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Defeating Imposter Syndrome

Anxiety, self-doubt, and insecurity are things we all experience in everyday life, especially in our professional lives. A phenomenon that includes these three feelings that have become more evident in students and employees is imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is the persistent belief that one’s success is not deserved or has not been legitimately achieved due to one’s effort or skills. Most people that experience imposter syndrome are high-performing and hard-working but don’t believe these things to be true about themselves. Imposter syndrome can be connected to making people have lower self-esteem or less self-confidence and damages a person’s well-being. We must identify what causes imposter syndrome, recognize if we have characteristics, and learn to deal with and overcome it. This blog will explore all these topics to defeat imposter syndrome. 

Have you ever felt unworthy of being granted a position, project, or praise from others? This could be a telling sign that you are experiencing imposter syndrome. Most people often can’t feel happy about their success or accolades because they are nervous that they will eventually be exposed for being a fraud. Most of the time, people can develop imposter syndrome because they are comparing themselves to others and don’t feel adequate or competent to exist in the same environment as their peers. Most people with imposter syndrome feel they are phonies or acting and can’t keep up with the front they are putting on. This can cause people who experience imposter syndrome to be very stressed because they feel like they’re running out of time to make strides in their careers before exposure. Several high-performing people often experience imposter syndrome because they get to a point in their life or occupation where they feel that they have plateaued, making them feel less than others. 

Several different things can cause a person to begin to develop imposter syndrome. The first is social peer pressure. There is a saying that iron sharpens iron, and this saying alone is an excellent example of how social peer pressure exists in our everyday lives. Often people feel validated by their peers in specific environments when they have certain achievements. Once they experience less of these achievements, then they like the validation and often feel worse about themselves. They connect their self-worth directly to how their peers rank them and being successful. 

Another thing that can cause imposter syndrome is your background or upbringing. Some people have experienced growing under immense pressure since they were young. They had a background of always being pushed in school, or possibly family and friends that were always overly critical. This can often make people believe that what they do is never enough. This feeling can cause imposter syndrome because even though someone tries their best, they may feel their best will never be good enough.

Another thing that can cause people to begin to experience imposter syndrome is internal self-doubt. Sometimes we are our worst critics and push ourselves too hard. Sometimes we internalize fears of being inadequate, and our insecurities make us feel like we aren’t as successful as everyone thinks. Despite what triggers a person to have imposter syndrome, it usually damages their mental health. 

It’s essential to identify different characteristics of imposter syndrome so we can remember this feeling and conquer it. We all have felt anxious or self-doubt in certain situations, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we are experiencing imposter syndrome. Self-doubt is the first sign that you are experiencing imposter syndrome. Usually, rather than just being nervous about if you’ll succeed in a project yourself, that will consist of believing success is unattainable. This is different from having anxiety about a situation because it shows that you feel that being successful is impossible. Another characteristic is not being fair to yourself. This can be seen through you undermining your accomplishments, setting unrealistic goals, being upset when you don’t meet them, or crediting all your success to luck or external factors. All these things add to imposter syndrome because you refuse to see yourself as worthy. The third characteristic is self-sabotage. This can be the practice of psyching yourself out and not even trying to reach the goals you have for yourself. This is a very tough characteristic of imposter syndrome to deal with because it can cause you to be less efficient and helpful in the workplace. Once you experience any of these characteristics, there is a way to distance yourself from experiencing imposter syndrome. 

There are several ways to deal with imposter syndrome, and it can make you feel more grounded and yourself and your success. One of the first is to attempt to get out of your head. Getting out of your head is easier said than done, but it can still be accomplished. This will consist of finding ways to show yourself that you’re not acting and are just genuinely successful. Whether journaling how you are adequate or recalling your successful moments to prove they weren’t times of luck, getting out of your head will often help you be more proud of yourself. 

Another way to deal with imposter syndrome is to be kind to yourself. Everyone makes mistakes, so it’s important to remind yourself that you will be flawed. It would help if you weren’t too rough on yourself for what you couldn’t do but instead celebrate yourself for what you could accomplish. Lastly, another way to deal with imposter syndrome is to understand where these feelings are coming from. Even though this is not a step we can accomplish in days, weeks, or even months, it is essential to see where these feelings stem from. Getting to the root of the problem may reveal why you feel this way and show yourself that it’s not true. Whatever we do, we mustn’t let imposter syndrome exhaust us. 

Imposter syndrome is something many of us will deal with at a specific part of our life. We must know how to conquer it so that it does not cause us to stagnate. We must first be able to learn the characteristics, then try to understand why we may be experiencing them, and then practice healthy ways to defeat them. Imposter syndrome can hurt our health, so it’s essential that if we’re experiencing it, we can shut it down.

Additional Resources:
What is imposter syndrome? Learn what it is and 10 ways to cope


The information contained in blog posts do not necessarily reflect the views of the Solace Counseling and Consulting LLC. This blog is the opinion of an individual and is not to be construed as professional advice, psychological diagnosis or a professional relationship between the reader and the writer. Blogs are intended only to be used by consumers in search of general interest information pertaining to mental health, relationships, counseling and related topics. Content on this website is not intended to replace or serve as substitute for professional consultation or service. If you require help with mental health issues please contact a licensed therapist or psychiatrist in your area. If you are experiencing an emergency, head to your nearest emergency room or call 911. The posts on this website are copyright of Solace Counseling and Consulting LLC and their writers (unless otherwise sourced). They can be re-blogged or re-posted on social media but cannot be reproduced or uploaded without permission.

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