Have you ever had this haunting thought that you are a fraud? That you’re masquerading as someone you’re not? Or perhaps you’re not capable enough for the role you’ve taken on, be it a professional endeavour or a personal milestone. Maybe you’ve felt like you’re only pretending to be an adult… Well, let me tell you this: Most people have felt this way too! Ever heard of Imposter Syndrome?
In this post, we’ll be diving into the depths of and how to cope with imposter syndrome. We’ll be exploring its grasp on our self-perception. I’ll also include tips that may help you rise above the self-doubt and uncertainty that often accompanies it.
What's imposter syndrome?
No matter how much or what you’ve accomplished, many of us still hold on to self-doubts and beliefs that we aren’t as smart as others think we are. Actually, sometimes we may feel like we’re not even capable at all! This is called imposter syndrome (or otherwise known as imposter phenomenon). It’s the idea that you’ve only succeeded due to luck, and not because of your talent or qualifications.
The anxious thoughts you get, the self-accusations of being a fraud… All part of a phenomenon known as imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is pretty much a pattern of thinking that usually leads to self-doubt, negative self-talk and at times, missed opportunities.
Recognising imposter syndrome
Symptoms of imposter syndrome
Feelings of self-doubt can bring quite a lot of fear, stress and anxiety. You might cut yourself off from the people you know and trust out of fear of being seen the way you’re envisioning yourself in your head. Studies have suggested imposter syndrome affect your professional career due to lower performance and satisfaction at work, whilst increasing burnout. It has also been linked to anxiety and depression.
Symptoms of imposter syndrome may include:
- Downplaying accomplishments and milestones.
- Feeling that overworking is the only way to meet expectations.
- Crediting luck or any other possible reason for your success/achievements.
- Fear of being seen as a failure, clueless or even, incapable of doing anything at all.
- Intense feeling that you’re unworthy.
- Holding back from reaching attainable goals.
A good example of imposter syndrome is when someone avoids speaking up or asking questions for fear that people might think you’re clueless. Another example is when someone who’s in a relationship feels unworthy of their partner’s affection, fearing that their unlovable and that their partner will discover they’re not actually that great.
How to cope with imposter syndrome?
And there’s the golden question that’s probably on your mind: How to cope with imposter syndrome? How to take decisions without letting it get in the way?
Well, it’s worth noting that impostor syndrome affects all kinds of people from all walks of life. Interestingly enough, it’s often people who are hard workers, high achievers and perfectionists who are most likely to feel like frauds — this includes people like doctors, lawyers, academics, new business owners, artists and so on…
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— Acknowledge the thoughts 💭
One of the first steps to cope with and overcome the impostor feelings is to acknowledge the thoughts and put them in perspective. Feeling these ‘insecurities’ does not take away any of your skillsets or talents. You’re capable just as much as anyone who does not experience this.
— Sharing is caring 🫂
Sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust may result to be helpful. You might be surprised with how many people experience this. Sometimes knowing someone who experienced the same thoughts can make it seem less scary and more normal. You can also seek help from a professional psychologist.
— Keep sight of your accomplishments 🏆
When you’re feeling undeserving of your milestones and accomplishments, it can be helpful to have a reminder of your successes close by. Whether it’s a starred WhatsApp message from someone close to you, an email from your manager at work, or a photograph of a special time when you felt like you conquered the world… Having something to hold on to can boost our thoughts away from a negative headspace.
Don't compare yourself! 🙅🏽
Comparing your milestones and successes to those of your peers can sometimes leave you feeling like you don’t measure up. Maybe your sibling or a close friend just landed your dream job whilst you’re working somewhere you feel you don’t belong. In a situation like this, comparing your professional life will leave you feeling unmotivated and unworthy. Keep in mind that we’re all living our own lives, and even if you’re within the same age group, you may still be living very distinct lives. Furthermore, no tea—no shade, but you’re your only competition, period!
Turn imposter syndrome on its head: Remember that smart, high-achieving people most often deal with imposter syndrome. So, the very fact that you recognise it in yourself says a lot about you. You care, an imposter would not.
Live authentically and embrace your power ✨
What’s important is that you do not allow that self-doubt control your actions. We all know how paralyzing it can get when our thoughts cloud up our head. But now that you are aware of these thoughts/feelings and what they are, you can strive to move forward. Don’t let the imposter feelings steal precious opportunities from you. YOU ARE worthy and YOU ARE deserving of all the success and positivity.