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Do you ever feel like a fraud? That you are not talented and just reached your position due to luck or positive coincidences. Do you have sleepless nights because you have responsibilities and the fear of being fraud kicks in? Believe it or not, if you answer yes to these questions, chances are that you might be suffering from Impostor Syndrome.
Impostor syndrome is defined as an internal experience of feeling like a fake, despite being highly successful. Early studies showed that this happens mostly to women, but it is now known to happen to everyone regardless of gender or status.
Impostor syndrome is common and can be due to severe personality traits, or in some cases can come from experiences. Impostor syndrome may exist within humans as early as your childhood. According to Healthline, stress from your parents to perform well in school and being heavily criticized while you did not attain those lofty desires may be contributing to your impostor syndrome. It is also discovered that personality developments, like perfectionism, may also cause impostor syndrome. People who conflict with anxiety and depression could also be at a heightened danger of developing impostor syndrome.
“The original impostor syndrome study in the 1970s revolved around high achieving women who had trouble attributing their success to themselves. But when you fast-forward to today, men, women and everybody experiences this phenomenon,” Dr. Albers says.
There are several approaches to combat impostor syndrome. For starters, it's very important to separate feelings from facts. Celebrating every one of your accomplishments, regardless of how small, can also fight that voice in your head telling you that you are not true enough. If you're suffering from an extreme level of impostor syndrome, perhaps it's time to talk to a therapist who can come up with a solution to boost your self-worth.
“It’s the feeling that everyone else knows exactly what they’re doing, but you feel lost,” says psychologist Susan Albers, PsyD. “You have this fear that the people around you are going to figure out that you don’t know what you’re talking about and expose you as a fraud.”
According to an article by Very Well Mind, some common symptoms are:
You always feel like everything you do is wrong and that your accomplishments are due to luck.
You’re always fearful of not living up to others’ expectations, even when you don’t need to.
Furthermore, you sabotage your success by being overly critical of yourself before and after each accomplishment.
You berate yourself if you don’t do something perfectly, yet also believe you deserve an overachievement.
You drain valuable energies without giving your body a chance to replenish.
“Even Einstein once said that he thought his research got way more attention than he thought it deserved,” Dr. Albers says.
Valerie Young, an expert on Impostor Syndrome and author of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, has identified five types of “Impostors”. They are:
People with perfectionist tendencies will focus on their mistakes, not accomplishments. They set unrealistically high standards for themselves, and are hard on themselves when they don’t meet those standards.
Every individual has their own style. They put in a lot of hard work and feel like they can't do enough. They want to make sure that no matter who they encounter, they feel like redoing all their knowledge for them.
When they hit a challenge, they berate themselves as a fraud and criticize their natural talents.
They usually want to work alone and see asking for help as a sign of weakness. They reject this help and often end up feeling burnt-out.
The pressure to constantly always do more harms people and leads them to a mental collapse.
“Be ready for those feelings, observe them, be mindful of them and be ready with a response,” Dr. Albers suggests.
According to an article by Medical News Today, the experts talk about what causes Impostor Syndrome and some harmful effects it can have on a person. There are a few things to look out for when it comes to Impostor Syndrome: Constant overachieving, avoiding promotion and responsibility, feeling you don’t deserve them and will fail if you take them on. Having an "I'm Just Lucky" mindset and being unable to internalize skills, hard work, talent or abilities. Mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, paranoia, hysteria can result from Impostor Syndrome. It's tricky, but you can beat this syndrome once and for all by following these steps!
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