I’ve always felt as if I’ve been under an immense amount of pressure. Whether or not that pressure was self-inflicted or otherwise (aka by my mom), it was always looming. This pressure mostly manifested itself in school; my siblings and I were expected to do our very best. As my parents’ marriage deteriorated so did my already shaky sense of security and I found myself measuring my self-worth through my grades, golf scores, etc. This, obviously, became problematic.
It only got worse as I approached college. I received a decent amount of academic and athletic scholarships that allowed me to go to a private school, something I knew I had worked hard for but convinced myself I didn’t deserve. As I moved through college I constantly struggled to accept that the positive things in my life were a result of my hard work. Within the last two years of college I had three internships, one of which was abroad. For all intents and purposes, I was doing well, but couldn’t give myself the credit I deserved.
Unfortunately, this phenomenon is something that is super common. The “Imposter Syndrome” is especially prominent among women; somehow our brain tells us we are lesser than the opportunities presented to us (all I can think about is James Brown singing “It’s a man’s world!”) So common, in fact, that my supervisor mentioned it on the first day of training at The Met. Surprisingly, that made me feel better. It made me feel like I wasn’t crazy. Not long after this initial pat on the back, I was told that if I ever felt uneasy, I should take a private moment and strike a power pose (think: Wonder Woman). Psychologically, this increases ones confidence quite a bit. I’ve tried it, and while it doesn’t eliminate negative thoughts completely, it certainly does trick you into thinking you’re capable, even if it only for a little while. Watch a great Ted talk on it here!
If that doesn’t do it for you, here are a few things I tell myself when I am feeling a little self-critical:
- There are people who don’t know (or don’t care to use) proper variations of there, their and they’re, and if they’re doing ok, you’ll be fine.
- No one knows what the hell they’re doing, and everyone is just trying to fake it until they become it.
- We’re all going to die and life is too short to not believe in yourself.
- Lastly, you are worthy, you made it this far, so keep going.
So the next time you feel like an imposter, tell yourself to shut up, say the words “I can do this”, and strike your fiercest power pose.
One of the OG members of Bridget&Mary’s posse, New York native Kat Farrell graduated with a degree in International Trade and Art History from Susquehanna University. Currently trying to navigate the art world, she can be found in some strange gallery, sporting an all black, alarmingly minimal outfit…she’s the one with the wicked resting bitch face. If she’s not there, she’s in bed drinking black coffee and worshipping the Kardashians (in an ironic way, duh).