I am forever telling you all about my childhood and how great it was. I was a lucky girl with a steady family and a pleasant upbringing, being able to achieve anything I wanted and always top-of-the-class. This is something I really value now I’m old enough to appreciate it, and I know that I am one of the minority who had this.
My abilities and idyllic surroundings brought forward feelings in me that I was in some way… Exceptional. I thought that everyone was placed there for my benefit; like everything was created to please, or anger, or confuse me. I am not sure how common it is, but when I was a kid I thought the world was made for me alone. It was a “God Complex” – a feeling that I had unlimited personal potential and control. Think a Hermione Granger in the Philosopher’s Stone mentality… (But don’t worry, it doesn’t last.)
I was hit HARD by a realisation in my teen years, that I was most definitely not so extraordinary. I drowned in a sea of other people searching for themselves, battling to make an impression… thus making me lose what I thought I knew of myself. I felt invisible. Shyness crippled me. I was constantly floating between friendship groups, seeking others’ approval and continuously outcast until I was made to feel exceptionally… mediocre.
This affected me more than I’d like to say, and I am pretty sure a lot of you would have experienced this too. A need to be accepted, a thought that you aren’t good enough. A feeling like you’re a B grade student, an average looking human being and your accomplishments are few. If you feel this, you’re not alone.
In the past few years, whenever anything good happened I’d immediately think – I don’t deserve this? I’ve surely not caused this amazing thing? I can’t have achieved something this good? I realised quickly this was “Imposter Syndrome” – something that Google defines as “feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success.”
But… my successes are not mediocre! I am going to try to recapture some of the childhood spirit that got left behind and beaten out of me. I won’t settle anymore for letting myself think that I don’t deserve everything I set my mind to. I am comfortable, I am myself. I cannot be anyone else, just as no-one else truly is like me. (Even if it doesn’t rain just because I’m sad. Yes… genuinely a thought I had when I was a child.)
My world has changed, from a rose-tinted wonderland, to a pale reflection of what I wanted it to be and on to be a mountain I’m going to climb – and I’m going to congratulate myself for all my small successes on the way. For example, getting this post out and not overthinking it.
This world may not have been made for me, but I will most definitely make it what I want it to be.
And you should too.