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Breaking up with Imposter Syndrome

Hey Imposter Syndrome,


You’ve been in my life for a long time. I don’t even know how we got to be friends, although I guess it’s one of those friendships out of nostalgia. I thought you'd be good for me back in the day, and in school Dad said you probably kept down my ego.


But it’s gotten to the point that it’s time we part ways.


Last night I wasn’t able to sleep because your voice in my head was so loud. Ever since I left Malawi, I’ve been on a rampage of cleaning and socializing and trying my best to not think about you, but it’s not working out.


You still find a way to maintain contact, and it’s only fueling my anxious thoughts.


I’ve always had this sense of knowing you weren’t fully good for me, knowing you weren’t providing a sense of healthy stability in my life, but at the same time, not knowing how to say goodbye to you.


It doesn’t help that many others say that you aren’t that bad to have around.


I don’t think my inner circle of friends - where honestly? You don’t belong but somehow still manage to squeeze into - get it, because they don’t have to listen to your voice in the middle of the night, or right before a really great opportunity.


If I talk to you about any of the successes in my life, you’re not celebrating with me. You don’t say “Let’s break out the champagne”; you tell me “How on earth did you deserve this?”

It’s not even asking, it’s not even a voice of wonder and curiosity; your voice is belittling and unkind.

I don’t feel great about seeing you on the sidelines, watching me fail instead of cheering me on. And yet you seem to enjoy it!


That’s not the kind of friend I want in my life.


And this voice is if I'm in a group scenario.


If I’m on my own? You know how I like to go out for coffee with a book in a quiet setting? I don’t know how you manage to find me - I’ve actually learnt to hide myself from you - but you pop up for a ‘quick conversation’, and somehow end up tearing me down.


It’s a little bit terrifying for me to put this out there, especially on a public platform, but…

I need to break up with you.

It's just not working out anymore. I know the line "It's not you, it's me", is so cliche, but it's actually true. Things have shifted for me, and I don't think you have a place in my life anymore.


Since we’re on the topic, and since I’m feeling a bit brave, I need to bring up something else that’s shifted, and that actually has to do with me calling you out on something that's been bothering me:


I know you don’t like my new friend Confidence. For some reason you think that she’s quite arrogant, but honestly?


Confidence is the friend I want in my life.


She’s hilarious, and willing to take risks, and she isn’t scared of putting herself out there, which inspires me to do the same (all the things that you don’t do). And I know that the real reason you actually don’t like her is because she’s starting to take up more space in my life, and that’s making you feel neglected.


Whilst I can empathize with feelings of loss and neglect, like I mentioned earlier, this isn’t about you Imposter Syndrome.


I’m moving on in my life, and I’m trying to make healthier decisions for myself. If you were really my friend, you'd understand.


Confidence understands.


Thanks to Confidence, I know that I do deserve to live the best version of my life.


And the sad part is that you never supported me in that decision. You don't believe I deserve to live my best life.


On the note of new friendships, there’s another new friend as well who I’ve avoided introducing to you (purely because I’m scared; talk about a red flag!), and that’s Self-love.


Self-love is so kind to me. Self-love is the one telling me to not tolerate disrespect from anyone, especially from someone like you. And I’m shaking a little as I’m writing this, welling up with gratitude, but Self-love is the best friend I need right now. It was Self-love who suggested I take a break from you, and I know you’ll tell me to try to make my own decisions, but on this particular aspect, I agree with her.


And since asking you to leave isn’t working (I have been so patient with you), I’m kicking you out.


You need to learn to be a better friend Imposter Syndrome.

Making people question their worth isn’t okay.

Putting people down isn’t okay.

Criticising people isn’t okay; don’t tell me it’s constructive criticism, it is not.


Even then, I know it isn’t going to be easy to get you to say goodbye. You’ve gotten very comfortable in my life, and there was a point in time where I felt very comfortable with you too.


I’m sorry it’s come to this, Imposter Syndrome. I hope you can take out some time for yourself and figure out who you really are, because I do think you can be better.


Everyone can be.


Now if you don’t mind (actually, I don’t think I care even if you do), I haven’t slept at night. I’ve got Self-love sitting next to me, actually holding my hand, and telling me to let you go, so that I can go back to sleep.


Please don’t pop back in for a ‘quick hello’; there really isn’t a place in my heart for you anymore.


-Athira

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