"I’m Not Good Enough and Everyone Can Tell"—Inside the Mind of an Imposter
Life is full of challenges, and what defines us is how we rise up to face them. However, along the way, there may be an intrusive feeling that makes us believe we won’t be able to do it or that we are a fake. If you’ve ever felt like that, then you might suffer from something called imposter syndrome. But don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Statistics show that nearly 70% of people have felt this way at some point in their lives.
At Bright Side, we care about your well-being and want to assure you that, if you ever experience this, there is a way to cope with it.
What is imposter syndrome
That nagging voice in the back of your mind telling you: “You’re not good enough.” “You’re not worthy of others.” This unrelenting voice triggers your anxiety up to the point where you start owning it and believing it to be true. However, your only mistake here is believing that it’s your voice, when it’s actually the imposter.
This phenomenon happens when we attribute our accomplishments solely to pure luck or the help of others. We might also feel that what we have achieved is not such a big deal and that others would have been more successful. Some people even go to the extent of believing that someone will find out that they’re a fake.
How to tell if you suffer from it
If you’ve ever found yourself thinking or saying one of these phrases, then you probably suffer from it. Imposters usually use “minimizing language,” meaning that they lack the confidence to be assertive about what they want and to recognize what they’ve accomplished. They also struggle to accept any kind of praise, crediting others for their success or not even being able to see it as something of any worth.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Your level of success is irrelevant in this situation, even some of the most intelligent and gifted people in the world have, at times, regarded themselves as complete failures. Albert Einstein thought that his work was being overpraised and felt like a swindler. Best-selling novelist and the mastermind behind many detective stories, Agatha Christie, believed that she was actually pretending to be someone else and didn’t consider herself a real author.
So, if these prominent entrepreneurs, leaders, and celebrities see themselves as imposters, we know that there are many more people out there who are second-guessing themselves.
How to cope with it
As with everything in life, you need to be committed to feeling better in order to actually start improving. Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of things that you can do, just breathe and try one at a time:
1. Be open about how you feel. Sometimes we keep things bottled up, afraid that we might embarrass ourselves or that others won’t sympathize with how we feel. Open up to your friends or even take part in forums, like this Reddit thread. Talking to others might validate your feelings.
2. Try to be objective. This might be hard, but try to separate how you feel from the facts. If someone is complimenting you or if you’ve received some sort of recognition for your work, there must be a reason. Don’t underestimate yourself by disregarding real and palpable accomplishments.
3. Focus on the positive. When your mind starts getting clouded with negative thoughts, make a list of the things you’ve done so far in life that you didn’t believe you’d be able to achieve. Always stay on the bright side of life!
4. Don’t crumble when you make a mistake. This is also a tough one, but mistakes get in your way. You just need to know how to deal with those nagging thoughts that are trying to tackle you, and make it to the finish line.
5. If it doesn’t come naturally, just fake it. Eventually, you’ll start feeling like the true hero you probably are. But until you get there, accept all positive comments about your work as validation. Tell that image in the mirror looking back at you that you deserve what you have, and take the risk to be more assertive with what you want.
If you’ve made it this far, it means that you care, as everyone in the Bright Side community does. Did you feel seen with any of the phrases you read? Feel free to share your own experiences and any pieces of advice, so we can all help each other out.