8 Ways to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Nov 1, 2022 | Live it Not in it

8 Ways to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Have you ever felt like you don’t belong anywhere? Or do you feel like a phony among your friends and family? You might be suffering from imposter syndrome. 

How do you overcome imposter syndrome? And how can you tell if you have it? This post will shed light on that. 

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is a general belief that you are not as competent as others thought you to be. It is a feeling that you are not good enough or don’t belong where you are, and you only got to the status or current place you have because of dumb luck [1]

The term “imposter syndrome” was first coined in the 1970s by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanna Imes. The concept was first thought to apply only to high-achieving women, but many have recognized this experience. 

Signs You Have Imposter Syndrome

It is normal to question ourselves sometimes, but if you have imposter syndrome, self-doubt is experienced more often. Here are signs that you might be suffering from it:

  • Constantly criticizing your performance, be it in school or work. 
  • You cannot assess your skills and competence realistically. 
  • There is a fear that you will not live up to expectations. 
  • You relate your success to external factors and not your hard work. 
  • Sabotaging your success is expected.
  • You often doubt yourself. 
  • Setting up unrealistic expectations and hating yourself for not fulfilling them. 
  • You tend to be an overachiever. 

What Causes Imposter Syndrome?

Studies show that imposter syndrome is connected to various factors, including gender, earlier family dynamics, and their general background. That said, it is crucial to know the root cause of this feeling to help you overcome imposter syndrome.

1. Family background.

According to research, family dynamics and upbringing can play a vital role in this situation. The parenting styles or how the person was raised also play a crucial role in your imposter syndrome. Controlling or unprotective parents and parents who value achievements more may also contribute to these feelings of “not being good enough.”

2. New roles at work or school.

Imposter syndrome is often triggered whenever someone transitions into a new role. Trying new things can also trigger this feeling. The pressure of “doing well” on the job and succeeding in it combined with the lack of experience can impact someone’s psyche. 

3. Your social anxiety.

A person with social anxiety may also feel like they don’t belong. It is also why imposter syndrome and social anxiety seemed to overlap. However, while social anxiety disorder (SAD) symptoms may fuel imposter syndrome, it does not mean that the person with SAD also has it. 

People with SAD lack the confidence and competence of someone with imposter syndrome. In contrast, those with imposter syndrome do not suffer from social anxiety. And often, IS sufferers feel anxious in a setting where they feel inadequate. 

4. Your personality traits.

You possess certain personality traits that could contribute to feelings of being a fraud. One is that you have low self-efficacy, which refers to your belief in succeeding in a situation. 

Another is when you tend to be a perfectionist. You often think that there is a “guide” that you must follow to achieve something. And most of the time, you feel like you need to follow these guidelines and not make any mistakes. 

Neuroticism is another personality trait where you suffer from high anxiety, tension, guilt, and insecurity. These feelings can trigger imposter syndrome. 

8 Ways to Overcome Imposter Syndrome

There is no known cure for imposter syndrome yet, but there are ways to cope. How can you do it now that you know what triggers your imposter syndrome?

1. Talk about it.

There is nothing wrong with talking about how you feel, but sometimes, talking about feelings is the hardest thing to do. Sharing your senses with a trusted friend or family member who can give you a more realistic point of view can help you. 

If you don’t have anyone to talk to, join group therapy. Surprisingly, you are not the only one who feels this way. Many people think this way too, and often, this leads to isolation. Talking and sharing your feelings with such a group can help you cope. 

Another option is to talk to a mental health expert. Counseling can also help you identify the causes so you can work your way around them. 

3. Dismiss negative thinking.

One of the triggers of your IS is the way you think of yourself. IS could happen when you do not value yourself enough or trust your abilities. Negative thoughts can only trigger feelings of not being good enough and lower your self-esteem. The best way to cope is to swap your negative thoughts for positive ones. How can you do this?

  • Celebrate your achievements no matter how small they are. 
  • Keep a record of the positive feedback you get from others. 
  • Recall what your past success felt like. You can do it again!

If you cannot do it yourself, try cognitive-behavioral therapy [2]. It can help improve your coping strategies by changing negative thinking patterns into positive ones. 

4. Assess your abilities.

Everyone has a talent or unique ability. Assessing yours can play an impact on how you feel. If you think that you are not good at anything, you will be. Do you believe that when you lie to yourself long enough, the lie becomes the truth? Exactly! 

Assess your abilities; know your strengths and weaknesses. Write down what you can and cannot do. Identify what you are good at and which part of you needs improvement. The more you practice self-assessment, the more you value yourself. 

5. Take one step at a time.

The way you overcome imposter syndrome is not going to happen overnight. It may take you months or years to get over the feeling. But don’t worry, as long as you take the first step, that’s all that matters. 

Self-doubt is not easy to overcome, so pat yourself on the back for trying. Sooner or later, you, too, can let go of these emotions. 

6. Avoid comparing yourself.

We are all unique individuals, and each of us has our talents, skills, and knowledge. Do not compare yourself with others; you are as talented as anyone else! You have to figure out what you are good at and focus on it. 

Instead of finding fault with yourself, try to listen. Be genuinely interested in learning from others. Listen to what they are talking about and set aside your feelings of not being good enough. 

7. Develop a positive response to your mistakes.

When you suffer from IS, forgiving yourself is not easy. However, coping with imposter syndrome means you also have to forgive yourself. Develop a positive response every time you make a mistake. Accept your flaws and move on instead of dwelling on them. 

No one is perfect and making mistakes is part of life. It is also an opportunity to learn. So, in case you find yourself on that end, get back up and tell yourself, “I’ll get it next time!.” 

8. Do not let it hold you back.

Fighting your feelings of not belonging is not always easy, but don’t let it hold you back either. Resist the urge to put yourself down, be your advocate. Remember, there’s so much more you can do! Keep pushing and reaching for your dreams. 

In Closing

Sometimes, it is okay to feel like you are not good enough as you also get tired. It is in our nature, but do not dwell in that kind of mindset. There is always a balance in everything. 

Coping with imposter syndrome is a challenge, but no one said it is impossible either! So, take a breath, shake off the negative vibes and push forward. You will do great. I believe in you!