It’s really easy to feel like a fraud. You’ll look at yourself in the mirror and think, you know, I look
cute today, and immediately a little voice in your head responds, you sure about that?
If you’ve ever felt this, you may be suffering from Imposter Syndrome. Imposter Syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. In short, it’s that immediate response to success that tells you that you’re not good enough — your ego’s way of keeping you down.
Imposter Syndrome is incredibly common — an estimated 70% of people experience it sometime in their life — and it can make a huge impact on emotional well-being. For me, it has really affected my life, work, and self-esteem.
Here’s a great example —
I love art. My favorite thing to do to pass time is sing, or draw, or paint. Art & creation always brings me joy. When I was in Amsterdam with my family, I had the opportunity to take a portrait-painting class at the Vincent Van Gogh museum, so I took it.
Throughout the whole experience, I was criticizing my own abilities. I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to match colors and shapes. I felt like I was a fake — someone trying to be an artist that wasn’t. In fact, I tried to throw the painting away.
Now, this painting was no masterpiece by any means. But, the art piece that I was so fervently shitting on is now displayed in my parents’ house. They love it so much that they keep it hung right in front of my door.
[It’s] your ego’s way of keeping you down.
My Imposter Syndrome was keeping me from feeling proud of my work. Even to this day, I feel a little guilty when I see this painting.
Although this is a toy example, this phenomenon has affected all aspects of my life. I’ve turned down job interviews because I felt I wasn’t ‘good enough’ to interview, despite being overly qualified. I’ve ruined friendships, and great dates with my boyfriend, by feeling like I wasn’t a ‘good enough’ friend/girlfriend. I constantly think I am a ‘fake’ in everything I do.
If this is something you relate to, you’re not alone. It can be a tough situation to deal with, since you may not even realize what’s happening. Over the last few months, I’ve developed some steps to help me when I feel this way:
Identify your Imposter Syndrome. Try to be cognizant of what’s happening in your brain. Are you dumping on yourself because you’ve actually messed up? Or are your putting down your accomplishments that you deserve to be congratulated for?
Write your affirmations. Write down all the things you ARE that your Imposter Syndrome tells you that you are not. You are beautiful. You are smart. You are qualified. You know what you are doing. And most of all, you deserve this success. You’ve earned it.
Say your affirmations aloud, even when you don’t feel the ‘fraud’. This might sound like some hippie-dippie shit that doesn’t work, but I promise you, the positive messaging will help. If you say this aloud once a day, your brain will start to re-pattern, and believe the truth.
This is not something I am perfect at. I still struggle with Imposter Syndrome, especially lately. But these are the steps that I take to mediate the effects, and I hope that they will improve my condition over time.