Whether you grew up in a family that placed an emphasis on achievements or you're dealing with the pressure of society to be successful, there are a number of reasons you could be feeling like a fraud. These reasons can include your family dynamics, entering a new role or occupation, stereotyping, comparison, cultural expectations, and more. You may be experiencing this phenomenon if you recognize the following signs in your behavior:
• Self-doubt; lack of self-confidence
• Feeling you will be "found out" or "exposed"
• Distrusting your own abilities and competence
• Attributing your success to external factors
• Criticizing your performance
• Consistently comparing yourself to others
• Fear of not living up to expectations; fear of failure
• Sabotaging your opportunities of success
• Setting difficult goals and feeling disappointed when you don't achieve them
If you are experiencing these symptoms, then you've already taken the first step towards recovery-- which is to acknowledge it. There are a few other steps you can take to overcome these feelings of lack including the following:
• Talking to your mentors and support system for encouragement; talking to a therapist or psychologist can be helpful as well
• Recognizing both your strengths and areas that need improvement; using your expertise to support others (to recognize your knowledge and realistically assess your abilities)
• Celebrating your successes (big or small) and recognizing no one's perfect
• Resisting the urge to fight your feelings and instead observe and accept them
• Refusing to let your feelings hold you back from your goals
• Questioning your thoughts and changing the way you think about your success (Ex: becoming a little less busy, establishing a routine away from work, etc.)
What core beliefs are you currently holding about yourself? Do you believe you're worthy of love the way you are or must you be perfect to be accepted by others?
If fear is clouding your judgment and beliefs, lean into it. Get to the root cause of the issue and take the necessary steps towards your recovery process. However, if you've exhausted all your options and imposter feelings seem to persist, we urge you see a mental health expert.
Source: Very Well Mind and Health, Time, & American Psychological Association