Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
Written by: Marissa
Are you familiar with a secret lurking in the minds of so many people considered to be “high achievers?” At the end of the day, a number of these people feel completely undeserving, almost like frauds, in terms of their accomplishments.
You probably know, and perhaps envy, your peers with this secret. Interacting with them, in real life or on social media, you might think; “How could this be? They’ve accomplished so much and seem to lead such a fulfilling life!” However, from their point of view, they are lacking in self-worth.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
From a psychological perspective, Imposter Syndrome is defined as a behavior where a person begins to second guess their accomplishments and have a fear of being outed as a fraud. This isn’t a trait that’s categorized as a mental illness, but rather considered to be a specific mindset categorized as a lingering insecurity amongst individuals. Those who struggle with Imposter Syndrome attribute their success to good luck, timing, and privilege – and discern the belief that they’re as worthy as their peers.
Affecting both men and women, Imposter Syndrome tends to occur in those with higher achieving personas. When judging the lives of others, it’s important to remember that those who appear to “have it all” can truly be lacking in self-confidence.
Elizabeth Cox illustrates this aspect of Imposter Syndrome here:
“Since it’s tough to really know how hard our peer’s work, how difficult they find certain tasks, or how much they doubt themselves, there’s no easy way to dismiss feeling that we’re less capable than the people around us.”
How do you cope with Imposter Syndrome?
Whether you’re “high achieving” or not, Imposter Syndrome happens at all stages and all ages. Remember: you’re not the only one holding onto these thought patterns.
Below are three key strategies used to combat Imposter Syndrome and step into your confident, radiant self.
Read on and learn how to implement them today:
1.) Be Mindful of Your Positive Experiences:
Here’s a question – when you receive a compliment versus a criticism, which ones are likely to leave a lasting impression? According to psychologists, a criticism stays, and has more of a mark on us in comparison to positive reinforcement. Those suffering from Imposter Syndrome tend to focus on insults or criticisms, especially in a work environment.
Next time you receive a positive compliment from a peer, genuinely work towards believing their words. There is no shame in believing in yourself and your abilities. Once you truly appreciate what’s being said to you, you’ll begin to redirect your mind towards a pathway of positivity. By doing so, you will slowly release your thoughts of anxiety and self-doubt and acknowledge when they are just that – thoughts, not your reality. In a society that shames self-love, be a standout with your newfound confidence.
2.) Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
It’s easy to compare ourselves to everyone around us. Comparison truly is the “thief joy” and will always leave us feeling unfulfilled or unsatisfied with our accomplishments.
One of my favorite mantras is: “Good for them, not for me.” I find this mantra to truly be grounding when comparison takes over my current situation. When we remind ourselves that our life is our own personalized journey and is incomparable to others, our inner freedom begins to shine.
When an event, person, or accomplishment triggers the voice of comparison, try using this daily mantra. The more mindful we are of our thought patterns, the less likely we are to let negativity take over.
3.) Work Towards Setting Realistic Goals
Outlining realistic goals is a healthy way to set yourself up for success. When you accomplish something, big or small, it evokes a feeling of satisfaction for your inner psyche. The trick is to start on a smaller scale. Ask yourself, “Which goals can I realistically conquer this week given my time?”
Everyone has the potential to reach their goals. If you’re having difficulty doing so, start by basing goals around your talents. For example, if you’re a talented writer, make a goal to write a short paragraph every morning. It’s important to remember that each day is a new step towards self-improvement. Remember: Imposter Syndrome doesn’t fade over one day and true self development always takes work. Make it a goal to overcome Imposter Syndrome by outlining your realistic aspirations. From here, you will witness your confidence come into fruition.
Everyone has the ability to overcome Imposter Syndrome with the right habits and healthy mindset. With Imposter Syndrome, make it a point to practice daily self-acceptance. Even when you feel undeserving of the position you’re in, try to accept your current state of being, and plan to revisit your feelings in 21 days. After all, that’s the estimated amount of time it takes to shift your mindset.
Keep this in mind: working on a healthy outlook is a segue towards success and self-love. As Fred Rogers said: “you don’t have to be sensational for people to love you.”
Living a life in which you find peace and contentment is a huge achievement in itself.