• Shruti GOCHHWAL

Feel Like A Fraud And Fake: It May Be Imposter Syndrome

It is human nature to doubt itself. Universally, all humans do not pay much attention when they achieve something however, when they lose something they start dwelling over their weaknesses. Imposter syndrome is based on the exact nature of the human mind. A person can be said to be suffering from this syndrome when they feel incompetent despite their accomplishments. It is a syndrome where you feel like everything that you have achieved till now is purely a result of your luck, not your abilities. In simple words, you begin feeling like a fraud who will be discovered at any moment by another person.

Did you know that it is estimated that close to seventy percent of people feel like an imposter at some or the other point in their lives. So is Imposter Syndrome a mental illness? According to psychologists it is an experience that is characterized by constant feelings of self-doubt and self-questioning. However, the syndrome is not yet included in the category of mental illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

What Does Imposter Syndrome Feel Like?

Imposter Syndrome symptoms

A woman being self-critical, Credit: Canva


People dealing with this syndrome usually experience:

  1. Feelings of self-doubt

  2. They are unable to examine their abilities and competencies.

  3. And, They constantly regard their success as a result of some other factor apart from their own hard work.

  4. They constantly find their performance falling short of the required standards

  5. They doubt their ability to fulfill the expectations set by others.

  6. People do not communicate the feelings of self-doubt with others.

  7. They set very high goals for themselves and belittle themselves when they do not achieve them.

People having Imposter Syndrome may also suffer from an ever pervasive feeling of anxiety in the face of not being able to achieve what they want to.

Who Gets Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter Syndrome in women

A sad woman, Credit: Canva


Imposter syndrome is more commonly observed in women than men. These people are not able to come to terms with their success and continuously find something in themselves that needs to be improved.these people are highly intelligent yet they are never satisfied with their existing level of expertise. When those dealing with Imposter Syndrome cannot achieve their goals, they feel totally defeated and bogged down.

This syndrome can develop in people who belong to a family of high achievers. It can also develop in those adults whose parents offer them lavish praise for any of their achievement but at the same time also become critical of them when they fail to achieve a specific goal. Apart from this, it can also be triggered in those persons who have joined a new university or have joined a new workplace. They can feel as if they are not capable of fulfilling the challenges that are a part of their new role.

How Do You Fix Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter Syndrome treatment

A smiling woman, Credit: Canva


Fixing Imposter Syndrome will begin with gaining an awareness of it. Ask yourself questions like

  1. Do you belittle yourself over small mistakes?

  2. Do you see your success as being a result of an external factor or just a chance?

  3. Does constructive criticism bother you?

  4. Do you feel that criticism of your work means that you are incapable of doing it?

  5. Do you consistently find that you are lacking in a particular expertise that others have?

Is there a way by which you can overcome Imposter Syndrome? Yes, there are ways that can help you gain confidence in yourself again. Here is what you need to do.

  1. Talk your feelings out to others. Talking to other people will also make you aware of the fact that whatever you are experiencing is not real. If you will not communicate your feelings then you will find that your feelings are just getting bigger and too hard for you to come out of the vicious circle of this syndrome.

  2. Help others. Stop focusing so much on yourself and start focusing on helping others. If you see another person in a difficult situation, offer them a helping hand. When you do this, you will invariably achieve confidence in yourself and your abilities.

  3. Take a pen and paper and write down all that you have achieved so far. You should also write down your abilities and strengths. Assess and examine them in an unbiased manner. It will help you to gain more awareness about your abilities and you will become more sure and confident about yourself.

Believe in yourself and do not underestimate yourself. Soon you will come out of this syndrome and regain a better perspective of your strengths.

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