14 votes

How do you get over Impostor Syndrome, especially in romantic relationships?

Have you ever dated someone you felt was "out of your league," or gotten a job you felt unqualified for? What was it like, and how did you overcome it?

6 comments

  1. Grendel
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    For both of those situations I try to focus on working hard and improving. Maybe I am under qualified for my job, but there's no reason I can't grow into it. It's the same with a relationship. You...

    For both of those situations I try to focus on working hard and improving. Maybe I am under qualified for my job, but there's no reason I can't grow into it. It's the same with a relationship. You can try to use those feelings to make yourself a better partner.

    On a last note, try writing down the positive compliments you get from your boss and/or partner. Having that to look back on can help you on your harder days.

    11 votes
  2. vivaria
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    For romantic relationships, it helps me to acknowledge that there's not really an objective way to rank humans as better or worse. In theory, there might be some rough guidelines, but preference...

    For romantic relationships, it helps me to acknowledge that there's not really an objective way to rank humans as better or worse. In theory, there might be some rough guidelines, but preference varies a lot from person to person. What one person finds attractive might be hideous to another, and what one person can tolerate might be dealbreakers for others.

    So, the threshold for being "good enough" for someone else is... quite low? Assuming you're not an absolute arsehole and can treat people with kindness/respect/understanding, the rest can be chalked up to the mysterious, hard-to-define magic that makes chemistry happen. Almost anyone's unique mix of personal qualities can be a match for someone.

    If you're worried about superficial things like appearance (she's a 10 but i'm only a 5! i'm fat and she's thin! etc.), the size/shape of your naughty bits, what kind of music you're into, etc. those things definitely fit the "objective rankings are bunk" bit I wrote about above. I find it helps to have a conversation with your partner about your insecurities, too. They might be able to help you understand what it is about you that they like most, and what it is that's important to them in particular. It can be hard, though, to see yourself through their eyes. But, acknowledging that it is a different set of eyes is helpful.


    Job's a whole 'nother thing. Fuck that shit! Rigid expectations for you to conform to an narrow, idealised set of traits. Money and Business Performance Metrics on the line. Much less likely that someone will be understanding of the Complex Human Being That Is You. Much less likely that you connect with people who will accommodate for your unique needs and abilities. You're as "good" as <the people you work with> and the <people you report to> think you are? They're the ones with your livelihood in your hands. I don't really like that idea of self-worth but I need money to survive so I guess I gotta play along.

    11 votes
  3. mrbig
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    A psychologist once told me only the insane have certainty. Regular people are usually insecure, with good reason. At any point, everything you love can go up in flames. After all, life is...

    A psychologist once told me only the insane have certainty. Regular people are usually insecure, with good reason. At any point, everything you love can go up in flames. After all, life is suffering.

    I'll talk about relationships because this theme is more prevalent in my life right now.

    You don’t overcome "impostor syndrome", you embrace it. Maybe that someone is out of your league, and that's okay. Why do you need to be in the same league as your partner? And what is this "league" anyway? Who establishes the criteria for ascribing people to different leagues? That's a very subjective concept, and like everything subjective it is subjected to lots of very particular variations.

    Regardless, stillness is an illusion. Everything is moving, trembling, changing positions ever so slightly. A healthy relationship can be represented as a wave graph: who's up and who's down depends on numerous factors. A healthy relationship is not a competition, but a dynamic emotional entanglement. When you're low, let yourself be low and simply admire your partner for the marvelous being he/she is (without losing sight that you're also worthy of appreciation). When you're up, welcome your partners' admiration (without forgetting that your partner is also worthy of praise).

    When you accept the fact that every human being is fundamentally vulnerable, you can relax and let yourself go through the motions naturally and organically. Do not overcome your weakness: become your weakness. Be water, my friend.

    4 votes
  4. Arshan
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    I can comiserate on insecurities when it comes to romantic relationships; it is the predominat reason I have never been in a serious romantic relationship, so this doesn't speak directly on...

    I can comiserate on insecurities when it comes to romantic relationships; it is the predominat reason I have never been in a serious romantic relationship, so this doesn't speak directly on imposter syndrome. I have gotten over the worst of my insecurities with time. My personal method for overcoming them was to acknowledge that they were vague and meaningless. But overall, I would recommend talking to the person that feels out of your league as @vivaria mentioned. Assuming you are in a romantic relationship, there are real reasons that they want to be in the relationship as well.

    2 votes
  5. Gaywallet
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    I see a good deal of people advocating self reflection and other types of tools to get over impostor syndrome, but I would like to stop for a second and evaluate what impostor syndrome could be...

    I see a good deal of people advocating self reflection and other types of tools to get over impostor syndrome, but I would like to stop for a second and evaluate what impostor syndrome could be doing to your relationship.

    If you truly believe that your partner is out of your league, what are you likely to do? If you are a naturally anxious person, this might cause you to be on edge. If you're anxious and on edge, you are likely to be avoidant out of fear of them discovering who you truly are, or simply because your anxiety is causing you to withdraw. Rather than focus on trying to fix the impostor syndrome directly, you should focus on how being avoidant might affect the relationship and how you can ensure it doesn't. Open lines of communication are absolutely necessary here so that your partner knows how you are feeling and why you react the way you do. You'll also want to check in regularly to ensure that you're meeting their needs - this is something you should already be doing in a healthy relationship anyways, so it's just a good constant reminder (and may make you appear to be an even better partner because you're regularly reminding yourself as opposed to checking in when things seem to not be working correctly).

    Alternatively, if you are not an anxious person or have a relatively balanced relationship, believing that your partner is out of your league might motivate you to do things you think will put you closer to being in their league. This could be the motivation for you to start taking physical exercise and healthy eating seriously. Or it might motivate you to really invest in your hobbies. Or it might make you read some more books to improve your emotional intelligence or understand better how to take care of your partner. If them being out of your league is a force of motivation and inspiration, you should focus on harnessing this and using it as a stimulus or catalyst to begin to change yourself in the ways you've always wanted to change but never got around to.

    1 vote
  6. ThatFanficGuy
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    There was something Taliesin Jaffe, a voice actor and a tabletop player of Critical Role fame, said in an interview, about his regrets: All the way before the end of 2019, I had this feeling that,...

    There was something Taliesin Jaffe, a voice actor and a tabletop player of Critical Role fame, said in an interview, about his regrets:

    It's always things where like, "I don't know if I'm the best person for that gig" or "I don't know if I feel like I have enough experience with this thing", and then I watch the person that does take it, just make a shit show of it, and I'm like, "Oh, for fuck's sake"...

    All the way before the end of 2019, I had this feeling that, no matter how nice the project looks or feels, I don't have the it to do it, whether it's talent, skill, experience, equipment... Then I started working on Intergrid.

    It started as a fun side project where I attempted to replicate a piece of software I admired. Eventually, as its scope grew, so did the challenges I had to face – but since it was nothing but a side project, each challenge appeared as only an interesting way to overcome my lack of experience. "How does this work?" turned into "So this is how you implement it in JS!".

    It wasn't until about one third of the development that I realized: "Oh yeah, this is serious, and I was able to do serious". Serious things – things that have meaning to the outside world – suddenly became possible, and so I've been busying myself with those, big and small, recently.

    I think the reason I never had an inkling of the impostor syndrome was because I've always been confident in my ability. Not the work process necessarily, and not the work ethics, but the ability to make manifest the thing I imagined; and if I couldn't do what I wanted, I'd become angry at the world for not providing me with the right tools – and set out to find them on my own. In my teenage years it meant taking on projects far beyond the scale I could reasonably command: games that were a big undertaking even for an AAA team, books of EPIC fiction, then writing a decent story in a language I was only starting to learn...

    All of this boils down to exploring my limits while maintaining the same zeal for creation. Now I know that this thing is something I'm very interested in but will take much more research than I can land in a reasonable time, so I'll postpone it and let it marinade at the back of my mind until it's ready – but that thing is within reach of a few months' work, and is meaningful, and can work, so it's worth taking up now that I don't have anything else on my plate.

    Getting here took a few years, a few important projects that ended up unfinished, and a few great moments of embarrassment that I didn't appreciate at the moment but can see the benefit of in hindsight.

    If I ever start thinking about the scale of Intergrid as a whole, I will become quickly discouraged from any work about it. Making one small thing, though, is never a thing I can't do. Lines of code make up an application.

    A surprising amount of serious, meaningful, valuable things opened their arms to me once I start asking for them. This seems to hold true for most things.