Thoughts on Imposter Syndrome

by Kittie Bernott in , , , , ,

Impostor syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to see their own accomplishments, dismissing them as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.

When I first heard of Imposter Syndrome, I dismissed it as an actual psychological issue, because it was something I felt during or after at least half my accomplishments in life. Therefore, it could not be a recognized issue; it was just me and my wonky head. 

It was painful to step back and consider my personal self-doubt was crippling enough to be a Syndrome experienced by many accomplished individuals.

Once I became familiar with the technical structure of Imposter Syndrome, I made two decisions:

  1. Just because I experience it, I do not need to be ruled by it.
  2. Learning more about others coping mechanisms could only help my own moments of crippling doubt.

I enjoyed this article on Tips for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome, not so much for the tips (which I found vague) but for the accompanying diagram.

The Venn Diagram on the left is, literally, how I feel at least 70% of the time. I have been aware of it for a few years now, and I am actively working to strengthen my sense of self during opinionated moments. But to see it laid out so clearly... it was shocking; I had a true moment of, "Oh crap, that's not good."

I do not aspire to perfectly embody the diagram on the right; I will always be comfortable with the truth that others will know more than me. But I do aspire to gain the confidence and inner calm necessary to hold my opinions in equal regard to those of others.