Impostor Syndrome creates a life of anxiety and stress in those who have it. It is exhausting! People who have it often report having symptoms like the following:
- Being uncomfortable with praise, promotion or being singled out for positive attention
- The feeling that making a mistake means you are not good enough
- People pleasing
- Not standing up for yourself when it would be appropriate
- Fear of rejection even when people seem to like you
- Feeling invisible
Our society frequently rewards people for being someone they are not, and in some families, wearing a mask is a pragmatic survival mechanism. But for people with Impostor Syndrome, the need to stay masked, even from oneself, runs deep. Here are three tools that can help free one from this debilitating syndrome:
1) Acknowledge your own specific symptoms. Write them down and be aware that they are just stories and not real. Seeing them as symptoms will give you more clarity in choosing how you decide to think. act and feel.
2) Do something small every day to counteract Impostor Syndrome. Huge change all at once will probably be too much. Small measured steps work best.
3) Talk to someone who knows you well and has your back. Or speak with a mentor that you trust or a professional therapist. Talking about what is going on will help you to develop the resiliency that is needed for you to really start to be yourself.
Impostor Syndrome need not be a permanent condition. Get the support you need to go inward so you can begin to develop the strength to be your true self. By doing so, your life will become happier and much less stressful.