Do you often feel like you’re not good enough at whatever you do, and that you’ll never be good enough?
Even when the results show that yes, you are good enough, do you still say, “Nah, that was just luck”?
I can relate to that, especially when it comes to academic assignments or work-related stuff. While I wasn’t the best student ever, I think I did rather well in my academic career and I’ve got decent grades as proof of that.
However, throughout the 3 years of my degree, I never stopped feeling like my good grades were simply a result of luck, and that I was a total fraud who never knew what she was doing.
I was just never satisfied with the good results, and the bad results only served to reinforce my insecurities that yep, I wasn’t good enough.
If you often find yourself in this mindset, you’re probably suffering from impostor syndrome.
What’s Impostor Syndrome?
In brief, impostor syndrome is when you constantly put down your accomplishments to luck and not your own qualifications or talent.
Anyone can be subject to this state of mind, no matter how good others may actually perceive them to be.
It’s completely an in-your-own-head kind of situation, and not immediately due to any external sources telling you or implying that you’re not good enough, though some experts believe otherwise.
If you’re on the fence about whether or not you suffer from it, this test by psychologist Pauline Rose Clance might help you.
Could It Be A Good Thing?
Personally, I think a light dose of insecurity helps me with constantly finding ways to improve myself. If I was comfortable with whatever results I got 100% of the time, I don’t think I’d ever get anywhere in life.
Discomfort breeds growth, or something like that.
I’d say it’s important that you at least try and do something about your dissatisfaction though. If you’re always dissatisfied but never try and find the cause of it, you’re probably building up your stress for an epic meltdown someday in the future.
As someone who tends to bottle up my emotions until I burst, I understand very well how unhealthy that can be.
What Kind Of Impostor Are You?
According to impostor syndrome expert Valerie Young, there are patterns in people who experience these feelings.
She lists out 5: “perfectionists”, “experts”, “natural genius”, “soloists”, and “supermen” or “superwomen”.
Personally, I fall under “perfectionists” as I often set high standards for myself (work-wise) and get utterly disappointed when I can’t meet them.
And by disappointed, I mean I stress and cry over whatever task I feel like I’m failing at for 3 weeks straight, which doesn’t help in the slightest.
It just makes me procrastinate and put off the next daunting task that I’ve already convinced myself I’ll fail at.
How Can I Stop Feeling Like A Fraud?
According to experts, you can’t really stop feeling like an impostor—you just train yourself to recognise when you’re giving in to your insecurities and learn how to get out of that mindset.
Some self-doubt is normal, but in excessiveness is harmful. It shouldn’t hold you back; it should simply serve as a way for you to reflect on your past, present and future actions, after which you move on.
How I’ve dealt with my own feelings of inadequacy is by talking to someone I trust. Just telling someone about how you’re feeling could help, though the best they could do might be to reassure you that you’re doing fine.
It’s up to you to reframe your way of thinking and acknowledge your accomplishments. When you suffer from impostor syndrome, no amount of someone else telling you how good you are can help you feel better.
One thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it’s from peers about some task you’re unsure of how to carry out, or if it’s from a mental health professional about how you can transform your insecurities into something beneficial.
Here’s to learning how to tackle our impostor syndrome for a more fulfilling life.