When You Feel Like a Fraud, Read This

Most days, I want to delete this blog. I want to archive all my Instagram pictures and find a new passion besides publishing my words because I think, “Who am I to be sharing my opinions? Who cares?” I would never refer to myself as a blogger because I think I haven’t earned that title. As we often do in many areas of life, I’ve looked either to what other people say about my work or how many people consume it as the indicator of whether I deserve to be here, making content for you.

The minute one of my posts is criticized whether for its content or quality, I question my motives and capabilities. Daily, I stifle the doubts of, Well maybe I’m just a terrible writer. That was a stupid thing to say. And, I need to disconnect from the internet forever so I don’t look dumb ever again.

Seriously! I want to hide in a hole, never come out, and bury all the evidence that I was ever here the instant I feel incompetent, and I feel that far too easily. In essence, I have Impostor Syndrome a lot of the time. When I first heard my feeling identified as fear of being a fraud, the lightbulb went off, and I learned that so many others pursuing their passions experience similar sensations.

Some of my favorite photographers, Instagrammers, bloggers, you name it, are constantly worried that their content reflects poorly on them. It’s hard to imagine that some of the most glamorous people we follow can feel this way when we are likely sitting on our couch and scrolling on our phones, ooing and ahhing at everything they post. I’m certainly not someone everybody follows, but even the knowledge that some eyes are watching makes me who ask, “Who do I think I am to be doing this?”

I have a bachelor’s level education and am 21-years-old; certainly nothing outstanding. And the simple fact that someone’s opinions being different than my own can make me question everything, including myself, shows how much I have to learn about life. So many of us are stagnant in our pursuits or haven’t attempted to reach them at all because we are crippled by the doubts I just mentioned. It’s a continual process for me of learning to loosen up about what I do and be okay with the fact that not everybody likes it. But if you are suffering from feelings of fraudulence, I recommend ruminating on the following prompts:

  1. Remember Why You Started

If you’re continually feeling insecure about your work, maybe it’s because you’re suspicious of your own motivations. I found myself wondering a few weeks ago if I was truly on track with the mission I had created this blog for, and I decided I could be doing a better job of living up to it. And that’s OKAY! I created a mission statement for myself that isn’t published anywhere when I began this blog to help me stay on track. By allowing myself to recognize setbacks and go back to the drawing board, I’m doing just that. You’re allowed to do the same.  

      2. Remind Yourself of Your Credentials

I’m not talking about the number of followers underneath your Instagram handle or how many people subscribe to your blog. Whatever your craft is, I suspect you’ve been told that you’re good at it at least once, or you likely wouldn’t’ feel ready to share it with the world. But even more effective than recollecting affirmations is recalling how hard you’ve worked to become someone who is good at what you do. Maybe you aren’t great at it yet or aren’t an expert, but you have experience. Not everybody does. You have at least one skill you have developed that can serve others.

       3. Commit to Looking Forward

I don’t know about you, but one negative comment, even if it wasn’t meant to be hurtful, can often throw off my whole week. I’ll pause everything I was thinking of putting up on my platforms because I feel compelled to re-evaluate everything, all because some rando didn’t love what I said or posted. Just to be fully honest, I was having one of those days this week. I told my fiancé, “I don’t want to publish anything ever again!” He reminded me, “It’s just a bad day, Karoline.” And you know what, he was right. Today, I’m SO glad I didn’t delete everything I’ve created on this blog. If I had, it would make it much harder for me to encourage you right now.

You probably aren’t an expert at what you do. You probably follow people doing the same thing as you who are better at it. But nobody has the same set of skills developed in the same way with the same vision as you. Just because you’re interested in a craft that is highly saturated does not mean your work isn’t of value. Remember, remind, and commit yourself to not hiding behind the scenes simply because you are afraid to look silly. I cringe at my own content constantly, but that’s necessary to help the next post be even better.

You are valuable and your work is valuable, but your value doesn’t lie in your work. I believe in you, and I want you to read this whenever you feel like a fraud and remember that you can serve someone with your gifts. <3

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