Imposter Syndrome is the continuous feeling that you are a fraud, not good enough, or that your success is undeserved. You feel this way despite it not actually being true. It can happen to anyone, including accomplished, high achievers.
Someone with imposter syndrome may feel like they are fake or phony. They may feel that any minute they will be discovered as someone incompetent, someone who does not belong. If you struggle with this syndrome, you will not believe that your achievements are due to your skills and effort. You will instead mark it down to luck, timing, or some other external factor.
What are the Signs of Imposter Syndrome?
Some signs of imposter syndrome include, but are not limited to:
- Feeling like a fraud
- Believing you are not capable of all you have achieved
- Not taking ownership of your success
- Concern about being unmasked, or discovered as incompetent
- Need for validation from external sources
What Causes Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter syndrome can kick in when you have accomplished something. For example, you may have just gotten a promotion, an award, good grades, or been assigned to a competitive project. Or if your success is given attention by others, it can trigger feelings of not belonging. Perfectionism can also lead to imposter syndrome in some cases. As can the fear of making a mistake, or doubting yourself and feeling like you do not know what you are doing. So when you do succeed, these doubts and fears make you question your success. Another factor is fear of responsibility. The more you achieve at work, for example, the more responsibility you will have.
Who is Susceptible to Imposter Syndrome?
Anyone can get imposter syndrome. However, studies have shown that minorities may be more prone to it than other groups. Discrimination, lack of representation, and high levels of persistent stress increase their risk of imposter syndrome.
What Can I do if I have Imposter Syndrome?
Strategies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness can reduce the negative effects and help you cope. Talking with a mental health professional will give you the skills you need to manage and even overcome your imposter syndrome.
Try and accept your achievement. Sit with it and feel the emotion of it. Allowing yourself to feel your success will make it more real. Reflect on your skills and professional or academic tools. Think about how you have used what you have to get where you are. What skills got you where you are today? What knowledge helped you to achieve? What personal experiences have you learned from and then used the learning?
Catch yourself when you are in self-doubt, and challenge the labels you put on your accomplishments. Think about all the steps you took to get where you are. Reflect on the work and effort it took for you to reach your level of success. This will enable you to see that you are where you are due to your own capabilities and skills.
Accepting the fact that you will make mistakes will enable you to be less harsh on yourself. Making a mistake will not cause people to think that you are not good enough. Make room for imperfection. This will be uncomfortable at first, but your tolerance for discomfort will build up with time.
Be aware of your self-talk. Pay attention when you are critical of yourself. Is the criticism merited? This will help you track if you are being unnecessarily harsh on yourself.
How does Imposter Syndrome Affect your Health?
Imposter syndrome is, in a way, a state of constant stress and worry. You are worried about being ‘found out’ or ‘unmasked’. You are worried that your mistakes will give you away and people will see that you are not as capable as they believe you are. Of course, this is due to false thinking patterns and is not true. But people who suffer from this condition can develop the same health concerns that develop through chronic stress.
Raised levels of stress hormones in the body can affect your general well-being. Your mental and physical health is affected, and symptoms of anxiety or depression can also present. The pressure of it all may eventually lead to burnout. Burnout is when you are emotionally and physically exhausted and feel like you have no more left to give.
How can anxiety therapy help me?
Therapy can help you manage the triggers and symptoms of your anxiety. It will teach you strategies to cope when you are having or about to have an anxiety episode. Through therapy, your anxiety will become less intrusive in your life. Therapy will equip you with long-lasting skills and methods to enable you to handle your anxiety.
What is an anxiety disorder?
An anxiety disorder is when anxiety is pervasive and lasts for a long time. It is not occasionally feeling anxious or nervous around important events, etc. Rather, it is an ongoing sense of dread and worry. The symptoms of an anxiety disorder interfere with your daily functioning and life.
What are the symptoms of anxiety?
Some of the symptoms of anxiety are feeling nervous, tense, worried, sweating, feeling shaky, urgent need to urinate, fast heart rate, having headache, difficulty concentrating, constant fear of something bad happening, exhaustion, difficulty sleeping, and stomachache. As you can see, anxiety is felt both physically bodily, and mentally.
What causes anxiety disorders?
An anxiety disorder can be caused by a number of different factors working either in combination or individually. It can stem from traumatic experiences in childhood, inherited traits, or certain personality traits that can make you more prone to anxiety. Often, anxiety and depression are interlinked. Or, your anxiety may be related to an existing medical or mental health condition.
If you are struggling with either imposter syndrome or anxiety, Then contact us now, Our therapists are skilled in anxiety therapy, talk therapy, and many other treatments. We offer therapy sessions both in-person and online.