Updated: May 3
Imposter Phenomenon, popularly known as Imposter Syndrome, is a psychological pattern where a person doubts their inherent value and capabilities. It's characterized by feelings of being a "fake" or a "fraud". People with Imposter Syndrome report that no matter how successful they appear, they are always afraid of "being found out" for not really knowing what they're doing.
This pattern of thinking about oneself can cause a lot of suffering. It can be the cause of stress, anxiety, depression, relationship problems, and missed opportunities.
So what is the cause of Imposter Syndrome?
Each person is different but there are some common themes that come up for people who feel like imposters. These include,
A negative sense of core image or identity
Experiences of trauma, abuse, or neglect in childhood
Growing up in a family culture of high achievers where excellence was prized but difficult to attain
Over-praising by a parent or caregiver
A family system that shamed members for "failure" and "mistakes"
Negative self talk that plays internally like a loop tape
Solutions and Strategies
Fortunately, there's plenty that can be done to counter those feelings of being an imposter. Here are just a few:
Review and write down your accomplishments at the end of each day. They don't have to be big, earth-shaking achievements. Did you get up in the morning and go to work? Did you do your best to take care of the kids? Whatever it is, write it down and post it somewhere you will see it.
Stop that negative self talk in its tracks. The second you notice yourself "talking trash" inside your head, tell it to shut up! Get angry at that voice. Tell it that it has no right to talk to you like that, that everything it says is a flat out lie. Then replace that tape with a few kind, encouraging words for yourself.
Take the "7 Day Smile At Yourself Challenge". This is the best one for sure. Sometimes it feels weird at first but every time you catch your reflection, look into your eyes and give yourself a smile. Keep it up for a week and you might decide to make it a habit for good.
Remember: Imposter Syndrome, although not officially listed in the DSM-5, is a real thing. Even the inaugural poet, Amanda Gorman and former First Lady Michelle Obama have experienced it. So don't beat yourself up even further if you recognize this is something you suffer from. The important thing is to give solutions like these a try and do all you can love yourself just as you are.
If you'd like to learn more about Imposter Syndrome and more ways to kick its butt, join Chris Lemig, CHT this Monday, February 8th at 7:00PM PST for a free webinar. You can get more information and RSVP here: https://www.truenaturehypnotherapy.com/workshops-webinars