What is Imposter Syndrome, how to deal with it

In spite of your achievements in life, do you feel you have not earned it or you don’t deserve it or maybe you just got there by luck, maybe you belittle yourself or underrate medals you earned? It’s more common with people than we think. Highly successful people feel it much more than others. Do you feel you are pretending to be intelligent, but within yourselves, you feel you don’t know anything, and others know more than you? The good news is that another person might be feeling the same way. We know ourselves from inside but others from outside. 

Such feeling refers to “Imposter Syndrome”, it’s a collection of feelings of inadequacy, underrating, and undervaluing self that persists despite evident success and recognitions. People refuse to accept they deserve accolades and feel they are mediocre no matter how magnificent their achievements are. These feelings are someone being modest, being modest is a behavior, imposter syndrome is a lingering feeling. Imposter syndrome is not a disease, ailment, depression, anxiety, abnormality, or even low self-esteem. It is usually short-term but frequent feeling that makes some see their achievement as small.

It’s not only common among highly successful professionals but also in children, people of all ages, gender, race, gender, various occupations, cultures, social status, witty, smart, brilliant, belligerent, and people with uncanny capabilities. This was first studied by phycologist Dr. Pauline Rose Clance who also developed CLANCE IMPOSTOR PHENOMENON SCALE (CIPS)

While this is quite a common feeling, it is unhealthy if it persists thus must be addressed appropriately.

How to overcome the imposter feeling?

1.       Spot feelings – As I wrote in my earlier article on “Feel the Feelings”, start with accepting it and recognize it. The moment you recognize you detach from it. So as soon as you feel you are facing imposter syndrome, recognize it and accept it. Denial to accept is not the solution, but accepting and addressing is.

2.       Talk about it– Don’t hide it and feel that you are the only one who is feeling like this and people may think you are vulnerable if you talk about it. All vulnerabilities are communal, so talk about it with close friends, family and express how you feel. If required talk to a mentor or seek clinical help.

3.       Self-compassion– you deserve your compassion more than anyone else on this planet, don’t be so hard on yourself. Show self-compassion and talk to yourself as a third person to mirror how you overcame tremendous obstacles and succussed the turmoil of life.

4.       Combat self-imposter syndrome by prompting yourself about your scars and trophies, make a journal of your triumph, and peek into it whenever you feel like an imposter.

5.       Positive self-talk– Talk to yourself with positivity, you deserve it. Positive talk has a direct influence on your physiology. Failure is learnings only.

Imposter syndrome is not restricted to certain age or gender, so if you know someone who is going through it, help them out by reminding them of their qualities, achievement, contribution to society, friends, and community.   

Identifying, accepting, and facing your vulnerabilities is courage, not a weakness. Imposter syndrome is a feeling we all suffer from at some time in our lives and not addressing them in an apt way may hinder further growth. Help yourself, help others.

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