Battling Imposter Syndrome: 2 Strategies to Cope
What is Imposter Syndrome Anyway?
Have you ever experienced a nagging feeling inside of yourself saying you aren’t good enough? Or perhaps a constant thought that you’re faking it all, combined with the idea that one day everyone will find you out and you’ll lose everything. If you can relate to any of these feelings, or have had similar experiences, welcome to the club, you’re battling Imposter Syndrome! Research states nearly 70% of adults have felt imposterism at some point in their lives, so don’t fret because you certainly aren’t alone.
Imposter syndrome is the phenomenon of feeling like a hoax, fraud or phony. It most often affects perfectionists and high achievers. Rather than relying on your skills, experience, and achievements to get to where you are (whether that’s a new promotion or other life experience) you feel as if luck landed you somewhere you don’t belong. This phenomenon often manifests itself through negative self talk, feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and other doubts of one’s achievements.
If you’re currently reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve struggled with imposter syndrome. Unfortunately there is no magic solution to get rid of the feelings that accompany imposterism, but luckily there are a variety of ways to battle them. The main strategy is to unlearn these coping mechanisms and to reteach your brain to identify when these thoughts arise and manage them as best you can.
Strategy One: Speak Up
Just by reading this article, you’re accepting that imposter syndrome is something that you have struggled with. Shame is often the culprit behind silence, which resolves nothing. Keeping these feelings to yourself will produce perhaps even more negative thoughts, only making the problem worse, not better.
Whether you choose to talk to a friend, family member, coworker, or therapist, getting these feelings off of your chest is bound to help you feel better. Your trusted person is also there to invalidate these feelings, as they know how hard working you are first hand! They may be feeling this way too, which is a great opportunity for you both to reflect on how imposterism is a normal, however irrational experience.
Additionally, if your imposter syndrome is seriously affecting your life and beginning to get in the way of daily activities, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective solution to help regain mental solace. CBT is based on the principle that psychological problems arise from unhelpful thinking and trains you to change both your thinking and behavioral patterns.
Strategy Two: Write it Down
If talking isn’t your preferred method of communication, try writing your feelings down! A great place to start is writing down concrete examples of accomplishments in your life. From successful projects to personal goals you’ve achieved, get yourself in the habit of celebrating your successes big or little. Even capturing positive things people have said about you or to you are a helpful reminder of the ways you are creating positive change around you. It’s key to accept these positive glimmers surrounding you are true in order to combat your negative thoughts,
When noting the ways you feel related to imposterism down, try to identify patterns. If something constantly is triggering these feelings within you, plan ways to either avoid them or to prepare yourself for these thoughts. Once you identify the thoughts and feelings, remind yourself of their untrue nature and insignificance. Retraining your brain to no longer accept the negative self-talk and imposterism as true are a huge step towards no longer feeling like such a phony.
You Aren't Alone
While there are many other strategies to use to cope with imposter syndrome in addition to the ones we've listed above, remember it's completely natural to feel this way. Even great leaders and celebrities go to bat with imposterism and the many negative thoughts that accompany it. Do your best to remind yourself that you are meant to be exactly where you are, and if that's too hard, fake it 'till you make it!