The enemy of Imposter Syndrome is talk. Bring it out into the light and give voice to your thoughts. Counselling is the best way to do this, as it will provide you with the space to speak your mind with a skilled, non-judgmental professional.
What is it?
For some, Imposter Syndrome is a debilitating psychological pattern of beliefs caused by a fear of being exposed as fraudulent and undeserving of personal achievements. These fears are rarely expressed but are instead held internally, making them extremely difficult to acknowledge and address.
It’s not actually a mental disorder, but it can be an entrenched belief or way of thinking that feeds anxiety and stress. These internalised fears will also drive certain limiting behaviours and create negative feelings, and will include a belief that no matter how much progress you make or success you achieve, you don’t truly deserve your accomplishments.
These feelings of fraudulence are actually very common – I recognise a dose of it myself and I’m aware when it raises its head. I understand it and can acknowledge it and address it if I feel it’s presence. For many who haven’t had the opportunity to really acknowledge, explore and address it, it’s a feeling that can be hard to shake.
People who are particularly highly skilled or accomplished – the high achievers among us – tend to think others are just as skilled and that they don’t deserve acknowledgement or opportunities over other people. In a nutshell, since it’s tough to really know how hard our peers work, how difficult they find certain tasks, or how much they doubt themselves, there’s no easy way to dismiss feelings that we’re less capable than the people around us.
How do I address Imposter Syndrome (IS)?
Counselling will help you shine a light on those debilitating feelings and take the power away from them, helping you understand and address your IS tendency in a meaningful and sustainable way.
As a counsellor, I believe when we know the WHY behind such things, we have more power over the feeling and we are better able to solve/change or minimise it. Knowing why enables you to start addressing it from a base of understanding and can lead to more compassionate thoughts about ourselves, alleviating some of that critical or fearful self-talk.
So, if you suspect you are struggling with Imposter Syndrome, here are 4 ways to help you to start addressing it:
- Read about it!
Gaining a general understanding about what IS is and it’s associated symptoms will make acknowledging your own internalised fears easier. If you experience some of the thoughts and feelings listed in articles you read, then…
- Talk about it!
The enemy of IS is talk. Bring it out into the light and give voice to your thoughts. Counselling is the best way to do this, as it will provide you with the space to speak your mind with a skilled, non-judgmental professional. Counselling will help you shine a light on those debilitating feelings and take the power away from them, helping you understand and address your IS tendency in a meaningful and sustainable way.
- Collect data
Collect data regarding your positive experiences and achievements and use it to test your assumptions and negative thoughts. Look at the tangible evidence of your achievements such as positive performance reviews, awards, qualifications etc.
- Finally, realise you’re not alone
Having open conversations about challenges is another way we can undercut feelings of imposterism — which may never entirely fade — because those common experiences can help us realise we’re not as alone in our insecurities as we feel.