“We would like you to be highlighted for our spring newsletter. Could you send us some information about yourself, a short bio? You can also add information about your career and the current class you are teaching here.”
I received this email a few months ago to let me know the school I’m an adjunct professor at (it’s also my alma mater) wanted to showcase me in the spring newsletter. And the question I asked myself upon reading this was, “Why?” You see, I have this problem with accepting compliments and being honored by others and organizations. It’s not that I don’t think I’m deserving of the accolades but I don’t think I have done anything significant to warrant being the “staff of the month”. Yet, there is this desire, deep down inside of me, to be acknowledged. At my full-time job, they are accepting nominees for the annual staff awards and I wonder why I have not yet been chosen. Haven’t they seen the job I do? Why do they call me for feedback or assistance if they won’t give me this award?
Have you noticed the running conflict of my thoughts? I wonder how many of you have felt the same as I do…and where the heck does this come from.
I would like to think there is some existential or psychoanalytical way to explain this internal conflict but I won’t bore you with that. Is this impostor syndrome? (If you've never heard of this, here is an article from Start UP Bros to explain impostor syndrome and what you can do about it.
Why can’t I just accept the people who do recognize me and leave the rest? I think of one of the first times I encountered this conflict. I was honored with Student of the Month for the district in my home town. My Mom was so proud. At the time (I was a pre-teen), I wondered why was I so special compared to the other students. Of course, there have been other incidents in my adulthood but seeing that the picture with the Superintendent and my favorite teacher in Elementary school still sits on my Mom’s bookcase, it reminds me I was special. I am special. I have always been.
“You Are A Badass!” by Jen Sincero, my current read, tells me to use positive affirmations and say “thank you”. I am doing some real badassery things that I had no clue about. I am making an impression. I am showing up. And in my moments when I lack commitment and my mind wanders off to never never land, someone is watching the works I have done. They are thinking to highlight me in their newsletter, they are asking me to speak to their class, and they are seeking my opinion. They are my friends who tell me to “start that blog!”, “you’re my style guru”, “I know I can talk to you because you listen without judgment”. I hear these things and it warms my heart in the moment, but then I think this is what I am supposed to do. I am supposed to show up for others. And as I write this, I realize showing up for them is accepting their gratitude and allowing them to appreciate me without rejecting them.
So I sent in my short bio for the newsletter, I say “yes” to speaking to the students of their classrooms, and I secretly hope I will be given that staff award because I able capable of and should accept the accolades I am blessed to have come my way.