This post was going to be a full-on rant about imposter syndrome, how brutal it is, and was due to include many a swear-word. Yesterday, imposter syndrome had me by the throat, and I was caught in a spiral of fear and feeling so completely unworthy that I wanted to curl up under my bed and never come out.
Instead, I went to the gym, and tried to figure out why now of all times, imposter syndrome had hit me so hard. Without understanding it, I can’t hope to conquer it. Confronting these feelings sounds easy enough, but in practice, sometimes you’re staring past traumas square in the face, and you’re wondering if they are going to strike again.
This week has seen the reviews really start to roll in for Valkyrie Cursed from ARC readers. They are all chock full of positive comments from brand new readers who have never read my work before, and to say I’m a little overwhelmed at the result is an understatement. The more these reviews piled up, the more I felt like I didn’t deserve them.
The logic behind this is simply not there. I wrote this book, and I took all the necessary steps to make it what it is by myself, and yet a part of my brain wants me to know that I’m still not worthy of admiration or praise. I know where this voice in my head has come from, and it was not self-generated.
We all encounter people in our lives who tell us horrible things out of their own insecurity and jealousy. But when we are forced to interact with those people every day, especially when we’re younger, their voices hold more weight, and we incorporate them into our own thought processes. It’s these voices that are hardest to block out.
In a panic-fuelled desperation to rid myself of this feeling of inadequacy, I started writing a list of ten reasons why I deserved all the good things that have happened to me recently. This process was almost subconscious and I actually barely remember writing the list, so when I read it back, one of the reasons really struck me deep:
“I don’t owe anyone failure just because they live unfulfilling lives.”
Anyone who intentionally puts you down without any form of constructive criticism has a motive for doing so. Tainting our victories and achievements is designed to drag us down, to make us doubt ourselves and our abilities, and to discourage us to continue on to greater successes. Whether this is the voice in our heads or someone we know (or a complex combination of both), we owe it to ourselves to ignore them.
For some of us, the voices that criticised us so harshly belonged to people who were supposed to love us, and build us up. But even if we held their opinions so dearly once, the only significant voice is the voice of ours that tells us we’re doing a good job. Or maybe even encouraging us to get back up after we’ve fallen down. The voice that encourages us regardless of circumstance.
The last few days have been a huge hurdle for my self-confidence and motivation, but I am pleased to say I am out the other end stronger for it. That being said, I really hope that this swamp of self-doubt isn’t the running theme for the release of my new series. But if it is, it’ll really have a fight on its hands, and not one it’s going to win.
Thanks for reading! Did you know I also write urban fantasy books? Check them out here!