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What is Imposter Syndrome?

What is Imposter Syndrome

Have you ever reached a certain level of success that you’ve always wanted, but you still feel as though you don’t deserve it or you don’t belong, and it’s only a matter of time before everyone else finds out? That’s Imposter Syndrome. 

It may come as a feeling of frustration. Say you have a deadline, and you’ve worked all day and night to create the perfect masterpiece, yet you felt it was trash and you didn’t do enough. It affects you in different ways that you might not be totally aware about.

Is imposter syndrome real? 

Yes! It’s that feeling of not having the right skill-set to succeed despite how prepared or skilled you are. Other times, It’s the inability to own your achievements, which comes as a feeling of you being amateurish, but rather, you being a fraud by faking it. 

Imposter syndrome makes you feel like you don’t deserve a certain level of achievement .  And if somehow you get to that certain level of achievement, you’ll feel as though it was a mistake or you just got lucky. This leads you to disregard the hard work and effort you’ve put into your craft.

Is it bad?

There’s the good and bad side to feeling like an imposter. On the not-so-good side, it’ll start by messing with your emotions by causing anxiety, frustration, lack of self-confidence, depression, and sometimes shame. It also affects your behavior in your personal life, workplace, and opportunities. 

Imposter syndrome can also be a great thing to embrace as it gives you intellectual humility that makes you aware of the limits to your knowledge. And with that curiosity, you can learn from other people, understand the different viewpoints, motivating you to take action. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is imposter syndrome a mental illness?

No. It is not a mental illness because, officially, it’s not part of the disorders listed in the DSM -5 manual, which is the diagnostic and statistical guidebook for mental disorders. On the flip side, It’s only a pattern of unhelpful negative thinking.  Nonetheless, some individuals may struggle with other mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, bipolar, or OCD.

What triggers imposter syndrome?

There’s no direct answer to what triggers imposter syndrome or why you may experience imposter syndrome. Some psychologists believe it may be due to your personality trait. The majority of others believe that it is due to constant criticism from your environment. 

Does imposter syndrome go away?

The thing is that imposter syndrome can’t disappear in total because it’s a reoccurring experience. This is because every time you level up, you’ll feel the sense of being an imposter – which is normal. Another way it can go away is to partner with your fears and own it as a sign that you’re moving forward in your journey. 

Do I have Imposter Syndrome? 

Feeling like an imposter is not unusual as about 70% of adults experience these impostor feelings at some point in their lives. Nonetheless, its signs or symptoms come together by feeling not good enough, incapable, insufficient, and seeming like a fraud. 

Some major general indicators that you can use to know.

  • Underrating your past accomplishments in front of other people 
  • Attributing your success to other external factors
  • Downplaying your expertise so as not to seem as you’re better than others
  • Comparing yourself with other peers
  • Beating yourself up over small mistakes and failures 

There are ways to deal with imposter syndrome, one of which requires a simple change in your mindset.  However, if you feel like this might be a big leap for you, you can try talking to a professional to help identify and overcome the root cause of this feeling.

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