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I thought I was over it - Imposter syndrome

I used to be crippled by imposter syndrome. The feeling that I was never quite enough, that I wasn’t supposed to be there, someone would find me out. But over the years I realised that these feelings were normal, most people felt them at one time or another, it was ok not to know everything and yes, I did deserve to be in the room.

So, what a shock when these feelings reappeared with full force.

At the age of 55, and having never been to university, I have just embarked on a Masters in Positive Psychology at the Buckinghamshire New University. I’m really excited and looking forward to exploring all the theories and interventions that already underpin much of the work I do.

But on the first morning (two days ago) on our online residential, I was transported back to that first day at secondary school. Everyone sounded so much more knowledgeable and articulate than me. In my head, everything I said sounded a bit trite and simplistic. The first assignment felt (and still feels) unmanageable and overwhelming.

Swamped with thoughts of

“Am I up to this, I’m not sure I can do it”.

In my adult head I know I will be ok. Of course I have the experience and knowledge and what I don’t know I can learn. But that doesn’t stop me from swinging between the two extremes.

Luckily enough our first assignment involves a personal journal where we can try out and reflect on a method of improving our wellbeing. So, I’m going to choose a self-compassion practice. I think it will be just what I need.

It’s been a bit of a shock to learn that I’m still as vulnerable as anyone to imposter syndrome, but it’s been a valuable and humbling lesson.

And I hope you like the photo of me as a teenager.

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