Humans are simplified machines but what is complicated is the mind and the personality. Ever wondered “If I am a worthless person” “I don’t belong to this space” or maybe “I can’t do anything like everyone else”? Well if yes, then it’s a clear sign of self-imposter syndrome.
Wondering what imposter syndrome is? Here is the answer, self-doubt syndrome or imposter syndrome is known as impostorism and is a psychological disorder. The phenomenon has affected millions of people across the globe, over the centuries.
According to a 2019 analysis of combined 62 studies on the self-imposter disorder, it was reported that from 9% to 82% of the population suffers from this phenomenon. No age group, no gender specification; all this illness sees a struggling mind and vulnerable personality. Keep in mind that this is not a virus but a natural phenomenon.
Is Self-Imposter Syndrome: A Mental Illness?
Society is surely pacing towards modern science and technology but some things are still struggling to get the due recognition. One such issue is related to mental health. To elaborate, let's start with what is this imposter syndrome. We can possibly guess it with the name, The psychological phenomenon that invades the mental well-being of a person and makes them self-doubt their achievements and skills.
Once a person starts doubting himself, He or she starts believing that neither they deserve to live in this world nor the drive to achieve success or happiness. It also leads to a lack of self-confidence, a disturbed sleep cycle, and depression as well. In short, killing the soul by the owner itself can be termed self-imposter syndrome. Hence, yes it is a mental illness and needs urgent attention.
How Do You Feel While Dealing with Self-Imposter Syndrome?
After knowing what this self-doubt and imposter syndrome is, it's time to know how it feels, in short, “symptoms”. To cure any disease or to detect the disease, it is important to know the symptoms. You may wonder if there is any imposter syndrome test if it's an illness. No, there isn’t any. You can check the changes in your body and personality. Listed below are the symptoms of the illness which can be treated as imposter syndrome examples as well:
1. Feeling like an Inadequate Fraud:
People with imposter syndrome feel like they don’t deserve certain accomplishments or feel like they really don’t deserve any achievement in their life. They feel less talented and skilled than others.
2. The Bug of Perfectionism:
In people with self-imposter syndrome, there is a high drive for being a perfectionist. They often set very unrealistic standards for themselves. This affects their work and relationship a lot because they tend to criticize themselves more harshly than needed.
3. Failure’s Fear:
The syndrome has a very weird yet prominent failure against fear. People suffering from this illness often find themselves hating failure and not taking any initiative just to save themselves from failure.
4. Self-Doubt and Low Confidence:
Self-doubt is a must symptom, though it’s like a common trait but in imposter syndrome, it's worse. The person who is going through the syndrome has this urge to prove themselves in front of others.
They constantly doubt their achievements, talents, and skills and keep comparing themselves with others. This constant doubting leads them to the pit of low confidence and they struggle with building their esteem again.
5. An Issue in Accepting Compliments:
People suffering from imposter syndrome tend to struggle with compliments a lot. They rather take the meaning of the syndrome apart from what it sounds like. Generally, they overthink and end up making the situation worse.
6. Avoidance of New Opportunities:
Imposter syndrome people often find themselves sparing new opportunities and new challenges. They directly avoid landing into a new situation just to refrain from another failure.
What are the Types of Self Imposter Syndrome?
According to Dr. Valerie Young, a top self-imposter syndrome researcher, There are 5 main types of this disorder. In her 2011 book "The Hidden Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Competent People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Survive in Spite of It," she made reference to these categories.
Listed below are the mentioned 5 types;
Category 1: The Perfectionist:
If you are someone who dwells ample time in being a perfect self, you are in the category of the perfectionist in imposter syndrome. Perfectionists often set an unrealistic bar full of expectations and reality hits when they can’t meet those set standards.
Whether you are a perfectionist or not? Well, Even after completing the task, what you see are the mistakes instead of your accomplishment and criticizing yourself for the mistakes. The criticism affects your working capacity and compromises your inner will to try new opportunities.
Category 2: The Born or Natural Genius:
This category deals with the individual who faces an identity crisis when having a hard time in their life. If you are someone who picks up new hobbies and thinks that you will be able to accomplish the set goals with less effort. But, ever since you face any difficulty in the path, you feel like you are a fraud and you go through an identity crisis, thinking that you can’t do anything.
Category 3: The Habitual Soloists:
If you are someone who believes that you can handle your issues and problems alone and you SHOULD, then you positively belong to this category of the self-imposter syndrome.
Asking for help or accepting support from others isn’t your cup of tea. You tend to have high expectations from yourself and your belief in self-sufficiency is too high to be called normal. Hence when you crumble back, you tend to suffer emotionally and mentally to be stable again.
Category 4: The Master:
Thinking that learning is a must for success and eventually investing much more time in collecting facts on a topic, that wasn't needed in the first place. Devoting time to the accumulation task only that you struggle in the execution step.
Since you spend so much time accumulating so much data, you start believing that you can answer any questions. But, one wrong question and you start doubting your worth and skills. It's a clear indication that you belong to the master imposter syndrome category.
Category 5: The Super-human:
This category deals with humans who are known to link competence to their ability and try to succeed, in every role they play in their life. When they fail in any role on their part or while navigating through any situation in the set role, they simply term it as inadequacy.
What are the Factors Inducing Self Imposter Syndrome?
Every problem has a factor that helps it to grow more or more extreme, the self-imposter syndrome has some as well. What are these factors? Refer to the bullets below:
Child-Parent Relationship: If you have a toxic relationship with your parents, then you might develop imposter syndrome. For example; If your parents are someone who constantly compares you to other children or even siblings. You might end up thinking that you deserve the scolding and have no right to be happy because you made your parents upset.
Inappropriate Personality Traits: Sometimes our obsession to create a perfect personality induces imposter syndrome in our life. Believing in perfectionism, keeping shoulders ready for competitors, and self-comparisons with others. All these are some personality traits we build in ourselves that later on trigger the syndrome.
Existing Mental or Physical Issues: If you already have some other mental problems then, it can be believed that you might end up suffering from imposter syndrome as well. During other mental issues, the person already feels less healthy compared to others hence dragging yourself into the pit named self-doubt, causing the syndrome.
How to Beat Self-Imposter Syndrome?
Beating the imposter syndrome isn’t easy but if determined well, then nothing is hard. You might be wondering “ Is self-help for imposter syndrome possible?”. Then yes, from professional to personal, every type of help and direction is possible and effective. How can you cure yourself of self-imposter syndrome? Move ahead and follow the methods given below.
Methods to follow:
1. Embrace Yourself
No matter what is your suffering, no matter how worse it is; accept it and embrace yourself. Accepting how you are is one of the strongest methods one can use to overcome mental and physical illnesses. Hence, Get up, smile, and hug yourself saying that you are a warrior and you got this as well.
2. Practice Self-Pep-Talks
We all love positive talks and we love it more when we are the speaker and someone listening to us. But that never comes back in vice versa. So be a listener and a speaker at the same time. Make a nice coffee and have some positive talks with yourself. Understand what you need and teach yourself, how it will come through.
3. Seek Professional and Emotional Support
If you feel weak and don’t have the will to do anything, in such cases ask for help. In fact, ask for help even if it's not needed. Go to a therapist or any dear friend, and tell them how you are feeling. Ask them what to do, comprehend their suggestions, and analyze whether to apply it as it is or to upgrade it for betterment.
4. Rephrase and Reframe the Thought Process
Reframe how you think, be positive, and act positive. Instead of dwelling on negative parts, push yourself to think “What if it will work out as I want”. Negotiate your thoughts in a positive direction, not only will you feel light but it will help you overcome the self-imposter syndrome.
5. Challenge your own Beliefs and Assumptions
Setting standards is easy but if we fail to achieve them, we tend to feel low. Instead of feeling low, get up and challenge your assumptions. Ask yourself if they are realistically possible or not if not then change them and if yes then challenge them to achieve it.
6. Set New Goals and Achieve
In imposter syndrome, sufferers generally avoid new opportunities and goals. In place of avoiding them, go through all the new challenges and challenge yourself to achieve them. Try to put your best and, success will be assured.
7. Celebrate your Achievements and Yourself
If you achieve something, don't forget to celebrate it. Yes! Celebrate yourself, celebrate your success. Imposter syndrome increases the ignorance towards accomplishments and compliments, but to correct it start complimenting yourself, for how you look and how you achieve it. Be your number fan!
The self-imposter syndrome does appear very normal, as it is very common but taking it in lighter meaning can be harmful. Mental illnesses are generally ignored by the majority of people but the effects of this problem are far worse than physical ones. Instead of going easy with it, try to find what it is; what are the symptoms; what can possibly cause it, and how you can cure it. The path toward a cure will not be easy but a strong desire and help from others can help you challenge and conquer it. Hence, be a fighter and celebrate the fight you won and will win in the future.
1. What kind of mental disease is imposter syndrome?
Answer- Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon that attacks the self-esteem and confidence of a person resulting in them doubting their own worth, skills, and achievements. The syndrome leads to issues like depression, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts in the worst cases.
2. Which of the five categories of imposter syndrome are they?
Answer- There are 5 main types of imposter syndrome, listed below:
Category 1: The Perfectionist
Category 2: The Born or Natural Genius
Category 3: The Habitual Soloists
Category 4: The Master
Category 5: The Super-human
3. What are the signs of imposter syndrome?
Answer- Some prominent symptoms that can help a person to figure out what they are. Imposter syndrome is not a hard-to-detect illness and nor does it need any test, just awareness about the symptom and disease is enough. Listed are the symptoms:
- Feeling like an Inadequate Fraud
- The Bug of Perfectionism
- Failure’s Fear
- The Habit of Self Doubt
- Lost Confidence
- An Issue in Accepting Compliments
- Avoidance of New Opportunities
4. How can you manage imposter syndrome on your own?
Answers- A person can easily beat the imposter syndrome, what is needed is awareness of the issues and methods to cure it. Below are some beneficial methods that can help you cure the syndrome on your own.
- Embrace Yourself
- Practice Self Pep-Talks
- Seek Professional and Emotional Support
- Rephrase and Reframe the Thought Process
- Challenge your own Beliefs and Assumptions
- Set New Goals and Achieve
- Celebrate your Achievements and Yourself