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Am I an idiot?

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Am I an idiot?

Postby JohnDoe88 » Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:21 pm

I have what people might call a moderately successful life (so far). I have an awesome girlfriend, a great job, independence, whatever you want. And yet, I still feel I am an idiot. I have reached a great job position already and I am in the top of my professional field virtually worldwide, even if I am not even 30 yo. However, I still think I am an idiot. And I mean, there is voice in my head that say that I am an idiot. That I am not up to my task.

I have reached my current position one year ago, after a failed working experience in another organisation. Despite the previous failure, I landed on my feet and found a better position in a different organisation that allowed me not to be unemployed even for a single day. It is also a career improvement, but my voice says that it is only luck, that they offered me that because they had a wrong impression of who I was and what I was capable of. And that the position is not really better, but only comes with a better salary.

My work has been selected as runner-up for one of the most prestigious award in my field, no more than 3 weeks ago. I have discussed this with a sort of mentor I had in the previous organisation I worked for, which told me that I should be proud, that is a great achievement and that he does not know a single person who has been taken into consideration for the same prize, let alone someone younger than 30. However, I know for sure that I was selected as runner-up only because the body giving out such awards has a specific political agenda that happened to be overlapped with my work in the last 2 years. Therefore they selected me just because I was there with the right content at the right time. I do not really deserve this. And moreover, I have not won, but I am just a runner-up, which people seem not to understand. I am literally afraid that my current colleagues and boss would find out that I did not really deserve this.

Today I made a sort of error. I sent out an email to our partner and my boss told me that the tone of the email was off, too harsh, and that sending out such emails might back-fire. Despite the fact that he was not pissed off and that the tone of his email to me was not harsh, or even disappointed, i have fallen in a state of discomfort that is monopolising my mood and impeding me to be productive. Since I started work here (1y ago) this is the second time I make such mistake. Despite having no serious consequences, and despite being de facto the only significant mistakes I have made, and despite several token of appreciations from my boss and co-workers, I cannot physically avoid dark thought: that my boss thinks I am an idiot, that they will realise that I am not as good as they think, that my reputation is gone, and so on.

I know that I have already achieved something, and I am grateful for that. I realise that I have more than most of the people my age, that while most of my former high-school buddies struggle to gain independence I live of a comfortable salary in a comfortable house in a splendid city. But yet, I cannot avoid to think that I am - in the end - an idiot. Even while I am writing this post, a part of me is just saying that I am bragging about my achievements and that I want praise, and that I should be ashamed of this. I am afraid that if I don't learn how to cope with this voice in my head it is going to take an heavy toll on my life.

So this is it. My girlfriend (who by the way has a very similar story.... the irony) says that I might have a serious case of Impostor Syndrome... but in the and we just looked it up on Wikipedia :D. Is she right? What should I do? Do I have a problem? Am I... for the lack of a better word, crazy?
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Re: Am I an idiot?

Postby Rickamateur » Fri Jun 09, 2017 7:47 pm

I don't think you are crazy or an idiot. You're just being a human being where you are your own biggest critic. We all have those moments where we do a spectacular job but we are never happy with it like it's not perfect. From your post, you are indeed living a great life that many would envy for. Just keep doing what you're doing and, as long as you feel happy about all of this, keep it up.

It's true that, if you let this voice govern your life, you will feel miserable. My advice is to turn this into motivation where you work harder and aim for higher goals. Then, use your wealth, experience or whatever else you gain from your success to help other people. Chance are you won't ever stop criticizing yourself but, as you change the lives of other people, you will find a purpose that might give you a peace of mind that everything you did was meant to be. :)
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Re: Am I an idiot?

Postby ContactSilence » Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:27 am

You're definitely not an Idiot. I like the way you took control of your life and found a better job with people who appreciate you. And better pay also - score. Sounds like the actions of an intelligent, resourceful individual. But you know this.

First, I think you recognize, or as I like to say intelectualize, the fact that you are successful and that's good and an important factor to consider. I'm sure if you think about it, you can list many reasons you are competent in what you do. Intellectually, you know this. That considered, you can challenge the voice. Always try to intellectualize!

Second, you don't need to hear the positive from me or anyone else because you already know you are well off, and I don't mean that in a bad way. You have confidence, but there's a part of you telling you differently. You are successful, conscientious and exceptional at what you do and me telling you that won't fix your problem even though it's true. The problem is and the reason you bring your story to the forum is that you have this nagging inner voice. Your story, therefore doesn't represent bragging. It's you saying, hey, I'm not an idiot, but a voice is telling me I am!

So yes, you need to figure out the souce of the pesky voice which could be stemming from something as common as anxiety, or something more or less serious. It wouldn't hurt to talk this out with someone. If this is a new experience, that could mean something. If it comes and goes, that can have relevance. If the voice has always been there, it could be a sign of something else. If it begins to affect your work, that would be even more reason to consult with a professional.

I wish you well! Tc
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Re: Am I an idiot?

Postby UpDownAround » Sat Jun 17, 2017 1:34 pm

This may sound flippant, but it is not intended to be - as long as I am sure the voice(s) in my head is/are me, I am not concerned about my sanity. I am fairly self aware and I am flawed. That awareness is what causes me to seek help for truly worrisome flaws. Self aware me is a voice in my head. But self aware me is no less flawed than public facing me so some of the observations are suspect.
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