Updated: Apr 30
Do you ever wanted to do something for yourself, your future, your dreams, or for someone, but stopped because you feel like you are not worth it? Do you feel like if people would know who you really are they would think you are a fraud? Do you think you don’t have what it takes to follow your dreams, that it is not for you? Well, this phenomenon is called impostor syndrome.
Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome, or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments or talents and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.
Impostor syndrome can show up despite external evidence of your competence, experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that you are a fraud, and do not deserve all you have achieved. When you have impostor syndrome you can incorrectly attribute your success to luck, or interpret it as a result of deceiving others into thinking you are more intelligent than you perceive yourself to be.
Ways To Spot Impostor Syndrome
Impostor syndrome has been divided into six categories: – The impostor cycle – The need to be special or the best – Characteristics of Superman/superwoman – Fear of failure – Denial of ability and discounting praise – Feeling fear and guilt about success
Building upon decades of research, Valerie Young further looked into fraudulent feelings among high achievers. From her book The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer From the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It, she was able to identify five subgroups this syndrome often falls into. – The perfectionist – The superwoman/man – The natural genius – The soloist – The expert Studies suggest that more than 70% of people experience impostor syndrome at some point in their careers.
Impostor phenomenon can also occur in other various settings. Some examples include: – A new environment – Your academic settings – In your workplace – On social interactions – Your relationships (platonic or romantic)
Examples of impostor syndrome in the classroom or work: – Comparing yourself to your classmates or co-workers. – You don’t feel prepared academically/professionally when you compare yourself to your classmates/co-workers. – You often question the grounds on which you were accepted into the program/job. – You perceive that that positive recognition, awards, and good grades stemmed from external factors, and not from your personal ability or intelligence.
There are many other factors that can affect your self-esteem like your connections, family, co-workers, self-expectations, and more!
When you are loaded with the impostor phenomenon, feelings of guilt often result in a fear of success. The following are examples of common notions that lead to feelings of guilt and reinforce the impostor syndrome: – The good education they were able to receive. – Being acknowledged by others for success. – Belief that it is not right or fair to be in a better situation than a friend or loved one. – Being referred to as: – “The smart one”. – “The talented one”. – “The responsible one”. – “The sensitive one”. – “The good one”. – “Our favorite”.
Top Triggers Of Impostor Syndrome
There are several facts that can trigger impostor syndrome but there are a few ones that stays on top of the chain.
There are two types of expectations here, the ones you expect from yourself and the ones you think others expect from yourself. Expectations can bring a lot of pressure into a work in progress or making a decision, especially when you haven’t made a plan, or don’t trust yourself to be able to achieve those expectations. Sometimes we just expect way too much too fast, and when we don’t see results, we start doubting ourselves and think we are not worth it.
When I started my business I expected a boom in just a few months, and of course, when I didn’t saw my expectations coming through, impostor syndrome showed up telling me I wasn’t worthy of success and this career was not for me. I had to manage my expectations, make them more accurate to the time, and see what progress I had really made to come back to my senses and feel confident about myself again.
This can also be when it comes to weight loss, sometimes people set an expectation of losing 20 or 40 pounds in one month when truth is that is not possible, or at least not in a sustainable healthy way. They expected too much for such a short amount of time.
But expectations can also be exaggerated when you start to guess what others are expecting from you. This can be what you think your partner, your kids, your parents, or your boss is expecting from you. Instead of asking, you assume what they expect from you, and we make their expectations a priority and forget to put yourself first and what you CAN do first.
If what you think they expect from you is too much, that it is taking a toll on your mental and/or physical health, that you can get there when you need to, then go and be honest and have a chat. You can be very surprised to see how so often you have exaggerated or miss lead what others expect from you.
We live way too concerned with how other people perceive us, how they will react to what we do or say, and what they will think about us. The other day I received and DM from a friend that hasn’t been in too much communication with me in the last few years, she asked me if I was taking my diet way too seriously because I looked too skinny!!!
Can you imagine what that question would have done to my mental health if I had allowed others people's opinions, including one from my friend, about my body weight and looks to affect me? Old me would care about my friend's opinion and have got traumatized and frustrated, I would have stared at myself in the mirror and told myself that I was ugly and too skinny. Luckily, that old me is gone, and when I read that I laugh and told her I was not taking anything seriously and that I love how I look because I do love how I look now and let me tell you, it took me a very long time to get here.
I can’t take others people's opinions of me, of how should I look, where should I be in my life to affect my mental health. I go first, and what makes me happy will not necessarily make others happy and I have to be okay with that. There are so many things that could have me watching Netflix right now with a huge box of chocolate chip cookies, I mean…
– I’m a 33-year-old single MOM OF THREE ….. according to people, “Girl, I need a husband!” – I am a stay-at-home mom, building her own business, aka, still no big career…. according to people, “You should have been stable by now, with a good career!” – I am too skinny…. I should do more weight lifting….. I should go back to black hair….. bla, bla, bla….
Do you get my point!
Be you! Work at your own speed, and love the process.
Labels can be helpful in some things, they can help us to describe what makes us unique, what makes us … well, us! Can define our character straights, our genius side, what we do for a living, what we enjoy doing, etc.
However, labels can be dangerous when we let them define us 100%. According to my friend, I am too skinny, sooo….. do I need to be now that unhealthy skinny girl? Absolutely Not!
I am vegan, or I tried to be as much as I can, but if someone serves me something, should I go and ask for an ingredient list? So in case, there’s something I don’t eat in there, reject it? Should I read every single label of everything I buy and if don’t find my answer then go crazy on google…..right in the middle of the store? Hell no! Yes, I stick to my values, but if by any occasion I had to just keep moving, and make an exception, then I will, labels free.
Labels can’t define who you are to the point. Just because you love to do weight exercises doesn’t mean you can’t do cardio, or Zumba, or kickboxing. Just because you have a career, you shouldn’t try something totally different on the side. If something is calling you, then go for it, don’t let labels define you, and stop you.
You are everything you want to be!