Do you ever feel like you don’t deserve the recognition you’re getting? Like one day people will find out you’re not as capable as they thought you were? Does it feel like everyone seems knowledgeable and confident while you’re just pretending to know what you’re doing? If so, you may be struggling with imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome refers to feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy despite evidence of competence. People with imposter syndrome often feel like frauds, and they believe their accomplishments were a result of luck rather than their abilities. They often compare themselves to others, and they worry people will find out that they are incompetent and incapable. Imposter syndrome is a common experience for many college students and professionals. Furthermore, imposter syndrome has been found to disproportionately affect high achievers and marginalized groups, such as women and minorities. After reading this blog post, you will learn some tips to overcome imposter syndrome and create a more balanced view of yourself.
Create a Self-Appreciation Log. (This can be a note in your phone or a piece of paper you hang up on your wall.) Take some time to reflect and write down all of your accomplishments, strengths, personal milestones, and positive feedback from others. Look at the list and acknowledge your accomplishments and growth. Individuals experiencing imposter syndrome will often ignore or minimize their accomplishments, so when you’re feeling self-doubt, look at this reminder as evidence of your competence and value.
Recognize When You’re Comparing Yourself to Others. People with imposter syndrome often compare themselves to others. You may find that you’ve been making assumptions about other people and how well they’re handling their responsibilities. Some people may look like they have it all together, however we don’t ever know what is actually going on in their lives. Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides.
Reframe Imposter Syndrome. Imposter syndrome is the result of caring and wanting to do well. People who experience imposter syndrome are often high achievers and successful. In addition, imposter syndrome is the effect of succeeding. You put in all this work to get to where you’re at, and you’ve accomplished great things. People are seeing something within you that you haven’t seen in yourself yet.
Practice Self-Compassion. If you’ve been struggling with imposter syndrome, you probably have high standards and are hard on yourself. When you’re having feelings of self-doubt, recognize that things are hard right now and ask yourself what you need in this moment. Talk to yourself kindly like you were your own best friend. Some self-compassion phrases that may resonate with you are: “I’m doing the best that I can”, “It’s human to make mistakes”, or “May I accept myself as I am.”
Overcoming imposter syndrome takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself, recognize that you want to do well, and acknowledge your worth and competence. If you’re struggling with imposter syndrome, seeing a therapist can also help improve your self-worth and reduce negative thinking. As a therapist in Gainesville, FL, I offer in-person and video therapy for teens and adults. I'm passionate about supporting anxious, self-critical individuals to live more fulfilling, joyful lives. (Click here to learn more about me!) Give me a call/text at 352-649-3876 or fill out my contact form, and let's start your journey towards healing and growth.
Written by Sasha Larson, LMHC