March 25, 2019

Signs You Have Imposter Syndrome & How to Overcome It

Written by Rachel Eddins

Man suffering from imposter syndrome

Fake it till you make it. We all know the cliché and the “fake it” part almost comes naturally now. “Make it” is an entirely different story. In fact, for many folks, it may feel like an impossibility. No matter how much they accomplish, they perpetually feel like a fake. This is often a sign of something called imposter syndrome.

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is a chronic form of self-doubt and insecurity. Regardless of how much you accomplish, you never feel accomplished. It’s not a clinical disorder but it is often connected to anxiety and depression. Not only that, but imposter syndrome is incredibly common.

Perhaps as many as 80 percent of adults self-report experiencing imposter syndrome at some point in their lives. When they succeed, they chalk it up to luck or downplay the achievement. A person with imposter syndrome lives in a state of constant fear or nervous anxiety.

4 Signs You Have Imposter Syndrome

1. Perfectionism

If you feel like a fake, the quickest path to relief is to be perfect, right? Of course not, but perfectionism is an alluring option for those presenting with a false self.

2. Superhero Syndrome

This is an exhibitionist version of perfectionism. Since you believe everyone can see you for the fraud you are, you go the extra mile in all you do. Superhero, super expert, super genius — whatever variation you choose, it’s still a sign of imposter syndrome.

3. You Refuse to Ask For Help

Even those who are not making a show of their efforts share this “rule.” Do not ask for help. If you do, you’ll confirm what you think everyone is already saying about you.

4. Downplaying Accomplishments

Finally, you have those moments where — despite your many “flaws” — you manage to succeed. At that point, you have one more trick up your sleeve: downplay the accomplishment.

For most of us, finding compassion for others is such an easy thing. Finding that same compassion for ourselves, however, doesn’t always come naturally. Take our quiz to find out how unforgiving of yourself you actually are.

4 Suggestions to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

1. Examine That Worst-Case Scenario

A big part of imposter syndrome is anticipating a “disaster” if you fail. Therefore, a major step towards recovery is exploring that self-deception. Reminder: Those nightmare scenarios are just as unlikely as anyone being perfect.

2. Take Comfort in the Numbers

As mentioned above, you are far from alone especially in a city as large as Houston. This is important because imposter syndrome makes us imagine that everyone else has it all figured out. It can be very comforting to recognize that we’re all faking it in the hope of making it together.

3. Take Solace in the Humility

The goal is not to puff up and declare yourself a star. A small dose of imposter syndrome is healthy. We must all take stock and seek new skills and perspectives. Thus, it’s important to examine your actions — successful or not — and find ways to learn. The danger arrives when you will not or cannot recognize a job well done.

4. Imposter Syndrome and Therapy

So much of imposter syndrome involves internal dialogue. This means you have to address that self-talk. It also means you must explore the roots of such insecurity. The ideal method for these parallel goals is therapy. You and your counselor will work as a team to reveal patterns and devise strategies.

Be a Kinder, More Compassionate Person

Learn the ways you might be exhibiting imposter syndrome Let’s go back to the realization that imposter syndrome is widespread and most commonly motivated by fear of failure. What might happen if we each committed to becoming more accepting and supportive?

If, little by little, we find people less likely to condemn us, would we become more comfortable with taking risks? When we don’t need to be perfect and no longer fear embarrassment, we won’t feel like an imposter. We’ll probably just feel like everyone else and that is more than enough!

If you find you cannot shed your fear, counseling is a sound way to identify and overcome imposter syndrome. Please reach out and begin changing the way you see yourself for the better. At Eddins Counseling Group, we have many qualified counselors that can help you learn to speak to yourself with compassion and address your inner dialogue that contributes to imposter syndrome. Call us at 832-559-2622 or book an appointment online.

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