Nutrition coaching. Writing about a complex and nuanced mental illness like anorexia. Giving relationship and communication advice. All of these ideas strike fear in my little heart that’s wrapped in a protective layer of imposter syndrome bubble wrap. “No one needs my nutrition coaching - I haven’t worked with hundreds of clients like she has”, “I was never hospitalized so my eating disorder was never that bad”, “my husband was cheating on me for almost six months and I had no idea - who am I to give relationship advice and communication tips?”. All of these thoughts have something in common - they are rooted in fear. They contribute to imposter syndrome. And they hold me back from creating something I believe in and contributing to my purpose.
As I think more about getting my story out to more people, I think the idea of emotional infidelity and having a virtual affair with someone who lives in your phone is both unique and apt for this time in history. Emotional affairs have proved to be as damaging as physical affairs; the lies and deceit are the most damaging aspect of both scenarios. We are all on our phones more and more and, during 2020 and quarantine, virtual connection is our primary form of contact with other people. Discovery also means seeing, reading, and committing to memory, every moment of the affair. I have all of it in my brain, unfortunately. So if I can take this experience, this pain, and synthesize it into a space that can help others, I want to do it.
It’s like the angel and devil on each shoulder. The angel says, “you can do this! People like your writing! They relate to you and you can help!” while the devil sneers, “oh my god how annoying. No one cares. You’re not smart enough to do any of this”. The devil keeps me small and holds me back. Is there any truth in what she says? Well, some people might not care and some might find me annoying. I’m not everything for everyone. And I’m realizing that that’s a good thing.
A healthy amount of self-awareness is good and necessary. If I came out of the gate yelling that I am now this relationship guru who has it all figured out and can tell you exactly how to fix your life too, I hope someone would knock me off my high horse. I think that imposter syndrome is always present (except if you’re a brain surgeon - then I hope you have no doubt that you know exactly what you’re doing) and the trick is turning the volume dial down and pushing past the “but noooo El you’re so annoying” voice.
How does imposter syndrome show up for you? What do you have figured out and what are you completely winging?