Have you ever once felt so concerned by what people will think when they discover that you are a fraud? You have not committed any criminal act or engaged in intentional deception, and yet, here you are feeling sorry for your inadequacy, and feeling apologetic to others over something you think you are, and feeling worried about being exposed.
It doesn’t even matter where you are or what you’ve accomplished sometimes. The nasty feeling that seems to make us believe that we’re betraying people around us and ‘keeping up appearances,’ seems to creep up on just about everyone at one time or another. It can happen at work while needlessly comparing ourselves to other people or feeling incompetent at our jobs.
This horrid feeling can happen to anybody, but impostor syndrome has been shown to be more prevalent amongst people considered to be high achievers.
It is estimated that nearly 70 percent of the population (that’s more than half of humanity) experience a feeling of fraudulence at some point in their lives. We normally don’t go around parading our feelings, announcing to everyone that we feel that we are fake.
In fact, it’s something most people conceal (unless they are asked or made to feel safe enough to confide about it) and that’s what can make it a little tricky to address. Feeling like an impostor exists alongside feelings of guilt, worry, anxiety, shame, and potentially other negative emotions that hinder us in life.
We often hear good advice like, “be authentic,” “be yourself,” and “be true to who you are,” but this doesn’t make sense to a person with impostor syndrome. There are many ways to help someone beat their feelings of impostorism, but it always starts with awareness. A person who seems unaware of what they’re feeling and who seems blatantly accepting of this mindset and behavior would be challenging to help.
If you or someone you know is going through Impostor Syndrome, take heart.
Here are actions you can undertake to help alleviate the uneasy anxiety behind the feelings of impostor phenomenon.