Imposter Syndrome

Updated: May 21

Imposter syndrome! What exactly is it and how do I know if I suffer from it? Great question. Let me paint a scenario for you. Have you ever been around a particular group of individuals and acted a certain way, or spoke a certain way? Only to change how you acted and spoke when you got around someone whom you felt more comfortable with. Just about all of us have been guilty of this at some point in our lives. On the surface one would conclude that imposter syndrome is driven by a desire of wanting to fit in, or feel accepted by our particular circle of influence, but there's more to it than that. One of the major impetus that drives imposter syndrome is self doubt. Feeling like you're a phony and you don't deserve a seat at "the table". By the way, I forgot to mention that imposter syndrome is not listed in the DSM-V manual, also known as the counseling bible. Imposter syndrome was first coined back in the 70s by psychologists Suzanna Imes and Pauline Rose Clance, and mostly applied to high achieving women (Cuncic, 2021). Anyways, like I was saying, people who struggle with this hidden phenomenon tend to struggle with a veneer sense of self-doubt. Ironically, even when they're making great accomplishments and headway in life. In my own experience, I've seen individuals who struggle with imposter syndrome make excuses for their accomplishments, and never take a moment to bask in their achievements because they truly believe they don't deserve it. This can be a toxic perspective that's guised as false humility. This level of self doubt can cause you to question just about every thing you give your time and attention to, which can hinder you from reaching your fullest potential in life.

Imposter syndrome can cause people to sabotage their own success. This self sabotage can give one a sense of belief that they're a phony, and it's only a matter of time before everyone around them realizes it. It's mentally exhausting going through life and feeling like you don't really fit in, especially in the areas where you're most likely to thrive at. When researching imposter syndrome, I couldn't help but think of the high level of anxiety that must come with constantly feeling the need to perform for those that are amongst us. Although imposter syndrome can cause someone to exhibit high levels of motivation, they will overlook their achievements, due to the belief that they don't truly deserve the fruits of their very own labor. Although imposter syndrome is not necessarily social anxiety, you can experience social anxiety like symptoms when trying to make sense of your imposter syndrome. Think about it, you're constantly holding on to the belief that everyone's overly critical of everything that you do and say. This can cause someone to question their level of performance with any given task. Minor mistakes can seem monumental to you, and it's not fair to live under the weight of trying to please everybody but you. On the outside it will appear that you're thriving, but on the inside you can feel like a silent failure. Don't do that to yourself. If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, I would encourage you to seek out professional help from a therapist to help you to make sense of these irrational thoughts. You'd be surprise to see what a different perspective can do to one's emotional well being. Self doubt and feeling like you're a phony doesn't have to take the lead in your life. Get help today!


Cuncic, A. (2021, February 26). What Is Imposter Syndrome?,perfectionism%20and%20the%20social%20context.

Marcken Volmy © 2021

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