What is now called impostor syndrome is a psychological phenomenon (despite its number, it is not a mental illness) that leads people to be unable to assume their successes as part of on their own merit, going on to believe that they enjoy a status they do not deserve and that it is due to fraud. As a result, these people develop problems both in their relationships and in relation to their self-esteem and their work projects.
But… How to overcome impostor syndrome? In this article we will talk about it.
Main features of impostor syndrome
These are the ways that impostor syndrome makes us feel bad about our relationships with other people in a work setting.
1. It makes us feel like we have something to hide
Seeing themselves as imposters, we assume that if we’re where we are, it’s because they don’t know anything relevant about us either ourselves, so we feel that at any time “the truth” can come out and we must try not to reveal this information inadvertently.
2. Use our success against us
On the other hand, impostor syndrome means that even if our work situation improves (for example, if we are supported in the company), we see it as an additional threat, a sign that the lie on which we have supposedly built our careers keeps complicating our situation almost without us looking for it. Consequently, we feel more rushed and we assume that we will not be able to adapt to the new responsibilities, which can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy.
3. It causes us to always think about our flaws
Because of this dynamic of trying to hide the alleged fraud, the person obsessively thinks about faults, to try to anticipate the situations in which they would be highlighted. This is why many people have a hard time trying to overcome impostor syndrome.
4. It leads us to value ourselves in competitive terms
Impostor Syndrome causes our self-esteem and self-concept to form through a competitive perspective, based on constant comparison with others. This generates psychological wear and tear related to stress.
5. It forces us to focus on the short term and try to overcompensate
The person with impostor syndrome does not believe that their employment situation is stable, so they will not develop ambitious long-term plans and will simply try to delay when their lack of skills and skills will prove to all.
Tips for Overcoming Impostor Syndrome
If you find that impostor syndrome affects you too much on a daily basis, either because of the pain it makes you feel or because of the problems it causes at work, know that the best way to overcome it is to go to psychological therapy; after all, having personalized psychological help offered by a professional is something that makes the difference. Oh well, these general tips that you will find here can also be useful to you, provided you know how to adapt them to your particular case.
1. Tell others about your limits
Remember that part of what makes a good professional a good professional is that he is able to communicate with confidence what his limits are, so that teamwork and task assignment are meaningful and sustainable. Therefore, it is assumed that it is normal for everyone to be able to talk about the areas in which they are not performing well and need help or delegation of tasks.
2. Set concrete goals
If your goals are specific, It will take some mental effort to invent excuses to attribute this progress to luck.. On the other hand, if these objectives remain in the domain of abstract ideas, it will not cost you any effort and therefore you will continue without being able to value your achievements.
3. Look at the failures of people you admire
No one is perfect, and looking at the imperfections of those characters you idealize will help you stop applying reverse logic to how you see yourself.
4. Compare yourself mainly to your past achievements
If you get used to comparing the “I” of the present with the “I” of the past, it will be easier that you leave behind that hyper-competitive mindset and have a more realistic sense of your accomplishments. Yes, it’s true that impostor syndrome makes us attribute our successes to luck, but that doesn’t change the fact that the same logic could be applied to what we achieved months or years ago, so you will continue to have a criterion with which to estimate your progress and learning
5. Try to see your mistakes as learning material
If you get used to seeing your failures as possible material to learn from, you will also stop obsessing over them and move on with more ease; in fact, you will find the task of detecting flaws in your way of doing things stimulating.
6. Reward yourself on special occasions
Difference between the most mundane and the most ambitious goals, so when you achieve one of these, you have a reason to celebrate. In this way, you will have a notion of the opening and closing of professional cycles, something useful for boosting self-esteem and overcoming the impostor syndrome.
7. Talk to someone about how you feel
Expressing our feelings of anxiety and guilt is a good way to deal with them and stop giving them more importance than they have to. In addition, it will help you organize your thoughts about it.
Would you like to benefit from professional psychological help?
If you are interested in having the support of a psychological professional to help you face and overcome impostor syndrome, contact me.
I am Tomas Santa Cecilia, a psychologist specializing in the cognitive-behavioral intervention model; I see adults and teenagers face to face or online via video call.