A lot has been said and discussed in the past couple of weeks. Mostly with my coworkers and my outside of work friends about the impostor syndrome and the self-sabotage most of us suffer from. Some of us suffer in silence because if you say it out loud, you make it real and a problem to be solved.
I’m the queen of self-sabotage. It’s not that I can’t do it, it’s because I rather play it safe, than take the risks I need in order to get things done. You can see it clearly in my writing. In my mind, I already failed too much, too many times. I keep thinking that the clock is ticking and I’m getting nothing out of life, when in fact, I’m just protecting myself from another failure.
That’s how I was raised. I was never good at school, so why would I even try it? I was always mocked by family members, until recently, when I decided to go to Culinary school.
“You never cooked. Why do you want to try this now? What are you gonna cook by the way?” they said with a smirk on their face.
Life passes by me because even though I’m not a great mastermind, I still can get things done when my brain it’s not being interrupted by self-consciousness. I saw a meme on Instagram the other day saying “I can cook, study, be a good mom, a good employee, a good wife and so on” and one of my friends said “I can also do all that, but I’m not good at any of it” and that’s exactly how I feel.
The pressure to be good at everything these days is exhausting.
I have been looking for help in podcasts, my horoscope, my close friends, people that know me from childhood, and it’s been very helpful. Being an immigrant also aggravates the impostor syndrome to its highest levels.
It always feels like I’m trying something I’m not supposed to be doing.
Then there is always an American who will get more done at work or will get more of what they are doing in life in general. Sometimes I freeze, thinking I’m trying too hard.
Another reason why I always end up working in hotels, even having experiences in different areas, I’m never confident enough to venture out of my comfort zone.
Why would I actually get a job I’m passionate about, instead of staying in a position where I know how everything is going to unroll, day after day, year after year? It’s the commodity of not taking chances because again, you don’t feel capable to compete on the same level with others, so you don’t apply.
Maybe because you don’t have all the qualifications they ask from you, not all the software, not the 5 year+ portfolios.
The impostor syndrome has been haunting me since I moved to the United States. That has a lot to deal with the people you surround yourself with, and how they are going to push you forward.
If you grew up in an environment where people kept doubting your abilities to do anything other than what it expects from you, you have the tendency of thinking you are not worthy of anything. That only got worse when I saw how competitive with everything Americans really are. I couldn’t keep up and I still can’t keep up with it.
My job was to wait tables, endlessly. I never saw my value outside of the restaurant industry.
For a great number of years, I only thought I was a great server, and a great server only. My job was to wait tables, endlessly. I never saw my value outside of the restaurant industry, because, in my mind, that was the only thing I was able to do.
I learned along the way that my value is not based on the job I’m good at. One Day one guest at the table I was serving asked me “Are you a server and what?”.
At first, I didn’t understand the question, but then I realized that he was asking that because everyone in that field is getting ready for something else.
Either a music career, to be a nurse, or a photographer. In my case, I told him “I’m server for now, but soon I will be a writer”.
That phrase alone gave me goosebumps. For the rest of the night, I questioned if I would ever indeed write something worthy and if I was ever going to be ready to be a writer.
That’s where the self-sabotage and the impostor syndrome hold hands and plot against me.
The self-sabotage works in destroying my confidence, and the impostor syndrome works to show me I will never be good enough. But I’m good enough, and so are you.
What I’m trying to work on now, is take it day by day, without thinking too far in advance, so I don’t sink my own plans along the way, as I usually do. Take small steps and make sure you are moving forward. Make plans and be sure to be true to yourself and what you want.
If it’s working as a CEO of Google, fight for it, if it’s to have your own business, go for it. If it’s to write a novel, go for it. Don’t let anyone trick you into thinking you are not good enough. I had to work so hard to keep this blog alive, because of all the doubts I had about writing in a second language.
I was scared to sound fake, to look like I was trying to use a cause I defend so much my anchor, and/or why would people want to read something from someone whose first language is not English?
Until the day I found my voice and here I’m today saying, if I could do all that, in a second language, so could you. I wrote a few other posts about that, that I’m gonna link here so you can tag along on how I did it. One of my favorite posts I wrote so far is https://liveoutloudtoo.com/papercuts/
I just realized today that I have more followers on this blog than I expected. And for you, I’m thankful. I’m just an immigrant trying to live out loud, in all the complexity that it is to leave away from my home country.
I also know that are millions and millions of us out here trying so hard. Crying in our sleep, sending money home, buying unnecessary stuff to keep us happy.
Don’t you ever feel like you don’t belong!
Thanks for reading! I see you somewhere out there!