Adulting 101: Imposter Syndrome

Calling all university students, new parents, first “real job” employees, first time teachers, graduate students, and anybody else in their 20’s to early 30’s: What… the hell… is happening?! We have reached this point in our lives where we are technically adults. Sometime we feel like our job is to make everyone around us believe that to be true. We put on a smile and say “I know exactly what I’m doing!” while peeking around to see if anyone else is faking it just like we are. We ask ourselves “Am I ready to be a parent to another human being?” “My boss actually trusts me with these important accounts?” “People are actually paying me to care for, teach, or treat another person?” Don’t they know I’m not prepared for this?! I am an imposter in this place… everyone around me knows what to do except for me…We wonder how people trust us because we aren’t trusting ourselves. We don’t want to make a mistake for fear that our mask will fall off and everyone will see how vulnerable and confused we are. When the truth is… everyone else is feeling imposter syndrome in some aspect of their life just like we are. We never really have all the answers and that is ALRIGHT. Basically, nobody else has a clue what is going on either. Use this to empathize with yourself and others. Let’s talk about ways to manifest more feelings of capability in your sense of adulthood.

Ok, deep breath. The truth is… you do belong here. You are capable. The fact that you are questioning your capability means that you care. Instead of questioning all of the things that you DON’T know, remind yourselves of all that you do know. You have 20+ years of experience on this earth! You have experienced all ranges of emotions, interacted with all different types of people, and learned the technical skills needed to do your job. Even if you were not taught how to do something, you have gained enough resources over time to figure out a solution. Take some time to reflect on who you are and all that you have learned. Think about all of the different transformations that you have been through. You are not the same as you were when you were 10, 14, 17, or even 21 (thank goodness). Think about all of the very difficult things that you have accomplished! Being a human being comes with its own set of challenges and you are OWNING THEM. Think about ways in which you are happy with your transformations.

If you feel that something is holding you back, take time to understand it before trying to solve it. If it seems like too big of a task, ask for help. Instead of putting all of your energy into understanding the world around you, take some time to understand yourself because you have everything that you need to solve your problems. You are not waiting to become an adult. YOU ALREADY ARE. You are not waiting to be capable. You already are. Talk to your family, your friends, and your therapist about what is troubling you. Sometimes just talking it out can create enough clarity to find a solution.

Change your language. If you find that you are always talking about what is stressing you out or how hard life is, change your language. Talk about challenges as opportunities. Talk about things that you are excited for, not just things that you are dreading. When other people are feeling down about adulting, empathize and try to motivate them. The more that we talk about negativity in our lives, the more that we solidify a negative state of mind. We are literally telling our bodies to be sad and defeated and it will oblige. Try to manifest more positivity in your day to day life.

Don’t be ashamed of things that bring you joy. If you like to dance, color, watch cartoons, eat Trix cereal (even though these things are for kids), DO IT ANYWAYS. Nobody said that you have to give up your youth and things that bring you joy. You are human and you have no other expectations than the ones that you give yourself. Do things that make you happy even if they don’t fit the status quo.

Lastly, if something needs to change eventually, why not make it now? If you hate your job, explore why that is and figure out your options. If you are unhappy in your relationship, talk about it with your partner. If you are not happy with your body, talk to a fitness professional. If you are unhappy with your mind, talk to a therapist. We must manifest the change that we wish to see for ourselves. You can do this!

Scroll to Top

Special sliding scale rates for unemployed Chicago residents.