No, this isn't clickbait. I am a travel blogger with Impostor Syndrome. Impostor Syndrome? Is this some type of new millennial mental health bullshit? No, actually. Impostor Syndrome says: a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud".
No, actually. Impostor Syndrome says: a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud".
For the last 3 years, I’ve tried SO hard to balance a full-time job, blogging, taking online tech and design courses, losing myself in a toxic relationship, attend graduate school, maybe take a trip or two in between... a total recipe for disaster. Travel blogging took a backseat in my many competing priorities and with that...
My follower count dropped.
And kept dropping.
Was I not the cool, fun, 20 something year old travel blogger that I thought I was or people thought I was? Oh, no. Here comes Sally sailing in Santorni or Bailey Balling out in Bali. I was Caren, the cruising but not crushing it travel blogger. How the hell could I compete with a 10K following, luxury sponsored posts, and a hot Instagram boyfriend?!
Surely, I was irrelevant.
Guys, I felt like a total failure. Between 2017 to now a number of things happened to me (this will be shared in a separate post) death in the family, diagnosis of a terminal illness for another family member, unemployment and severe anxiety and taking self-esteem. I went absent on social media because it really was starting to affect my mental health.
I fight back almost on daily slur of negative thoughts: “Just give up”, “No one likes your content anymore. There are more relevant bloggers out there.Your pictures suck, you hardly write”.
Who the hell is that mean to themselves ?
I started to compare myself to a curated life I didn’t have. I wanted the following, the brand deals, I think more importantly I wanted to be liked. Some of my peers are making $100K brand deals and I kicked myself for not having tried harder. The difference is that they believed in their art and themselves. I didn’t. I wanted their success but didn't want to put in the time and effort anymore.
It wasn’t until recently that I received a message by one of my followers on Instagram that made me rethink and refocus:
Hi, Caren. it’s such a pleasure to speak with you! I love your profile, you are super charismatic and authentic!
Honestly, I needed that small validation. Words of affirmation are my bread and butter.
I was trying to emulate bloggers that really didn’t align to or share my voice or purpose. I was just “another vain travel blog”.
I had lost my voice and purpose of why I started this blog in the first place. Which is to help other women who want to solo travel.
While I still struggle with Impostor Syndrome, I am more commitment to myself and my audience to be authentic and produce content that is in line with my voice, brand. The likes and followers don’t bother me as much anymore. And I am slowly taming the Impostor Syndrome beast with this new mindset change, supportive friends and family, self-care and self love.