The Impostor Syndrome and How I Try to Battle It

“The enemy of creativity is self-doubt.”
Sylvia Plath

You know this feeling. This feeling of not-good-enoughness. A lack of self-confidence. Self-doubt, like how Plath puts it, fetters us from doing our art. The impostor syndrome. If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically when someone feels doubtful of their own capabilities and undeserving of their accomplishments whilst housing this nagging, irrational fear that they might one day be exposed as ‘frauds’ in their field. I grew up with it. Always caught in situations that had me believing I’m not good enough. Still battling with it every now and then. When I receive compliments or positive feedback, I tend to shy away, fearful that I’m not qualified enough to do what I’m doing, and have this repeated in my head: “Am I even doing this thing right? I’m really nothing”. Where is the line that divides humility and self-doubt? I know on one hand, we should humble ourselves because we really are nothing in relation to who we are as His slaves, but on the other, we should be grateful that we are given the human capacity to be something, and be proud of what we can achieve.

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A few months back I conducted a poll on Instagram and it seems that I’m not alone in this. I’m relieved, knowing I’m not the only one feeling this way. I talk to myself over and over regarding this. And I think I know a solution to it.

It is to always, always, always refresh my intentions. To remember my purpose. I turned to His words and He gave me the answers:

“[He] who created life and death to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed.”
Qur’an, 67:2

“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.”
Qur’an, 51:56

Do that good deed and race after it. Create that art. Grow a community. Raise the funds. Write that book. Show up and do you. If you put your right intentions to it, if you put Allah in the centre, it becomes worship. So do that worship and live by that purpose. Who guarantees an entire life ahead of us? And whatever good that we do, we attribute it back to the source of all Good. We don’t have to shun from it, we credit it to the rightful Owner. We are worthy vessels doing our work to please our Creator.

So whenever I feel unworthy of doing what I am blessed to be doing, I should keep asking Him for ease & conviction in my work and ask myself these basic things:

  1. How much time do I actually have left on this earth?
  2. Who am I doing this for?

Because all of this that I do? It’s really all for You.

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