Imposter syndrome. What a nightmare, bullshit feeling. I feel like, unless you’re an absolute sociopath, every person experiences Imposter Syndrome at some point in their life.
Why is it that, regardless of how many people tell us (nay, even PAY us) to do the jobs we want and love to do, there’s at least a little part of us that says, “How dare you think you’re good enough to get paid the dollars to do this work?” It’s such an overwhelming feeling.
I feel it almost constantly with my work as a doula. I’ve been doing this work for four years and, save the first two or three clients, I’ve been getting paid good money to do the work. When I’ve talked with therapists about my work, I’m super confident in my capabilities. I’m good under pressure. I don’t get phased by crises that aren’t mine. I can help my clients think logcially through all their options. I almost always know exactly what to say at any given moment during a labor and delivery. I work well with pretty much every doctor, midwife, and nurse I’ve ever come across.
So why, when I’m by myself and alone with my thoughts, am I constantly judging myself and questioning my abilities? There’s the part of me that thinks I have absolutely no business charging money for the work I do (despite having been hella trained and have successfully helped SO MANY people birth their babies). There’s the part of me that thinks this doubt is just my brain’s way of keeping me humble. What a load of absolute nonsense. Some of the most successful people I know, across a zillion fields, have never once said something so ridiculous. There’s nothing wrong with not just being, but knowing, you’re good at your job
Without getting too deep into it, I honestly think a lot of Imposter Syndrome is a product of our weird capitalist society. Literally everything we do has to be monetized and quantified. There’s a not-very-small part of me that wishes we lived in a bartering society. Just simple tradesies for goods and services. I know it’s not that simple. But I wish it was.
For my entire working life, I’ve never been paid more than $42,000 annually. [And another thing: why are we so afraid of talking salaries and wages? Honestly, we should be more open about it. It would solve a lot of issues.] That’s an absolutely laughable wage. A person cannot functionally survive on that low an amount of money. On top of that, I AM EDUCATED. I paid twice that for my college degree, so in what universe do I not think I deserve to make at least that much annually? There are way too many companies out there that have ridiculous requirements for entry level pay. It’s absolute bullshit.
I’ve been doing way too much work over the course of my life for little to no pay. Most of the yoga instruction I’ve done has basically been free. I AM A TRAINED INSTRUCTOR. I deserve to be paid for my work!
So no more. No more, y’all. Stop doing your work for pennies. Stop taking less than you know you deserve. And if you don’t know what you’re worth, 1) Google your field and find out what you’re worth, and 2) get friends like I have who will brow beat you into believing your worth.
It’s amazing what a good group of smart friends can help you understand about yourself. And when you start to doubt yourself again (as we all inevitably will), hit up those friends again.
We don’t need to walk around with low self worth. We’re all worth a lot more than we believe.