Siri, “What is Imposter Syndrome?”

Over the last year, I’ve had a lot of time to myself to reflect on my high school experience and all the steps that have led to me going to where I am now. At times, I’ve felt extremely proud of my hard work and pat myself on the back for my accolades and achievements. But, more recently I’ve been experiencing imposter syndrome. 

Feelings of insecurity and doubt surrounding who I am as a person have crept into my mind. I’ve begun to question if the person people see and praise me as is who I truly am or if I’ve simply been lucky. I know I’ve worked hard but did I work hard enough? When these feelings first arose I had no idea what it was and thought I was simply overthinking things again. But, after further research, I realized I was experiencing imposter syndrome. 

My research led me to reflect on my upbringing and the people around me. I found that at the root of my insecurities and doubts was a constantly evolving list of comparisons to other people around me, a habit most likely cultivated from the competitive environment that is Northern Virginia that I’ve been around since I was a kid.

Using others as a measuring stick for who I am and what I deserve had become a focal point of my daily life. For so long this habit had become a subconscious and instinctual behavior that ultimately made me question if I was qualified, worthy, or deserving of everything that makes up my life. 

It has taken a lot of time looking in the mirror and collecting my thoughts to mitigate some of the feelings of insecurity and self-doubt. But more importantly, it has taken a lot of courage to reach out to those around me and share my experiences. That courage is something that I am proud of and hope those of you out there struggling with anything can find outlets to express yourself because you truly are never alone. 

Below, I’ve compiled a brief overview of some of the research I accrued about imposter syndrome, including its causes, symptoms, and ways to combat it. 

Definition: 

Impostor syndrome is a mental health blockade that affects millions of people across the world. It’s a disorder that not many people talk about but is one that can be found at the root of anxiety, stress, and burnout. 

Causes:

While it can affect anybody, statistically more often than not high-achieving and ambitious individuals are the ones who experience imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome can be caused by a multitude of reasons such as having a perfectionist attitude, family environment, and cultural values.

Symptoms: 

Some of the main symptoms of imposter syndrome include… 

  • Self-doubt
  • A fear of underperforming/failure
  • Not taking ownership of your own successes (believing they were caused by outside factors)
  • Disappointment when lofty goals aren’t met

Ways to cope: 

There are many ways to cope with imposter syndrome but the ones that I have found to work the best are… 

  • Lots of self-reflection and analyzing my own thoughts to ultimately determine whether or not my doubts are justified 
  • Taking time off of social media as it catalyzes comparisons and unrealistic expectations
  • Reaching out to others to share your experiences; just having someone to listen to my struggles has been so helpful
  • Making a conscious effort to limit your comparisons to others

I hope that my experiences and this brief overview help you overcome or realize any issues that may be attributed to imposter syndrome. If you are looking for more information I’ll link a great article that helped me kickstart my research. 

Remember, you’re never alone and you deserve everything good that comes your way 🙂 

https://www.verywellmind.com/imposter-syndrome-and-social-anxiety-disorder-4156469

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