You know that moment when you get a good grade on a test and you feel like you did’t deserve it. That moment when you get a compliment based on a good work you have carried out and you feel like a fraud because you don’t think u deserved the compliment.You know those times when you say to yourself “I am certainly not as good as they make me to be.” or “What am I doing here. I am not as intelligent as these people”. Those moments when you’ve thought the worst of an application you just built and eventually get good feedback concerning it. I could go on and on, but the point is if you’ve experienced any of these, trust me, you are not alone. Studies have proven that almost 70% of people actually feel this way. However, the intensity at which these feelings are being felt actually differs. While some experience it at certain intervals, others experience it more frequently.
My curiosity about these feelings led me to research about it and I stumbled on Impostor Syndrome. This is not particularly a psychological disorder. It is more like a human condition. Impostor syndrome was first coined by Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. Based on their research, high-achieving women tend to think they were being over-evaluated. However this syndrome is not peculiar to women alone. Impostor syndrome can be described as a situation whereby someone feels like a fraud based on his/her accomplishments. He feels he is not worthy of such accomplishments despite commendation concerning his success. People with impostor syndrome tend to look down on their achievements and get extremely surprised when they are being praised for it.
The effects of impostor syndrome are endless. Amongst them includes; anxiety, self-doubt and understating one’s skills. Someone with impostor syndrome tend to shy away from taking part in activities that would actualize their potentials. This is because, they fear that they are not qualified enough for such task which most times is usually false. Another common issue with people with this syndrome is the inability to advertise their skills and achievements. This is because they believe they are not that intelligent and want to avoid being discovered as incompetent.
Now to the big question. How to combat Impostor Syndrome?
If you’ve discovered that you have the signs, the first step should be to accept the fact that you have impostor syndrome. Then life becomes easier. Learn to accept that you deserved those achievements. You worked so hard for it so you definitely deserved it. Talk to family and friends and get their trusted opinions about you and remember to believe it when they say “You are good!”.
Take up challenges. Don’t be scared that you would fail and everyone would think you are a fraud. Enroll in that program, go for that competition, apply for that job. Just do it. Try it and if it works out fine, smile and accept it as an achievement, and if it doesn’t work out fine, still smile and move on. No matter what, life goes on!
Aside that, writing could also help. Writing down your achievements can help you appreciate it more. Most importantly, believe in yourself. Yes, I know this might sound cliche, but it’s actually the truth. Learn to believe in yourself, in your abilities, and never for once look down on yourself. Trust me, these things help.