Self-Deception Is The Worst Deception
When I was accepted into graduate school, I was flooded with emotions. Excitement, yes. But, unfortunately, one of those emotions was self-doubt. I repeatedly thought to myself, "Grad school is a big deal. Am I grad school material?"
I took my first two classes and did well, which eased my feelings of doubt and fear; however, last semester, those feelings changed. One of the classes I was taking was Social Justice, Welfare Policy and Professional Legacy. The name of the class made me want to throw up. I repeatedly told myself that I knew nothing about social welfare policy and began to feel as though I was not smart enough for this class.
These feelings turned into actions during the semester, which made me begin dreading going to class. I refused to raise my hand or participate much in group activities, because I told myself that I was not as smart as the other students. In my mind, I was the dumb one.
Being that this class was about policy, there were very interesting hot-topics being covered, which were always followed by open discussions. I love open discussions in a classroom, and part of me wanted to voice my opinion and talk with my classmates, but the lies I was telling myself took over and told me that I was too stupid to hold an intellectual conversation with them, so I very rarely participated in these discussions.
All of these self-deprecating thoughts caused me to have an extreme amount of stress and anxiety during the entire semester. I made each assignment more difficult than it actually was by reminding myself that I was not smart enough to do the work, which resulted in a ridiculous amount of late nights in the library and all nighters.
When I checked my email for my grades at the end of the semester, I was shocked when I saw that I received a 4.0.
But not even a few minutes after celebrating my grades, I began to tell myself that there was no way that I earned a 4.0. I began recalculating my assignment grades from my classes and questioning if both my professors made a mistake.
As I write this, I struggle with the fact that I actually questioned my intelligence and ability to earn a 4.0. However, even though I look back on this experience with annoyance and I acknowledge that I was lying to myself, I cannot say that I won't do this again, because I'm human, but that does not mean that I have to acknowledge these lies and make them true.
Last semester did not need to be so stressful. I’m the one who made it that way. This semester, I hope to be more confident and remind myself that I am in graduate school because I am smart enough and I am good enough.
Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies in life. We tell ourselves lies and then we believe them, even though deep down we know they are exactly that--lies. It's time to stop the self-deprecating talk, and believe in ourselves, because if we don't, who will?
[This post was previously published by Project Wednesday.]
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In issue 2, you’ll find articles like:
- "On Heartbreak and Healing"
- "The Poison of Perfectionism"
- "In Defense of Loneliness"
- "How Corporate Killed My Creativity And How I Got It Back"
- "On What It Means to Matter: An Interview with Author Hannah Brencher"
And so much more—all real life stories to assure you that you’re not alone as you navigate life in your twenties.