By: Kimberly Rodrigues
Psychology Today informs that a recent study reveals 82 per cent of individuals confess to experiencing imposter syndrome, where they doubt their abilities, credentials, or appearance despite others’ positive perceptions.
Individuals with imposter syndrome feel unworthy of their accomplishments and positive reputation, despite being widely regarded as competent and intelligent.
They fear being exposed as frauds and believe they don’t measure up to others’ expectations. But despite this self-doubt, people with imposter syndrome often hold high positions and have achieved significant milestones.
Model and activist Emily Ratajkowski recently gave a powerful graduation speech at Hunter College’s 2023 ceremony. In her speech, she supposedly spoke about imposter syndrome and emphasised the importance of self-appreciation and celebrating oneself.
“It’s hard to celebrate myself, not as an imposter in a body, but as a soul deserving of joy. And I bet a few people here feel the same way,” she said.
Emily added that if you struggle to celebrate yourself, do it for those around you.
The 31-year-old is quoted as saying, “So, if you can’t celebrate yourself, maybe do it for others; for the friends and family that greeted you when you returned home after your long day, who listened to you complain about your workload and your schedule, who encouraged you when you were filled with stress and hopelessness — for the loved ones who fill this audience, who can remember when you first had the idea to try and get this degree and cheered you on when you were sure you’d never make it.”
At the end of her speech, she drove home the importance of cherishing and appreciating those close to us. “The people in your life who love you are a precious gift; treat them as such, enjoy them as such, celebrate with them,” she said.
Experts state that imposter syndrome is an issue of mental health characterised by constant self-doubt, even when one excels in a particular field. Such feelings can be quite debilitating and prevent individuals from achieving their true potential.
Impostor syndrome, in psychological terms, is a belief that one’s successes are undeserved and that they are a fraud, despite evidence to the contrary. People with impostor syndrome may have numerous qualifications and accomplishments, but they struggle to recognise and internalise their achievements.
A previous report in Forbes informs that individuals with impostor syndrome suffer from persistent self-doubt, anxiety, and fear of being exposed as inadequate. This often leads to self-sabotage, excessive work, and depression. They are preoccupied with feelings of not being competent or good enough, causing them ongoing frustration.
Imposter syndrome is not only characterised by feelings of unease and restlessness but also has ramifications in the form of anxiety and depression. Clinical psychologist Aishwarya Raj, practicing in Delhi-NCR, India, told The Indian Express that imposter syndrome can lead to self-deprecating thoughts too.
Experts inform that personality factors play a significant role in impostor syndrome, including a lack of self-confidence, a tendency towards perfectionism, and neuroticism.
Competitive surroundings can also contribute to this syndrome, such as when individuals face strong expectations for academic success from their parents during childhood.
Psychology Today advises to overcome impostor syndrome, one must shift their thinking about their abilities.
Recognising their expertise and accomplishments is crucial, as is accepting their rightful place in their academic or professional setting.
It’s also important to focus on personal achievements rather than comparing to others.
Those with impostorism often put excessive pressure on themselves to perform perfectly without any flaws, as they believe any mistakes will prove they are not competent. Breaking this cycle involves reminding oneself that no one is perfect and a person can only try their best.
Additionally, it’s important to give oneself credit and reward for accomplishments, instead of constantly worrying about the next task.
Additionally, impostor syndrome is a common experience for many individuals. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that feelings don’t always align with reality.
Ways to overcome it include discussing concerns and refuting negative thoughts. Keeping track of achievements and recognising successes can also be useful.
When symptoms persist or significantly affect mental health and well-being, seeking support from a mental health professional can be beneficial.