We will always view ourselves differently to how others see us. Both physically and in the way we function – ability, confidence, skillset etc.
It’s only when it starts impacting parts of our life negatively that our brain fills with hard to escape, overwhelming thoughts.
Imposter syndrome. Heard of it? It is described by many sources as an internal battle with self-doubt, the inability to accept your own success without finding reason outside of yourself (like luck) and the feelings of incompetence.
Much of the time, all these thoughts are only floating around in the mind of the person worried they are seen as a fraud by their peers. It doesn’t matter what is said, it can be difficult to believe anything different to your internal voice.
Why do people suffer from imposter syndrome?
It is believed to be linked to personality traits, family dynamics/ upbringing and new opportunities (amongst other things).
According to Myers & Briggs, there are 16 different personality types which all carry different traits. The traits highly associated with Imposter syndrome are perfectionism, low self-worth, and neuroticism.
The things we experience as children tend to mould us as we grow. How we were raised and what was seen as important in a family may contribute to the development of imposter syndrome later in life. I.e., high focus on achievement, overprotective.
Diving into something new usually brings about a mix of nerves and excitement but can also be accompanied by feelings of not belonging or being incapable. Hello imposter syndrome.
“These thoughts are invading my head and it’s really starting to take its toll, what do I do?!”
Know that you’re not alone by any means. So many of us have self-deprecating thoughts.
The steps to overcoming imposter syndrome can be hard and you might even uncover some things you didn’t realise you’re holding onto.
Talk it through with others. Just like the saying says, a problem shared is a problem halved. It’s not good practice to keep overbearing thoughts to yourself. You may find that other people’s perception of either your opinions, or the general topic, helps you view things differently. This goes for helping others in your position. You’ll be putting your focus on more than just your self-doubt and empathising with someone in the same boat as you could be a weight off your shoulders.
One step at a time. A self-explanatory step.
Question yourself. You suddenly have a negative thought - But why? What led to this thought and why do I feel like this? Go over your knowledge, skills and achievements that have led you to this very point. If it helps, write a list of what you’re good at and your accomplishments and then compare them to your self-criticisms.
Don’t hide away from how you’re feeling. It’s better to embrace how you’re feeling and in doing so start to dig into what the root of these core beliefs are. This way you can work towards tackling the thoughts when they arise and cut back the effect it has on you.
A final word. Just remember, in order to fall victim to imposter syndrome there has to be some achievement / success had in the first place for you to be questioning your capability. You are much more than your negative thoughts.
Being a human is a task, let alone dragging yourself down! Cut yourself some slack.