Imposter Syndrome: Changing Your Thought Process
Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which people doubt their accomplishments and feel like frauds, despite external evidence of their competence. This happens largely because people with imposter syndrome attribute their success to luck or chance rather than ability or skill.
What are some of the root causes of imposter syndrome?
The root causes of imposter syndrome are not fully understood, but there are several possible explanations. One theory suggests that imposter syndrome is caused by an inability to internalize one’s successes. This could be due to low self-esteem, feeling like you don’t deserve what you have, perfectionism, or a need for approval from others. Some experts believe that imposter syndrome is caused by cultural influences that place a high value on individual achievement.
Each of these causes can be further broken down into more specific factors.
Low self-esteem may be one of the biggest contributors to imposter syndrome. Not having self-esteem is one of the worst things you can do to yourself. By putting yourself down, not believing in yourself and thinking you’re not worth it, you’re sabotaging yourself on a daily basis.
If you believe that your success is undeserved, you may be more likely to feel like a fraud when you experience success. While it is possible for some people to cheat their way into success, like a promotion, chances are that you’re not one of them if you’re worried about not deserving it. Remind yourself that your success is your own and that your actions led you there.
Perfectionism is a commonly seen symptom and cause of Imposter Syndrome. Perfectionists may feel like they are never good enough, and it can affect someone in two different ways; thinking they’re not good enough for some things and passions, and feeling like a fraud. And I get it, not feeling adequate for a task or a role can be overwhelming, but it is surprising how much we are capable of. Much more than we think!
Which reminds me, needing help is not a flaw. Asking for help is neither weak nor bad. You do not have to be a one-person show, and you shouldn’t be! That is an exhausting goal.
Needing approval and validation from others may be a sign imposter syndrome. If your self-worth is partially dependent on others’ opinions, a lack of it would trigger a lot of feelings, including Imposter Syndrome.
How can you deal with feelings of self-doubt and insecurity
Insecurity is very alike to anxiety. If you have tricks for anxiety, I suggest using them on your self-doubt. That could include breathing exercises, meditation, affirmations, grounding techniques, writing down your feelings, and listening to relaxing music or sounds.
How to start changing your thought process if you have Imposter syndrome
If you think you might be experiencing imposter syndrome, there are several things you can do to start changing your thought process. First, it’s important to understand the root causes of your specific case of imposter syndrome. Once you know what is causing your feelings of self-doubt, you can start working on ways to address those issues.
If low self-esteem is a contributing factor, you can start by building up your self-confidence. Challenge yourself to do things that make you feel successful and accomplished. Set realistic goals and learn to accept compliments from others.
Feeling underserving of success can be addressed by daily affirmations in the mirror, taking charge of your life and recognizing that you are in control of your own destiny; therefore deserving of what your actions reward you with.
Accepting that success is not always a fluke, and that failure is not indicative of personal worthlessness, can help reduce the fear of being exposed as a fraud.
For people with perfectionism, it’s important to learn to forgive yourself for mistakes. Remember that nobody is perfect and everyone makes mistakes sometimes. Recognize that it’s okay to be flawed and that mistakes are part of the learning process.
For people who need approval from others, it’s important to develop a sense of independence. Learn to value your own opinions and thoughts, rather than relying exclusively on the opinions of others. Build meaningful relationships with people who appreciate and respect you for who you are, not just what you achieve.
Imposter Syndrome tips and tricks
Acknowledge your feelings. The first step is to acknowledge that you are feeling this way. Don’t try to ignore or dismiss your feelings – accept them and move on from there.
Talk about it. Talk to someone about how you’re feeling – a friend, family member, therapist, or anyone else who will listen. Talking openly about your experiences can help reduce the isolation and shame that often comes with imposter syndrome.
Challenge your thoughts. When those negative thoughts start creeping in, challenge them head-on! Question why you think you aren’t good enough and see if there is any truth to those thoughts or if they are just self-doubt.
Focus on your successes. Instead of dwelling on your failures or what you perceive as shortcomings, focus on your successes. Make a list of all the times you’ve succeeded, no matter how small, and refer to it when you start doubting yourself. Take it one step further by listing a few things you did that led to that success.
Seek out professional help. If you find that you can’t shake the feeling of imposter syndrome or it is impacting your life in a negative way, seek out professional help from a therapist or counselor. They can provide guidance and support to help you work through these feelings.
How can you learn to accept compliments and celebrate your accomplishments
It’s easy to feel a little shy and undeserving, or not wanting to be the center of attention, but always rejecting compliments and playing down your accomplishments is certainly not going to do wonders for your self-esteem. Instead, try to graciously accept compliments and use them as motivation to keep doing great things.
Whenever someone pays you a compliment, try to simply say “thank you” instead of immediately launching into self-deprecating comments or fishing for more compliments.
If you’re feeling extra confident, you can even return the compliment. For example, if someone compliments your outfit, you could say something like, “I’m so glad you like it! You have such great taste.”
It can also be helpful to take some time to reflect on your accomplishments and give yourself credit where it’s due. Make a list of things you’re proud of that you’ve accomplished, no matter how big or small. Did you finally learn how to cook a complicated dish? Did you get a promotion at work? Or maybe you managed to stick to your workout routine for two months straight? Give yourself a pat on the back for all of your successes, no matter how small they may seem.
That’s the key.
Don’t put a hierarchy on your achievements. A win is a win is a win.