Health & Fitness

Impostor Syndrome: What It Is and How to Get Rid of It

People with impostor syndrome think they don’t deserve what they have. They convince themselves that any success they have is just luck.

If this sounds like you, keep reading to find out what the signs of the syndrome are and how to deal with it.

What Is Imposter Syndrome?

It’s a complex of experiences when a person attributes his successes in any area of life to coincidence or chance. He feels that he is undeservedly in his place or not worthy of good treatment from other people. At the same time, he ignores his efforts and personal qualities.

  • “Did the instructor give you an ‘A’ for your term paper? He just didn’t read carefully.”
  • “Got a good paper? Pretty soon I’ll get kicked out because I’m taking someone else’s place.”
  • “Friends think I’m a great person? Sooner or later they’ll realize I suck.”  

Imposter syndrome is often talked about when it comes to work, but it can manifest itself, even while you’re playing at People with this syndrome are convinced that they are untalented professionals, terrible students, monstrous partners and bad friends. They feel like cheaters and are constantly waiting to be exposed.

How to Know if You Have Imposter Syndrome?

There are three phrases a person with impostor syndrome says to himself or herself most often:

  • “Anyone can do that.” With this phrase, a person with impostor syndrome devalues himself.
  • “I just know how to make an impression.” The person believes that everyone is deceived about him. In fact, it’s clear: he is just a great liar, but in fact cannot be a good worker, friend or partner.
  • “I just got lucky.” Luck does happen to be important for success, but the “impostor” explains away all his achievements and successes.

Reasons for the Development of Impostor Syndrome

Impostor syndrome is usually a sign that something is wrong with self-esteem. The perception of self is largely shaped in childhood. If parents constantly set the child as an example of other children, he gets used to constantly comparing himself with someone – most often not in his favor.

Who Suffers From Impostor Syndrome?

Because of inadequate self-esteem, a person with impostor syndrome always believes other people are stronger, smarter, more active, and more worthy than themselves. He evaluates success as something that must be obtained by sweat and blood. That is why the syndrome often affects excellent professionals who are able to quickly solve complex problems. Unfortunately, they themselves don’t know how to evaluate their achievements, based on facts.

What Is Impostor Syndrome

If impostor syndrome is a complex of experiences, what does this complex consist of? People with impostor syndrome have no clear criteria by which they can determine that they have achieved success.

It’s like a horizon line you can’t reach: they’ve always not done enough, always not deserved it. When a person with impostor syndrome evaluates himself, he doesn’t think about facts. Instead, there is a tangle of experiences:

  • An inability to recognize one’s merit: “Anyone can do that job. It’s just lucky they assigned it to me.”
  • Impairment of your efforts: “Yes, I did write a great thesis, but it has too few sources.”
  • Anxiety: “They’re praising me now. Then they’ll realize that I’m actually mediocre!”
  • Guilt: “There are so many specialists in our office, and they promote me. This shouldn’t have happened.”
  • Shame: “I am taking someone else’s place.”

How to Deal With Impostor Syndrome When You Are Publicly Praised

Separate Facts From Experiences

Guilt, shame, or anxiety about the work you’ve done are your subjective emotions. A supervisor’s good opinion of your accomplishments is a fact.

Remember That People Around You Are Entitled to Their Point of View

A person with impostor syndrome has a sense of some kind of omnipotence: “I know better than my boss, than my friends, than the whole world!” Look at the situation through the eyes of another person-for example, through the eyes of your employer. He has his own life and professional experience – and therefore a different opinion of you. Allow a different perspective on your work. This will allow you to relax a little.

Go Back to the Facts Again and Spell out All the Things You Have Been Praised for

“I didn’t try hard enough” – devaluation. “I brought in ten new clients” – the work you actually did. That way you can see that the praise was well-deserved.

How to Deal With Impostor Syndrome When You Get Scolded

Try to Remember How Many Times You Have Been Praised Instead of Scolded

A person with the syndrome ignores his or her successes and fixates on failures. This is called the “selective perception trap. To get out of it, remember all the times when your boss, colleagues or close people recognized your merits.

Consider What Other Factors May Have Contributed to Your Failure

You were sick, you have a change of manager, your partner is having a difficult time. Such things do not absolve you of responsibility, but help you see that it isn’t your worthlessness that is to blame for everything, but objective events.

Try to Separate the Perception of Yourself From the Facts

People with imposter syndrome often think they are lazy and untalented. But look at things from the side of facts, not emotions. Let’s say you didn’t do a good job. But did you have enough experience to do the job well? And if not, how could you have gained it without making mistakes?

Be Gentle With Yourself

You can always blame yourself. Try to relax and let the situation go at least a little. There are difficult days even for those people with whom you compare yourself.

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