Any kind of major life change is difficult. Whether that’s moving somewhere new, starting college or a career, or losing or gaining new people in your life, there’s always a sense of unfamiliarity. The understanding that things in your life have changed, and that you might’ve been changed along with them.
Over the course of our short stay on this spinning blue marble, we’re more or less forced to grow as people in order to keep confronting whatever challenges life decides to throw us. This growth might make us better-adjusted in social situations, or we might be better at one of our passions or more well-versed in academia.
But sometimes it’s difficult to accept and understand that growth, that we aren’t the same people we were years ago. When things start going our way for once, past experiences might start nagging at us, saying “Nope, this isn’t the way things are supposed to be. It’s all going to go wrong soon, just you wait.”
It’s been termed “impostor syndrome” or that feeling of doubt about your abilities or accomplishments, and the possible fear that people will find out you’re a fraud and everything about you isn’t really you.
Most people will feel this at least once in their lives. So that’s fun, we can all suffer it together. For me, I feel it most in social situations and relationships. I never really got invited to hang out with people when I was younger, on account of me being a little weird and not knowing how to talk to people. As opposed to now, where I’m still a little weird and still don’t really know entirely how to talk to people, but don’t worry about that.
It’s this pervasive feeling that always seems to creep up on me. I could be hanging out with friends after they invited me out. Friends that I’m pretty sure like and care about me, but I’ll get this sense that eventually, they’ll decide that I’m actually not that cool of a person, and they shouldn’t hang out with me.
I think I’m still stuck in the past, at least a little. Back when I practically repulsed everyone by how awkward I could be. People say that high school is such a small part of your life that doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. And yeah, while that’s true for the most part, some of it can really stick with you for awhile, especially if you had a really bad experience. Your sense of self-worth and self-confidence can die there, and it can take years to get that back.
You’re a little different every time you look in the mirror. You’re aging every day after all. But the changes are so small, so gradual, that you might just never notice them, even when a completely different person is staring back at you.
The past, and the person you used to be, can be hard to let go of. If you’re feeling undeserving of what you have, like they’re not meant for you, it might be a good time to look at yourself. At what you’ve done, at what’s happened to you, at how you’ve changed. Maybe the you from five years ago could never have the life that you do now. But that was a different you, it’s not the same person in the mirror. It’s not the same person that others see.
I’m also told therapy is helpful. I’d totally go for that if it didn’t cost so much.