Recently I was browsing quizzes from Buzzfeed, when I came across a quiz that would reveal a secret I’ve kept hidden within. They were trivial questions, random ones that didn’t seem to be consequential to the overall score. Then I came across my results:
“You have a mild case of Impostor Syndrome”
At first it didn’t make sense, as I thought it might be related to that mental illness where the person thinks that everyone close to them is a fraud, that nothing in their world is real. Then I read further that the Impostor Syndrome afflicted person “downplays his accomplishments, and thinks that everything good that has happened to him was due to luck or some random thing rather than anything he actually earned or did.”
So I took several tests, and lo and behold: I did seem to have Impostor Syndrome. In fact, I had a high score for Impostor Syndrome.
It makes sense, actually, that I would have Impostor Syndrome: for the longest time, I thought that the skills in my profession was not good enough, that despite everything I’ve worked on, the end-product always seems off or sub-par. Even if they tell me that it’s very good, I know that it feels off, that I didn’t deserve the praise, that it was a mistake. I knew that somehow another person will come along and prove what I have been all along: a fraud riding on half-assed accomplishments.
I don’t feel like I deserve so much of the accomplishments I’ve come to reap: I feel like everything seemed to come to me easily, like I never worked hard for anything, and that I haven’t really created something good or acceptable. Whatever I’m trying to create, I always feel like it’s half-assed and done on-the-fly, subpar.
Where it hits me the most is in relationships. I’ve had so much experience getting rejected, falling for people that end up or were with other people, that I’ve been led to believe that they do belong to other people. If ever someone does like me (which I doubt), I always seem to wonder why. How was I supposed to be happy? I didn’t deserve any of the happiness, and besides, I felt like an interloper, and that there was a natural order in all things and I’m not supposed to disturb that ecosystem. My role is only to observe and record, but never interfere.
It has affected me adversely all these years. When I want to approach someone, immediately I suspect that they are meant for someone else, that no one was meant for me, because why would they be? I don’t deserve any of it. I’m not qualified, I don’t have the skills, I don’t feel like I’m worthy of anything, and I’m not meant to be happy. Because I don’t deserve to be happy.
Have I learned anything in this incisive discovery? Probably not. Because I might feel like an impostor, but what if I was? What if that was all there is to it? What if I only need to accept that I’m not meant to be happy, because I’ve not earned the right to be happy?
I don’t even know if I need help. This might not even be a real problem.