Have you ever felt out of place before? Or felt totally undeserving of something that really belonged to you? Have you ever felt so insecure about occupying a position, you feel like you’re cheating those around you? These kinds of feelings and more are indicators of what is called impostor syndrome. It’s more than just fear, nervousness or insecurity, impostor syndrome is described as a physiological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud(wiki).
Yes, it is real. Imagine getting a new job, a scholarship, an admission, whatever it is, based on your merit and feeling so unworthy of it, you’re constantly anxious of being “exposed” even though in the real sense, there’s nothing to be anxious about. And guess what, it’s more common than you think it is, according to Healthline media, research shows that approximately 70% of people will experience at least one episode of impostor syndrome in their life. Hence, you just might know someone who’s experiencing it right now, you might have before or maybe later so let’s talk about it’s possible causes and solutions, shall we?
Possible reasons for Impostor Syndrome
Low self-esteem : I believe self esteem is a really deciding factor. Not just self-esteem but also self-image. What you think of yourself matters, how you view yourself matters. At the end of the day, impostor syndrome is simply you undermining your accomplishments, it’s you seeing yourself less than what you are.
Insecurity : What exactly does it mean to be insecure? It’s not being confident in yourself or in your abilities to do things well. Not being sure of what your abilities could cause impostor syndrome
Non diversity: Being in an environment where you seem to be the only one in a particular group, say for example race, age bracket, religion, could trigger feelings of imposter syndrome, could get one thinking “since I’m alone here then maybe I don’t belong here”
Incompetence : Not everyone starts out a new job as a pro in the field, not being qualified so feelings of being incompetent if not handled right could outright allow impostor syndrome
How to manage impostor syndrome
Acknowledge your achievements: as mentioned earlier, impostor syndrome stems from undermining one’s achievements so one way to handle it would be acknowledging your achievements, even if it takes writing them all out and reading them everyday! Remind yourself of every sweat, sacrifice, efforts, you put into getting to where you are.
Positive affirmations: what you say to yourself matters a whole lot! Daily affirm who you are, who you’d like to be. Even when you don’t exactly feel like it, affirm your identity and stand by it regardless. Christian? Great, affirm who you are in Christ, who he has made you to be. Not Christian? Fine, maybe try developing a relationship with Christ, the one who created you to understand your identity.
Seperate facts from feelings : yes, we’re emotional beings but our feelings isn’t all there is to be. In situations where impostor syndrome creeps in,objectively access the situation, seperate how you feel from what the situation is. Ask yourself, what exactly have I done that makes me feel like a fraud to this people? What exactly is it to be exposed? What exactly am I afraid of?
TALK ABOUT IT: believe it or not, impostor syndrome is more common than you think it is. You just might be able to talk about it with someone who’s been in your shoes and could be of help. Also, I’ve noticed, a whole lot of times, things seem way more magnified in our heads than what it truly is when vocalized. Your biggest limitation is in your head. Talk about how you feel, confront it and watch it dissipate.
So let’s converse, have you ever had impostor syndrome? If yes what do you think caused it and how did you handle it? If not, is it something you’re familiar with?
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Thanks for reading! Do well to share