Imposter Syndrome: Shedding light on a better you

Published by Emma Kenfield on

Imposter Syndrome:
Shedding light on a better you

Generation Z is starting to make their way into the real, adult world.

What happens when an entire generation of people, who were raised being told they are lazy, ungrateful and spoiled, enter the workforce alongside the same generations who criticized them? 

They develop imposter syndrome. 

Symptoms include feelings of extreme self-doubt and inadequacy that causes one to think they’re a fraud. You’re just pretending to be qualified, you tell yourself… As if the reasons you were hired were fabricated and it’s only a matter of time before your colleagues discover you’re wearing a mask, and you’re exposed. You’re an imposter, wondering how long you can keep pretending you’re not. 

Accepting failure with imposter syndrome reaffirms existing fears of inadequacy. You overwork yourself to make up for your self-perceived shortcomings, becoming your biggest critic and never living up to your own standards. It’s usually difficult to accept praise as well; you feel like compliments aren’t entirely genuine or sincere. 

How can other people praise me when I have no idea what I’m doing?

This diagnosis actually makes sense. 

Some feel Generation Z, more than any other generation, has been fed feelings of inadequacy all their lives. They spend hours scrolling through TikTok, attend events for the picture proof alone and turn to Snapchat for their daily news. They believe people can fall in love on reality TV, and the skinny-tea that Khloe Kardashian promotes on Instagram will take away their belly fat. They are the generation most dictated by social media, and society won’t stop reminding them of that. 

Generation Z watched the world cringe at Millennials and accepted they were probably worse. Too invested in their phones, too lazy and too entitled. How is Gen-Z meant to feel anything but undeserving?

The good news is everyone feels this way at this stage of life. We are young and inexperienced, just as we are supposed to be. We are at a place in life where learning is expected, and mistakes are encouraged. And even those who seem to have it all figured out, usually don’t. 

In reality, life is about learning as you go and continuously improving. In order to do so, you have to start at the bottom. 

Moreover, you have to know that the bottom actually means the bottom. You are inevitably going to make mistakes, especially at the beginning of your career. 

We are deathly afraid of failure. But why should we be? 

Failing means getting back up, adjusting and doing better. Failing means reevaluating, and ending up better because of it. Failing, actually, means getting closer to succeeding. We put so much pressure on ourselves to convince the world we’re perfect. 

If you don’t want to feel like an imposter, stop pretending you aren’t human. Start embracing your mistakes. Start appreciating your failures. 

You also need to recognize the things you do well. 

Another flaw in our generation is our inability to be proud of how far we’ve come. You’re going to have milestones and accomplishments along the way. Genuinely give yourself the credit you deserve before moving onto the next task. Imposter syndrome will trick you into denying yourself appropriate praise. 

I faked it enough to get by, now let’s try not to mess the next thing up. 

No, you focused and intentionally did what was necessary to achieve that goal. Allow that to build up your confidence for the next task. 

To give you a better idea of what happens during imposter syndrome, here you go.
Emma Kenfield | Avant-Youth

Lastly, it’s important to remember that everyone feels this way. “Faking it ‘til you make it” is a part of life, and most people do it to some extent. Imposter syndrome will have you believe you know very little, while the rest of the world knows significantly more. 

However, we’re not supposed to be omniscient. How could we grow if that were the case? 

Each individual has a unique set of personality traits, skills and knowledge that will benefit the rest of society. Whether you’re an intern still in college, or a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you could always learn a little more from your peers. You know what you know. The person next to you may know a little more about other things, but he or she could learn a lot from you, too. 

The truth is: You’re not an imposter; you’re just one individual. By admitting this, you allow yourself and your peers to educate each other and grow together. 

We are human beings – we are not supposed to just walk through life with ease. Embrace your failures, own your learnings, cherish your successes, and crave the wisdom you lack through others. That is the way to finally live without a mask.

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Emma Kenfield

Emma Kenfield is an eager young writer with a taste for the unusual and a passion for the truth. She is currently a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studying media and journalism. She reads and writes poetry in her free time, collects Elvis Presley memorabilia and describes her aesthetic as “grandma-chic.” After working as a reporter for a few years, Kenfield wants to become a lawyer, practicing media and First Amendment law.


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