
- Berating your performance
- Fear that you won't live up to expectations
- Sabotaging your own success
- Setting very challenging goals and feeling disappointed when you fall short
Can I get a hand if this sounds like you?
If so, let me join you. Here is my story.
"Look at your cousins, look at your brother, look at my friend's child". My mom would say something along these lines to me. "They can play the piano, they can sing, they can do this and that".
She isn't your stereotypical 'tiger mom' (strict or demanding Asian mother who pushes her child to high levels of achievement), but when I was put into swimming classes at six this became questionable.
I dreaded jumping off the diving board. My toes would curl up at the edge of the board as I contemplated my fate. I would fear for my life and little me would sometimes burst into tears beforehand😂. But after watching the other kids jump off one by one, I would take a leap of faith into the abyss.
That abyss. Submerged in the darkness of the water, I would kick my little feet. I kicked away the immense terror I had, I kicked against this foreign feeling, I kicked like my life was on the line. Heart pounding, when my fingertips finally brushed against the concrete wall of the pool edge, it would start slowing. It was like a sedation was injected in my body. Immediate relief would wash over me as I was no longer engulfed below the harrowing water.
But rather than being congratulated for just surviving what I thought of to be near death for a six year old, I remembered being greeted with the piercing sound a whistle and shouts. "Hurry, hurry, faster, faster", my coach would scream.
It didn't take me long to realize that swimming wasn't for me. Here, I saw my classmates excel with their lessons, while I felt like I was a black sheep. I dragged behind and swam with fear.
I could hear my mother's words again, "They can play the piano, they can sing, they can do this and that". I felt like a disappointment. If I couldn't swim, what was something that I could do?
And so my journey of finding that answer started. I jumped into soccer for a year, then gymnastics, ballet, track, badminton, band - you name it I tried it all.
And many of these things were a short lived experience. I would quit after a few months or a year and be onto something else. Why? Maybe I lost interest. Maybe I didn't see instant results. Maybe I compared my progress to others. Maybe I only joined to satisfy others. Maybe I simply wasn't talented enough.
And here again I felt like a black sheep. The cycle in finding that answer repeated.
What could I do? Am I good enough?
But something I realized I could do well was - school. I was your stereotypical Asian nerd who studied and got good grades. I finally found something I can excel at and can do!
Well no, turns out Sally and Bob score higher grades, do more activities, are finding the cure for cancer, etc.
I found myself (especially in high school) comparing myself even more. Why weren't my efforts as good as theirs? Why did I feel so unsuccessful? Why did I feel like a failure? I felt like I had done nothing in my life.
And this comparison snowballed into self degradation. I achieved many milestones and achievements, yet they didn't feel fulfilling. I stopped becoming satisfied when greatness came to me.
Sounds really dark and sad, I know.
I'm in a different mindset now, but looking back on my high school days and past years - man, I wish I could of slapped some words of encouragement.
Yes, you are good enough! Or like how my 8th grade math teacher would say, you can do it!
I can now look back and say I'm really proud of what I have accomplished. I may of not felt that way before, but self validation has to start from within. Yes, I know this is super cheesy but it's true.
There will always be someone smarter than me, better than me. Harsh reality, but the truth. Comparison will take you no where if you can't focus on yourself first.
I think this is why I lost a part of myself and who I was.
The internal battle in me has died down, and a spark of self realization has ignited. I've made a promise to push myself up, not down.
So am I good enough?
Yes. Yes, I am.