Imposters Syndrome: A Deep Dive Into Your Inner Psyche

Impostors syndrome, it sounds like something that a psychopath on American Horror Story might have. Well here’s the real horror story. It’s not, and it’s something that approximately 70% of the population will experience in their lifetime. So let me tell you about the monster in the closet, and how you too can combat it.

Impostors syndrome or the imposter phenomenon is defined as: “the idea that you’ve only succeeded due to luck, and not because of your talent or qualifications” (Times Magazine, 2018). According to research done by Dr. Valerie Young, this syndrome can further broken down into five subgroups. First the “perfectionist”. These are people who set immensely high goals for themselves, and if they fail to meet their own goals, they experience immense amounts of anxiety. These group of people tend to be really domineering, and feel as though they must do everything themselves in order to reach perfection. Secondly, there is the “superwoman/man”. This is the type of person who is constantly pushing themselves to unhealthy levels for the sake of beating out others. They tend to be highly insecure, and have a special talent of masking their insecurities well. The third type is the “natural genius.” These are the people who judge themselves based on the outcome/abilities, rather than the effort it took to get there. Natural geniuses get extremely frustrated when it takes any amount of effort to get to their end goal. Number four is the “rugged individualist.” These are the type of people who are so independent that they get nervous to ask  for any type of help, because it might “out” them. The last type is the “expert” people who encounter this type of impostor syndrome believe that they’ve tricked everyone into getting what they want. Things such as jobs and getting into schools are all just results of their facade.

While no one is certain why people suffer from imposters syndrome, it is theorized that things such as neuroticism, anxiety, family pressures, and culture are factors. Having any one of these things or any combination does not make you any more susceptible to suffering from impostors syndrome. Bear in mind that 70% of the population is believed to have suffered from symptoms.

 So how then do you avoid suffering from this, and how do you get out of it once you’re there? Tackling impostor syndrome is similar to the way you acknowledge thoughts when meditating. You begin by acknowledging the self doubt and disengaging it. Don’t let that doubt rule you. You can also learn to reframe your thinking. Rather than being upset by criticism, learn from it. Furthermore, like most any other emotion in life learn to share your thinking with others. Don’t keep this pent up and festering inside you.     

It’s normal to be struck with doubt, just don’t let it rule you. While I know all of this is easier said than done remember that you are ultimately more than your accomplishments, and you worked hard to get where you are. You deserve to be there.

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