by Rachel Rhee of Just Dimple It
Do you have imposter syndrome?
Know that you are not alone. There are an approximate 70% of people who have experienced these imposter feelings. This happens to individuals across all industries, job functions, ages. Anyone can view themselves as an imposter in a given situation if they fail to internalize their success. Imposter syndrome does not discriminate!
Let’s dive in on what imposter syndrome is and what we can do to start to release these feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy.
What is imposter syndrome?
Though we are more frequently hearing about imposter syndrome now, it is not a new concept. It was first identified in 1978 by psychologists Dr. Pauline Rose Clance and Dr. Suzanne Imes. Dr. Clance further went on to develop a test that individuals can take to identify whether or not they have these characteristics.
According to Dr. Clance, imposter syndrome is “an experience of feeling incompetent and of having deceived others about one’s abilities.” She further asserts that imposter feelings are shown to be associated with “characteristics such as introversion, trait anxiety, a need to look smart to others, a propensity to shame, and a conflictual and non-supportive family background”. To put it simply, imposter syndrome is the feeling that you don’t deserve your success. That, for a variety of reasons, you have convinced yourself that it was not actually your talent, hard work, and intelligence that got you your achievements.
If many of us continue to experience these feelings, how can we start to process them so that we can start to celebrate our achievements without a cloud of self-doubt hanging over us?
How to process imposter syndrome
step one: Identify When You Feel Like an Imposter
The first step in “beating” or processing anything is by identifying it. Identify when these feelings show up in your life. Does it happen mostly at work when you complete a project? Does it show up in the classroom at school when you receive a good grade? Does it show up in home life? Write down when it shows up and identify the feelings associated with it. How does this make you feel? Once you identify the exact feelings and situations, then you know how and where to direct your energy.
step two: Show Yourself Self-Compassion
Part of my job as a wellness coach is to teach high-performing individuals the tools and support you need in order to accept yourself as you are and show yourself grace and compassion. According to Dr. Kristen Neff, self-compassion can be broken down into 3 main elements: self-kindness vs self-judgement, common humanity vs isolation, and mindfulness vs over-identification.
STEP THREE: SHOW YOURSELF KINDNESS
We spend our whole lives being critical of our choices and a lot of times we even have others do that for us. Be gentle with yourself when you notice that inner critic emerging. Show yourself kindness and acceptance. This can be through tools like affirmations and daily mantras, or it can even be through physical touch. Try giving yourself a warm embrace, the oxytocin released will increase feelings of trust, safety, and connectedness.
Step four: Know That This is A Common Humanity
You are not alone. You are not the only person to feel this way. To be human is to be imperfect. We all have feelings of not-enoughness and unworthiness from time to time so it is important to recognize this and know that your journey is not in isolation of others. Take comfort in knowing that you are not walking alone.
step five: be mindful with your feelings
Self compassion means we must accept our feelings as they are. We don’t have to “push through” or “beat” our feelings aside. How can we show ourselves self-compassion if we’re constantly telling our feelings they’re “bad” and they need to go away? Feel it to heal it. Feelings are feelings and we must remove judgement away from them and the over-identification of them as being good or bad; they just are.
I hope these tips helped you identify how you can begin to let go of some of these cyclical feelings that can hold us back in many ways. If you want to talk through any of your limiting beliefs and feelings around imposter syndrome, I’m always happy to support you. You may contact me on my website.
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