What does authentic even mean anymore? I’ve realized that we’ve all become so conditioned to judge what people put out there for us to judge—whether we realize it or not—that their true selves garner thoughts of “you are so not what I would have pictured IRL.” And that could be a good thing…or a not so good thing. So where does this judgment stem from?
I like to think of myself as an impartial person and try to give everything an opportunity to show its true self when given the chance. But that’s the narrative I’ve created for myself, and quite honestly, if I actually take the time to analyze how often I follow this self-made truth, I’d be pretty disappointed. In fact, I’m pretty guilty of being a hypocrite in some ways.
As someone who owns a creative business and has also inadvertently established a personal brand, I feel this internal pressure to live up to the ideals that put me in this box. In my mind, I should be creative, but not gimmicky, artistic enough while not feeling like it’s forced, and quirky yet intriguing. So like anyone else who exists in the social media realm, I put content out there that highlights those key points. I try to look like my sh*t is put together effortlessly and for a few weeks, it works. But then I fall off…
Because the truth is…what I’m putting out into the world as far as social media goes isn’t authentic. At least, not of me. When it comes to being creative and artistic, I take full ownership of these buckets. I’m visual, and the way my brain works aligns with the stereotypical creative ideals, so that part is easy. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do my job so well as a designer and content creator. But as far as the rest goes, the way I represent myself is not what I really feel.
That’s probably also why I’ve subconsciously created a lot of distrust for so many other profiles out there.
It’s not you, it’s me. It’s actually me.
The root of this distrust stems from imposter syndrome and when you feel like an imposter, being authentic is about as successful as painting the sky green. It just can’t work. If you’re not familiar with imposter syndrome, it’s the idea that a person doubts his or her accomplishments while having an ongoing fear he or she will be determined as a fraud. I’ve long convinced myself I don’t have this mental blockade, but it eventually reared its ugly head during the pandemic and the years of suppressing it actually made it worse.
So can imposter syndrome turn into judgment of others? Absolutely. It’s projecting at its finest and I am guilty. It’s not an easy pill to swallow when you realize that you’ve been a judge-y social media brat. However, I’m taking a lot of time to self-reflect and really understand how to silence this voice while getting to know myself better in a way where I can comfortably and authentically share with the rest of the world.