How to navigate through emotions and feelings. Specifically imposter syndrome which I feel like our generation has. We are expected to be damn near perfect. When we get into certain settings and pull back into our shells. The best advice you get from desi parents is you’ll figure it out or koi naa. 

Age: 26

Hi friend, 

Thanks for this question.

I hear you on the impostor syndrome and feeling like you need to have everything figured out all the time, and I also agree that our parents likely have no idea what impostor syndrome is, or the pressure that comes with needing to “make it” to make all of their sacrifices worth it.

Let me start by letting you in on a little secret: no one actually knows what’s going on or actually has it all figured out. Everyone who tells you that they do is lying to you or to themselves, or both. 

Which, as far as I see it, is quite ok.

Hear me out: half of the people you meet or know are waging their own internal mental warfare, chasing a far off goal or the acceptance of others that they feel will make them feel good enough. 

No one is ever honest about this, because with social media dictating so much of our lives, the pressure to be perfect is at an all time high. 

We are always convinced that everyone else is far more successful, attractive, and overall just having a better time than us, and by comparison, we don’t think we can measure up. 

Most of the time, however, the secret to “success,” is just convincing yourself that you know what you’re doing, that you are good enough, and that you deserve good things to happen to you.

AKA, the ancient wisdom of “fake it till you make it.”

Good things come to those who are delusional!

There have been many moments in my life when I have entered rooms where I felt out of place, not good enough or not smart enough, or overall intimidated by what I thought was an experience I was not ready for. 

I often just told myself: if you weren’t ready, you wouldn’t have the opportunity.

I learned that you'll never be put in a situation you aren't ready for— so while you may be utterly terrified, or even if you find yourself in uncharted territory and want more than anything to as you said, “pull back in your shell,” remember that you deserve the opportunity or experience you are having. 

I often just pretended I knew what I was doing and saying, and the fake confidence often translated into real confidence, because I realized that the only person I truly had to prove something to, was myself. 

You’re not the only person experiencing and navigating self doubt, and I can assure you that even the people you look up to or think have it together sometimes feel not good enough or don’t know what they’re doing.

I know this is sometimes easier said than done, and I understand that even faking confidence can be scary, but sometimes I look around at how many people have opportunities they likely shouldn’t have (shout out to nepotism babies), and what got them there was just the sheer delusion alone that they deserved to be there and that no one can tell them otherwise.

So, be delusional. Even if you don’t think anyone else believes in you, bet on yourself and believe you can do it and honestly, see what you can achieve.

You don’t need to have it all figured out, because even if our parents may not understand it in our context, they too had to just get sh*t done, because there truly was no other option. 

Maybe they didn’t know how to find a job in another country, learn a new language, purchase a home, have and raise kids, and everything in between—but they figured it out, and you will too.

So remember, you’re not the only one, and you got this—even if you have to convince yourself of it every step of the way.

I mean think about it, I’m the one giving you advice, and I’m not really sure who said I was qualified for this in the first place.



(f you too find yourself in need of advice, submit future questions and submissions anonymously for "Sh*t you can't ask your parents," here.)

About the author

Rumneek Johal

Rumneek is a journalist, host and speaker. She is currently the BC Reporter at Press Progress where she focuses on systemic inequality, workers and communities, as well as racism and far-right extremism. Her previous work centers on asking tough questions within her community, starting conversation and chipping away at the status quo. Other focus areas for her work include the South Asian community, arts and culture, pop culture, and more. She is a proud Punjabi woman from Surrey, BC.

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