Thank God for internet, for if there is no internet, I would have struggled with trying to understand what Impostor Syndrome means. All my life, I though that my inability to take a compliment or a praise is because of my social anxiety, or probably because I am socially inept, or simply because I just don’t know how to function like a proper
human being adult. Also at the same time, I yearn for being complimented. Life is funny, isn’t it?
Let’s take a ride back to the past. All my life, the only time I ever took pride from a compliment or a praise given to me without a single bit of discomfort whatsoever was when I was in year 4 Primary School. My sister and I went with our dad to a bookstore one evening. He held both of our hands on each of his hands, I remembered I was on his left side. We were crossing the streets and my sister and I came up with a game, whoever step on the most white crossing line of the zebra crossing would win. I can’t remember what is the purpose of that game, but that seems like a good idea at the time. I ended up winning the weird game, and my sister was sulking about losing to me, a sister that is 16 months younger than her. Our dad looked at me and said, “good job and good strategy on stepping the white lines.” I have never in my life felt that proud at what little achievement I have made.
But that story was long gone. I don’t know what happened, but whenever I looked back at my life from where I am right now, I can never remember any other time that someone had complimented or praised me for something that I did and I would not feel weird or unworthy about it. I guess unworthy is a bit too strong of word to describe how I feel about it, I guess anxious and completely weirded out by the praise is probably the correct way of putting it. Every single time people compliment something about me, from the mundane things like probably my new shirt or to other more deserving of compliments like I did such a great presentation on something, all that went through my head was, “What am I suppose to say to that? Thank you? Would that suffice? Or would that made me seem obnoxious? What am I suppose to do anyway? Do I nod to to what he/she says? But that’s going to make me look like a smartypants. Should I just feign the compliment? But that’s going to make me look like I’m ungrateful? Agh! Social norms! Help me! What do I do in these situations?”
Basically, whenever anyone complimented me I’d go and turn into a heap of mess. Thankfully, years of taking up a role as fully functioning adult did come in handy. Now, I can pretend like I am basking and enjoying the compliment or the praise without seeming like an obnoxious person and an ungrateful one at the same time. The storm of endless questions still rage within my head, but that’s only for me to know. So, yeah, although the Impostor Syndrome test tells me that I only have 50% chance of being one (seriously, that does not helpful at all. 50? Really? Like right down the middle?), I don’t necessarily think my lack of confidence is due to Impostor Syndrome, it’s just I am a social heap of mess. Being the focus of someone else is not to my liking, but it does not mean I don’t take pride in my achievement (although I keep that to myself, there’s no need to parade your achievements, anyway).
One thing I have no yet managed in the 27 years of my life; I really have no idea what to do when a group of people sang me “Happy Birthday” song and gave me a cake with candles to blow. I know I’m suppose to blow the candles, but what do I do during the endless bloody song? 😱😱