The Journey: Dealing with the ‘Imposter Syndrome’

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By Samantha Brazie, Special to The Paper

Have you ever felt like you are a big fake? If you fail, have you ever told yourself it was because you were out of your lane? How about being recognized for something and chalking it up to luck, a fluke or fooling others?

Although women seem to be more willing to admit to feeling the ‘imposter syndrome,’ I believe this topic crosses the gender line.

Throughout my journey, there have been many places and times I have felt like an imposter, but the one that always seems to come back to me time and time again, is feeling like I don’t belong at the gym. Up until a few years ago, I felt like people were staring at me – wondering why I was even there. Wondering what I could possibly accomplish by exercising. I mean, I could hardly walk up the stairs to the cardio machines without being winded. I felt like I didn’t deserve to be there. After all, I did this to myself, right? I should just go back and hide at home where it was safe and no one would hurt my feelings.

And I did, more than a couple of times … but friends, one thing held true every single time I quit. Nothing changed. Nothing at all. Not until I decided to move past my feelings and do something to make a difference in my life. Not until I took charge and overcame the obstacles. Not until I admitted that I needed help and surrounded myself with people that were a positive influence and support system in my life.

Not only that, but my best friend (and not long after, my counselor as well) taught me something that I will never forget. Everyone has their own problems, and no one is paying nearly as much attention to you as you think they are (and on a side note, if they are – they have way worse issues than you my dear).

Once I realized that, things got a little easier. I realized that I was unfairly putting my issues on other people. Eventually, happiness became more of a daily habit than a fleeting feeling.

The most recent adventure I’ve been on is a fitness challenge with my gym – CrossFit Shakerag. The challenge included accountability with food, exercise and healthy lifestyle choices in general. My nutrition coach (Hope), trainer (Caitlin) and gym owner (Christy) all encouraged me to try something different than what I have done most of the year. The biggest challenge for me was taking CrossFit classes as that intimidated me like you would not believe. But I did it! I did everything I said I was going to and it gave me clarity in areas I’ve struggled with all year long.

Takeaways, you ask? I learned not to be afraid of what my body can do. While I may not be competing in the CrossFit games anytime soon, I realized that just about every person that walked in a structured class started at some scaled version and did their best – working their way up to do better than they thought they could the time before. I learned that food does not have to be the enemy. Eating right can feel very overwhelming but it’s not impossible!

From the outside looking in, it may seem that people at a certain weight or size have it easy, but they work for it! As bad as it is to make fun of those that are overweight, it’s just as bad to hate on people for their “perfect bodies.” Everyone has their own journey. So, live your life and don’t spend time thinking and worrying about what others think of you. This life is the only one any of us have. Don’t spend your days hiding when you could be embracing every day you have on this earth.

Questions? Comments? Email me at [email protected].

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