OVERCOMING IMPOSTOR SYNDROME
There’s something very strange that comes
as a side effect of experiencing personal
success; whether you’re finding a home in a
new community of people, doing well at your
job, or pursuing a degree in school - there
can be (as I have often found) this
underlying feeling that you are a fraud.
You know the feeling - it’s all those “I don’t know what I’m doing and everyone else knows it too” thoughts. These are all great big lies, but they’re voices that can sound very real and negatively affect your motivation and self-confidence. Where do these thoughts come from? Why is it that we can be great and experienced at what we do, and still feel like we’re faking it? In this never-ending, frustrating, self-deprecating battle within ourselves, it’s helpful and good to know some answers.
Where does impostor syndrome come from?
First of all, it’s a real thing. A real psychological condition that many people struggle with. You're not the only one questioning your work and accomplishments- a lot of people deal with this! Even people that you admire and put on a pedestal of perfection:
“I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out” - Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou has felt like a fraud. Impostor syndrome hits everyone at some point or another. But why?
There are many reasons for this including: setting insane standards for yourself and never being content with your own current greatness, comparing your weakness to others strengths, and undermining your own accomplishments. All of these things are (typically) created and built up within our own minds. Remind yourself that other people feel this way too- people you admire and set your personal standards by. No one feels like they have it all together. No one has it all together. Be aware that your thoughts are coming from your impostor syndrome, and are not true to reality. You are doing great things, you are genuine, and your work is worth recognition!
What are some ways to combat these feelings?
During this battle within yourself, it’s important to:
1. Be aware of imposter syndrome and remind yourself that it exists. You aren’t crazy, these feelings are valid, but they’re also untrue. As with any mental struggles (anxiety, depression, etc.), it's incredibly helpful to affirm yourself with the truth that it's not you / is not your fault.
2. Talk to others about how you’re feeling. Don’t bottle it up! The people who care about you will be there to recognize your potential and accomplishments, and reassure you daily. Write down things people say about you that make you feel affirmed and stash them away for the moments you need them the most.
3. Be kind to yourself, recognize and fight the thoughts as soon as they pop into your head. Remind yourself that no one is 100% qualified for what they're doing, that you are deserving and capable of the life you're pursuing. Everyone, yes, even the people you admire, are really just big kids trying to figure out life.