There are several ups and downs in our life that might make us question our capabilities, qualities as well as strengths and weaknesses, whether in the matter of academics, career, or anything important in our lives, but when you have a constant feeling of self-doubt, guilt about your achievements or personality, one might be suffering from the imposter syndrome.
What exactly is imposter syndrome?
- When you feel like a fraud.
- You don’t acknowledge your success.
- You feel that you don’t have any skills or talent.
- You have achieved everything by mere luck.
These are the symptoms of Imposter syndrome or Imposter phenomenon.
Imposter syndrome is a term used to define a psychological occurrence when a person feels that you don’t deserve the success you have. It is not a mental condition or disorder as well as is not recognized by DSM-V but psychologists say that this feeling could govern to state anxiety or depression. A fun fact is that Imposter Syndrome is more common than infamous people who are high achievers in their life. Some famous personalities who have confessed to having these feelings of self-doubt, are Albert Einstein, actress Penelope Cruz, former First Lady Michelle Obama, and many more.
Why does it happen?
The human brain tends to focus on bad things rather than good ones because we see them as a threat and danger to us. Imposter syndrome usually starts in the mid-to-late teens and is common in young adults. Many experts say it is caused by internal factors such as a personality filled with anxiety and negative thoughts. Others say that it is caused by external factors such as family issues or having an environment of neglect or discrimination.
Signs of an imposter;
People with imposter syndrome can only focus on their flaws to achieve perfectionism
They tend to overwork to achieve a task.
3. Neglecting achievements
They rush to finish their task and never recognize their success as well as leaving things unfinished sometimes.
They avoid challenges due to the fear of failing the task miserably.
5. Never acknowledge, praise
They never believe in the praises given to them by others and just assume it is fake.
Challenges of imposter syndrome
Imposter syndrome can impact your daily life as well as your career. Imposters tend to be unemployed although a majority of them are considered smart. It constantly bothers them that somebody is going to expose them that they are a fraud, these feelings compel them to be in a state of anxiety, depression, frustration, and shame. This stress makes them overcompensate for their work leading to lower productivity and decreased performance.
How to cope with it?
1) Praise yourself:
As you read already, in imposter syndrome one feels like a fraud, one way of coping with it is to recognize your achievements. Whenever you get rewarded or get an achievement for your task try to praise yourself for it, and think about what you did and how important your contribution was in that particular task.
2) Feelings and fact:
It is just a feeling that you are a fraud, worthless. You always overthink it, try to focus on facts surrounding your life rather than your feelings to better understand what is under your control and not.
3) Don’t compare:
Stop comparing your achievements to that of others. Remember people with imposter syndrome tend to be high achievers so a plus point to that you don’t measure any less than the others.
4) Consult a therapist:
If things don’t work and you think it’s affecting your mental health then try to talk to a therapist as people have a better point of judgment and acceptance when others observe their behavior.
A feeling of self-doubt is consuming itself but you can’t let it overpower you in any way.
‘There are two sides to a coin’. Having imposter syndrome seems to have a few perks in life;
1) Desire to improve oneself:
The desire for perfection allows a person to strive for improvement in life. To always push oneself through hard work, and dedication to seek the best for life and career. This drive leads the person to work harder to improve one’s condition.
2) Humility and eagerness to learn:
Imposter syndrome arises often because there is a need to learn more and know more. To know about more skills, knowledge, and ideas which never seems sufficient. This mindset allows the person to explore and embrace new learning and opportunity, to have an open mindset in every approach in life, work, and career to have limitless knowledge.
3) Need for precision and detail:
People with imposter syndrome often have high standards for themselves. It ultimately leads to self-doubt due to the excessive need for accuracy and detail. This need for perfection allows people with imposter syndrome to be good researchers, a good artists, or any other job that requires precision.
4) Empathy and compassion
Being an imposter prompts a person to have a deeper sense of understanding and empathy for others. They acknowledge people going through the struggle and offer them support, encouragement, and a sense of safety for others.
Dealing with this syndrome allows the person to have resilience against problems. The ability to cope with failures and continue their task with increased motivation. The constant self-doubt and failure lead to forming a strong sense of emotional ability to face challenges.
Important note for the readers
The following article aims to explain a psychological phenomenon, it does not intend for the person to self-diagnose oneself. In case of doubt, one should always consult a mental health professional.