What is the impostor syndrome?
Do you question your successes and attribute them to luck rather than skill? Do you feel like a fraud, waiting to be exposed as an impostor? If so, you may be experiencing impostor syndrome.
The first step to understanding impostor syndrome is understanding what it is. Impostor syndrome is a condition where people feel like they are not good enough or competent enough to do something, even though they may be successful at it. People with impostor syndrome often feel like they are frauds and that they are going to be exposed.
First described in 1978 by psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes, impostor syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which people doubt their accomplishments and feel that they're frauds, even when they're not. People with impostor syndrome often attribute their success to factors outside of their control, such as luck, and they downplay their own role in their achievements.
Impostor syndrome is relatively common, affecting 70% of the population at some point in their lives. It's more prevalent in women than men and usually begins during adolescence or young adulthood.
Symptoms of impostor syndrome include:
- Feelings of inadequacy
- Questioning your successes
- Attributing your success to luck
- Feeling like a fraud
- Difficulty accepting compliments
Types of impostor syndrome
There are a few different types of impostor syndrome. The first is called the Dunning-Kruger effect. This is when people believe they are better at something than they actually are. The second type is called the missing staircase. This is when people believe they need to be perfect in order to succeed. The third type is called the self-handicapping. This is when people make excuses for their failures.
Causes of impostor syndrome
There are a few different causes of impostor syndrome. The first is perfectionism. People who are perfectionists often set high standards for themselves that they can never reach. This can cause them to feel like impostors. The second cause is comparison. People who compare themselves to others often feel like they are not good enough. The third cause is self-doubt. People who doubt themselves often feel like they are not good enough.
How to overcome impostor syndrome
There are a few different ways to overcome impostor syndrome. The first is to accept that you are not perfect. This will help you to stop setting high standards for yourself that you can never reach. The second is to focus on your own progress. This will help you to see that you are making progress and that you are good enough. The third is to talk to someone who can help you. This could be a therapist, a coach, or a friend.
If you think you may be experiencing impostor syndrome, there are a few things you can do to cope with these feelings:
- Talk to someone you trust about your experiences. This can help you to feel less alone and better understand your thoughts and feelings.
- Write down your accomplishments. This can help you to see your successes more clearly and feel more confident in your abilities.
- Practice self-compassion. Cut yourself some slack and remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes.
- Seek professional help. If your feelings of impostor syndrome are impacting your day-to-day life, consider seeking help from a mental health professional.