How do you tell if you’re suffering from imposter syndrome? Do you cringe and feel like a fraud in danger of being exposed when someone praises you? Do you think your triumphs are just a matter of luck? Then yup – you’re experiencing imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome was first recognized in the 1970s, when psychologists studied successful women, who thought they didn’t really deserve their success. But it seems that men suffer from it too.
Are you the only one with Imposter Syndrome?
If you have the sneaky feeling that you’re a hoax and about to be found out, you’re not alone! An estimated 70% of adults experience the symptoms at least occasionally.
You may be especially vulnerable when you’re trying something new or celebrating an important occasion like a job promotion or a creative success. Instead of popping the cork of the champagne, you spend your time worrying about when you’ll be accused of being a charlatan. That definitely feels icky. So what can you do about it?
Impostor syndrome is caused by the beliefs that you’ve formed about yourself over the years. Perhaps you think you’re not good enough, even if others think you’re great. Whatever the reasons, you can stop undermining yourself. It’s simply a case of unlearning the false beliefs you have about yourself. Learn to experience doubts without letting them interfere with the happiness and success you deserve.
How to Kick Imposter Syndrome Out:
Remember your achievements
List exams and tests that you’ve passed since you were a child. Think about the ways that your successes have built up over time. Putting your triumphs in context will show you that they’re not flukes.
Give yourself credit
Change your self-talk. When you hear that Negative Nelly in your mind, tell her to shut up, change her voice to Cheerleader Charlie and congratulate yourself on being such a brilliant badass. Reframing your thoughts will help you to view yourself in a more positive light.
Impostor syndrome is often associated with perfectionism. But shit happens because life happens. You can’t control life or every little thing about yourself. Embrace yourself unconditionally, including your strengths and weaknesses. Set realistic goals and expectations.
Live up to your own standards rather than relying on approval from others. Who gives a crap what they think anyway? Be less mindful of their views or expectations, and just learn to manage your own effectively.
Do you regard struggling as a sign of weakness? It’s not. Struggling is a sign that you’re in the process of learning, of becoming your truly authentic best self.
Changing Your Behaviour:
Talk it over
Impostor syndrome can be a difficult cycle to break because your first impulse is to cover it up. It’s a learned behaviour. Revealing your vulnerability to a trusted confidante will help you to gain a broader perspective and find ways to snap out of it.
Feeling like an outsider can contribute to impostor syndrome. For example, maybe you’re much older or younger than your coworkers. Look for ways to turn that diversity into an advantage instead of feeling awkward about being different.
You may be putting unnecessary pressure on yourself if you frequently over-prepare for various events, such as inviting friends over. Throw a party with takeout pizza instead of spending an entire day in the kitchen.
Can you receive praise politely or do you secretly want to run and hide? Practice saying thank you. You don’t need to add anything else, as ‘thank you’ is a complete sentence in this case! If you talk yourself down when you receive a compliment, you make the person giving you the compliment feel awkward. A compliment is a gift, accept it graciously.
Find a mentor
Changing long-standing habits can be tough work. Working with a mentor will give you the benefit of ongoing feedback from someone you trust. You may also feel more accountable knowing that someone else is monitoring your progress, too.
Recognizing your areas of expertise can be tricky when knowledge and skills build up slowly over time. Instructing others is an excellent way to learn more about yourself while providing a valuable service.
Challenging situations are likely to trigger defense mechanisms, which is all imposter syndrome is. You’ll find it easier to be authentic if you manage daily stress. Block out time for meditation and physical exercise. Slow down and take a deep breath if you find yourself starting to question your worth.
Write down exactly what you’re feeling faux about. This will help you discover the triggers and then you can think about how to handle them in future.
Impostor syndrome can hold you back from trying new things. Make a list of projects that excite you and take pleasure in learning as you go along. Expect to meet challenges and occasionally trip up on the way, and make them all part of the fun.
Overcoming imposter syndrome will help you to feel more comfortable with yourself and take more satisfaction in your achievements. Learn to be your most authentic self and you’ll find that thoughts about imposter syndrome will simply melt away.
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