Why can’t so many of us get over the notion that we haven’t earned our successes, or that our ideas and abilities aren’t deserving of others’ attention? This unfounded sensation of uneasiness is now being researched by psychologists. Impostor syndrome, or impostor phenomenon, is the term used by psychologists to describe these sensations. According to a review paper published in the International Journal of Behavioral Science, over 70% of persons have similar imposter sentiments at some point in their life. Impostor syndrome affects women, men, medical students, marketing professionals, performers, and executives from all walks of life.
Impostor syndrome (IS) is a psychological state in which you believe you are not as capable as others believe you are. While this term is most often related to intelligence and accomplishment, it also has connections to perfectionism and social environment. To put it another way, impostor syndrome is the sensation of feeling like a phony—as if you’re about to be discovered as a fraud—as if you don’t belong where you are and were only there by chance. It may impact anyone, regardless of their socioeconomic standing, employment history, skill level, or level of knowledge.
What does it feel like?
Feelings of imposter indicate a clash between your own self-perception and how others see you.
Even when others applaud your abilities, you attribute your achievement to chance and timing. You don’t feel you earned them on your own merits, and you’re afraid others will come to the same conclusion.
While imposter syndrome might increase drive to accomplish for certain people, it generally comes at a cost in the form of continual worry. To “ensure” that no one discovers you are a fake, you may over-prepare or labour more harder than required.
This creates a vicious loop in which you believe the only reason you made it through the class presentation was because you practised all night. Or you believe the only reason you made it through that party or family gathering was because you remembered all of the attendees’ names so you’d always have something to speak about.
Your efforts might help to keep the cycle going. Your subsequent achievements do not reassure you; you regard them as the result of your efforts to preserve the “illusion” of your success.
Have you received any awards? It’s known as pity or compassion. Despite the fact that you attribute your successes to chance, you are solely responsible for any errors you make. Even tiny mistakes enhance your belief in your ineptness and inability.
Signs of Imposter Syndrome
An inability to judge your competence and talents realistically
External causes are being blamed for your achievement.
Scores on neuroticism scales that are higher
You’re sabotaging your own progress.
Your performance is being criticized.
Lower results on conscientiousness tests
Fear of not living up to expectations
The Final Note
Remember that if you’re experiencing the signs of Imposter syndrome, it’s because you’ve had some success in your life that you’re blaming on chance. Instead, try to transform that emotion into one of thankfulness. Be appreciative for all you have done in your life. Perfection isn’t required for success. Because true perfection is very difficult to achieve, failing to do so does not make you a phoney.
Instead of criticism and self-doubt, treating oneself with love and compassion may help you retain a realistic perspective and inspire you to pursue healthy self-growth. Don’t let your fear of being discovered hold you back. Instead, lean into that sensation and investigate what’s causing it. Allow them to see the real you by lowering your guard. If you’ve tried everything and still feel like you’re an impostor, it’s time to get help from a mental health expert.