What Is Impostor Syndrome? Symptoms Of Impostor Syndrome & Tips To Deal With Impostor Syndrome

 Impostor syndrome (IS) is a psychological condition in which you believe that you are not as skilled as others perceive you to be. Although this term is generally applied to intelligence and accomplishment, it also has links to perfectionism and the social context.

To put it simply, imposter syndrome is the experience of feeling like a fake— you feel as though at any time you are going to be known as a fraud —like you don't belong where you are, and just got there by chance. It can affect anyone no matter their social status, job experience, skill level, or degree of expertise.

The term that was initially used by psychologists Suzanna Imes and Pauline Rose Clance in the 1970s. When the term Imposter syndrome was introduced, it was assumed that it only applied to high-achieving women. It has been more widely accepted since then.

According to the research, 70 percent of people experience these impostor feelings at some point in their lives. Impostor syndrome affects men and women of all ages, as well as students, marketing managers, and executives. Many people experience symptoms for a short period of time, such as in the first few weeks of a new job. For others, the experience can be lifetime.

Symptoms of Impostor Syndrome

Some common symptoms of imposter syndrome include:

  • Anxiety
  • Self-doubt
  • Distrust in one’s own intuition and capabilities
  • Negative self-talk
  • Fear that you won't live up to expectations
  • Overachieving
  • Attributing your success to external factors

Tips To Deal With Impostor Syndrome

There is no specific treatment for impostor syndrome at the moment, but people who are concerned about its impact on their lives can seek help from a mental health professional.

The steps below can also help a person manage and overcome a sense of inadequacy caused by impostor syndrome.

Talk about it

Sharing feelings with a trusted colleague, friend, or family member or receiving feedback can assist a person to develop a more realistic view of her skills and competence.

Some experts Trusted Source recommend group therapy as a treatment option because many people with impostor syndrome believe that they are the only ones who have these feelings, which leads to isolation.

Opening up with a mental health professional may also help a person to identify the source for their feelings, providing them the chance to tackle the underlying causes.

Be aware of the symptoms

Knowing what impostor syndrome is and why it occurs can help people recognize the symptoms and apply strategies to overcome their doubts.

Accept that perfectionism is impossible

A person must accept both their strengths and weaknesses in order to have a healthy sense of self-esteem and self-worth. Nobody is flawless, and mistakes are an unavoidable part of life.

Accepting that things go wrong sometimes can boost resilience and mental well-being.

Challenge negative thoughts

Impostor syndrome can be overcome by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Tips include:

  • Celebrating recent accomplishments
  • Thinking about the past successes
  • Keeping a history of positive feedback from others
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy seeks to improve coping skills by challenging unhelpful thought patterns.

While imposter syndrome is general, so is overcoming it with helpful tips. As you grow and reach new milestones, you may start to experience these symptoms of imposter syndrome again, so it's vital to have these helpful tips in your back pocket.

Remember that if you are feeling like an impostor, it means you have some level of achievement in your life that you are attributing to luck. Try rather turn that feeling into one of greatness. Look at what you have accomplished in your life and be thankful.

Don't be crippled by your fear of being found out. Rather, lean into that feeling and get at its roots. Let your guard down and let others see the actual you. If you have done all these things and still feel like your feeling of being an impostor is holding you back, it is essential to speak to a mental health professional.