The feeling of being fake to yourself, to the world, the internal battle of being incompetent compared to others is what makes you a victim of imposter syndrome. You might even start feeling that wherever you are, at whatever stage of life you currently are in is because of sheer factor of luck and not because of your hard work.
The term that was first used in 1970s by psychologists Suzanna Imes and Pauline Rose Clance. Apparently it was thought to be applied only to successful women but as the misconceptions were cleared with time, it has been recognized more widely. According to surveys and theories it is proved that approximately 68% people suffer with imposter syndrome at least once in their life.
There are multiple causes to Imposter Syndrome. It is proven that IS does not occur due to individual reasons but multiple reasons together acting as a trigger.
Let me list down a few common ones:
1. Over Expecting Parents. Most parents have a tendency to see their children successful in every field irrespective of their individual interest. Nobody can be good at everything but children in this case tend to over prepare for everything they do in order to fulfil their parent’s expectations and sometimes it might cause them nervous breakdown at show time.
2. Change. In my previous articles I have mentioned this phrase a lot, “Change is the only constant.” People who have recently experienced a great change or entered a new role in their life might experience this. It might bring out your insecurities and the feeling of not belonging might start surfacing.
3. The Perfectionists or The Experts. People who set extremely high expectations for themselves and are flawless 99% of times but even one failure might push them into the black hole of self-doubt and feeling of being inept. At their lowest, they tend to question their abilities more than others.
4. Soloists. People who want everything under control even when some hardships might seem inevitable. They want to conquer every “war”, metaphorically, alone. Asking others for help makes them uncomfortable and they fall on their own standards. Their streamline thought is that if they cannot achieve success independently, they are unworthy.
People often mix feeling unworthy and being made to feel unworthy as IS. There is a fine line between both and we should know how to distinguish it. If you are made to doubt your strengths by someone forcibly trying to enter your sub conscious mind and trying to tell “things”, you must immediately cut off those toxic people. One of the most common ways of these people is to tell you what others think of you, their opinions about you all in the shadow of supporting you but slowly and steadily planting seeds of self-doubts. Beware of these ones.
Dealing with IS might differ for everyone. It might take months or years but eventually you snap out of it. Seeking therapy is the most effective solution but there are things we need to do at our end.
Firstly, acknowledge your feelings, doubts and insecurities. Share your imposter feeling with trusted friends. It might help lessen the burden.
Secondly, connect with people. Learn different stories and circumstances and how people have dealt with it. You may find someone with similar problems as yours and bingo!
Thirdly, avoid comparing with others. Everyone is different. You being less good at something doesn’t makes you inferior. Learn and Evolve.