Show me a person that's winning at life.
They have an amazing career, lots of money in the bank, great family and friends, and a gym membership they actually use. Show me that person and I will show you someone that has, at one time or another, doubted themselves and their abilities. If they haven't, I'd like to ask what their secret is because that kind of self-belief is a gift I do not possess.
I have made room for doubt in my life and time and time again, grant it invitation despite the fact that it torments and violates me every time I allow it to come in. It's a feeling that a lot of black women have encountered and most have not yet discovered how to overcome. It's a phenomenon known by no other name than Impostor Syndrome.
I would describe Impostor Syndrome as being accused of burgling your own house. You know you belong there. Your belongings are the receipts for all the hard work you've put in to buy this house you call your home, but nobody's there to corroborate your story and the neighbors really don't care.
It is an embarrassing, demeaning, and futile exchange that
wears you down to the point that you start believing they are right. Suddenly,
when you look around, things don't seem so familiar.
And you do so all the while, never realising your accuser is really you. That, to me, is Imposter Syndrome.
About a year ago, I started to come to the realization that something was really wrong with me.
On the outside, I had just embarked on an amazing advertising career; it was something I'd studied for and dreamed about. I had also taken unpaid internships (like many others) in the hope of differentiating myself from that vast competition surrounding me and finally, my efforts were paying off. Working on campaigns for the likes of Disney, Marie Claire, and Porsche were everything I had wanted. And yet, I found myself feeling, hands-down, the most anxious, nervous, and fearful I have ever been in my entire life.
This led to me second-guessing every decision I made, reverting into myself for fear of being singled out or ridiculed for saying something stupid, and procrastinating in a state of analysis paralysis, which isn't great when you have sold yourself on your efficiency, ability to share ideas, and being a team player.
These issues weren't just limited to my work but also my ability to make friends or at least friendly acquaintances in this new, much longed-for work environment. I don't care what anyone says, if you are working for eight hours a day, you need to like, or at least feel comfortable, with your team. I did make some amazing friends. But even then, I found myself wondering when the penny would drop for them – monologues of situational scenarios like, don't hang around with her, whatever she has could be contagious, we need to hang around with the people we want to be like and emulate ran rampant in my mind.
Thoughts of I'm notgood enough and I don't know enough are even louder.
I plodded through my initial six-month contract and even the excitement of it being extended didn't cure my feelings of just not being good enough or that, sooner or later, people would find that out.
It took me a minute, but when I finally found the name for my ailment, I was taking the first steps to building up my sense of self and getting my power back. As previously mentioned, Google taught me that I was suffering from the rather debilitating Impostor Syndrome.
My self-diagnosis was affirmed by the transparency from accomplished celebrities like Viola Davis speaking on the subject and raising awareness around an issue that touches many people to varying degrees.
One article I read broke Impostor Syndrome down into three familiar areas: persistence, avoidance, and garnering approval. From the shared adage that "black people must work twice as hard. Harder than our white counterparts" to going to extreme lengths to be validated – Impostor Syndrome is reflective of the WOC experience in predominantly white spaces.
I won't say I have all, or even any, of the answers but what I will say is there is hope. Like many illnesses, it's about the prevention and not the cure, as I don't believe there is one for Impostor Syndrome.
However, I would like to share some of the things that have helped me overcome BIS, or at least better manage my feelings and help me feel pride to establish ownership of the spaces I occupy:
1. Appreciate The Big And Small Wins
I practice self-gratification every time I achieve something or generally get sh*t done. I own that moment and tick it off my list.
2. Focus On Representation Matters
I look at great examples around me, be it family and friends or public figures and celebrities. People that are unapologetically themselves, even if it only looks like that from the outside. I look at them not from a place of wanting to be them, but of examples of it can be done. Talent comes in all shapes, colors, and sizes, and the route to these successes may not be well-worn or traditional, but they are there.
3. Follow the Growth Mentality
Looking at each scenario, problem, or win, and working out what I can take from it has helped my mental substantially. Seeking knowledge from the experiences that happen to me by asking the question: what could I do differently next time or how can I build on my successes? This is a great way to evaluate a situation without unnecessary dwelling and a way to move on.
There is no quick fix to overcoming Impostor Syndrome. As black women in the form of educators, creatives, entrepreneurs, doctors will all tell you, they have struggled one time or another with feeling like enough or believing they have earned the success that has come to them. Despite the light that shines on us, we doubt ourselves. We believe that we are frauds.
Even though that's further from the truth.
The first step to becoming empowered by your seat at the table is knowing that you've earned a right to be there. To sit, to eat, to exist. Remind yourself that you are everything, you are worthy, and your existence and your presence in your respective industries and on this planet are valid. It's about owning your light and refusing to let it dim for anyone - even you. The simple act of being is all the confirmation needed.
Nowadays, when I catch myself asking me if I deserve the life I've been blessed with, I remind myself of the privilege it is for me to be me. You got this Queen.
We all got this.
How do you overcome Impostor Syndrome?
*Article Orginally Posted on The Other Box
xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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