Landed a new job? Got a promotion or a raise? Received praise for being a great team leader? Yet, you feel like you don’t deserve any of this. If you’re feeling that your achievements are not what they are chalked out to be, then you might have fallen into the the trap of Imposter Syndrome.
I’m A Fake
Coined by clinical psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A Imes, imposter syndrome is when someone believes that their achievements are based on pure luck, aren’t worthy of praise or totally unwarranted. There’s this unexplainable nagging feeling that despite all their success, they are not as good as everyone thinks they are. They fear that one day everyone will realise that they have been faking it or that they may be ‘found out’ as being not intelligent or capable as they led people to believe. They feel like a totally fake.
Imposter syndrome may prevent people from applying for jobs, acknowledging their achievements, or feeling like a good partner, amongst other things . If it comes to extremes, people may have such a huge fear of failure that they stop trying new things altogether. Women are actually more susceptible to have imposter syndrome than men. Why is that? Perhaps because from a young age girls are often taught not to be as confident their male counter parts. We are allowed to be confident but not too confident, and through this, we may feel that we need to down-play our achievements as not to intimidate others. Yet, because of certain expectations, whether societal or self-inflected ,we still feel that we need to do more, and be more in order to measure up. So, it’s no surprise that women fall victim to imposter syndrome, as we feel the pressure to be prefect.
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These are some of the common signs of having Imposter syndrome
- You can’t acknowledge your achievements
- Feel the need to work twice as hard as others in order to prove yourself
- Lack confidence when it comes to your work, relationships or life in general
- You believe that you are a one hit wonder
- You feel that you need to live up to exceptions (often self-inflected)
Removing The Mask
If you feel that you may have Imposter Syndrome, how do you go about removing the mask?
Acknowledge the problem
Firstly, you need to acknowledge that you may have a low self-esteem. Try to pin point why you feel like your achievements aren’t worthy of being celebrated. If you are having a hard time confronting these feelings, perhaps seeking help from a professional can help you understand yourself better.
Switch the negative for the positive
Stop with the ‘why me?’, and ask yourself ‘why not me’; tell yourself how smart, hardworking and total badass you are! Any time you find yourself having negative thoughts, stop, breathe and counter that negativity immediately! You wouldn’t say discourage things to you best friend, so no need to say them to yourself.
Despite what pop songs might tell us, no one is perfect! Don’t expect yourself to be able to do everything at once. When your find yourself expecting perfection, remind yourself that there’s no such thing! You owe it to yourself to do your best and be kind to yourself.
Know Your Worth
Okay sure, you’re not perfect but you’re still pretty awesome. Acknowledge that you have done some amazing things in your life, and that those achievements deserve to be celebrated, you deserve to be celebrated! A great practical tool is making yourself a praise journal; simply list all your achievements and your amazing qualities, then when you find doubt creeping in, open your journal and BAM! instant motivation.