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What is Imposter Syndrome and How Can You Combat It

Imposter Syndrome

Impostor syndrome is the name given to the intense and often debilitating feeling of being a fake. People with impostor syndrome often feel that they are worthless, inadequate and incompetent, and that they are fundamentally a mistake. They believe they don’t have the ability to do well at anything, and that they will always be exposed as inadequate as long as they are in a position to be evaluated. In this article we will discuss, precisely What is Imposter Syndrome and How Can You Combat It...!

Symptoms, Causes and Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

What is Imposter Syndrome: Definition and Meaning

Impostor syndrome (or impostorism) is a psychological condition/phenomenon (an experience) in which a person has an internalized sense that he or she is a fraud, a pretender, or one who is not capable of achieving what he or she is capable of.

It is a specific kind of negative evaluation of oneself that occurs when a person feels that he or she is doing poorly in comparison to others and has not achieved the level of performance that he or she has long believed he or she is capable of achieving.

The symptoms include constant self-doubt, even though success has been achieved, failure to be recognized, and feelings of unworthiness.

There are two types of people: impostors who know they are impostors, and self-aware impostors who may have self-esteem issues without knowing they are impostors.

It is more common in women, and usually starts at an early age. In many people, it persists into adulthood.

Is Imposter Syndrome a Mental Illness

The impostor syndrome is a self-judgment that is characterized by feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt, and anxiety (and, often, depression). However, all of the features of the impostor syndrome do not need to be present to be labeled as such. One may have all of the symptoms, but still have a high level of self-esteem and confidence in one’s ability. The impostor syndrome is therefore not a “disease” (it is not recognized in the DSM or ICD), and there is no known cure for the impostor syndrome.

Imposter Syndrome Symptoms

People with impostor syndrome have these symptoms:

They often have a negative self-image, low self-esteem, and a sense of being a fraud.

They have self-defeating thoughts, fear of failure and doubts about their abilities.

They may also have a sense of being an impostor which makes it difficult to be around other people, cause stress, and hurt their relationships.

They may also find it difficult to make decisions about their careers and life choices because they feel they are not competent.

They have feelings of inadequacy and can suffer from performance anxiety, which causes physical symptoms such as sweating, heart palpitations, nausea, and headaches.

They may also experience insomnia and low morale.

People with impostor syndrome are also often isolated and spend most of their time alone.

They may also be more likely to get low grades in school and drop out of school.

They feel like a “misfit”, like they are a burden to others, and that they aren't good enough to be part of a team.

They may also feel like they don't belong anywhere and that they are an "outsider".

They may be less likely to express their feelings and ideas because they are afraid of rejection.

What Causes Imposter Syndrome

There are many reasons for having impostor syndrome. It may be rooted in an early experience of being humiliated or made to feel unworthy. It may stem from a parent or other family member who was critical, and who made a person feel that he or she was not good enough... or it may be related to a past experience of rejection or failure... or there may be a history of depression or anxiety.

According to some researchers, impostor syndrome is caused by a combination of factors such as early childhood and early life experiences, and how the person defines themselves.

Other factors include poor role models, family history, genetics, personality traits, and life events such as early life traumas.

Finally, it can be caused by the environment, school, and social factors. Social factors include family support, peers, school environment, and peer influences.

For instance, people who feel like impostor syndrome is caused by early life experiences and personality traits are more likely to have low self-esteem and a negative view of themselves. They may also feel like they are a mistake and are not good enough.

People who come from families with low self-esteem or who have experienced trauma are more likely to develop impostor syndrome. They may also have a low self-esteem and feel like they are a mistake. Having low self-esteem can make it difficult for them to feel like they are good enough.

A history of being belittled, or being bullied as a child can also cause you to feel like you are a fraud and like you are a mistake and that you are not good enough.

How Can You Combat It

The best way to combat impostor syndrome is to learn to face and overcome the false and self-injuring beliefs that cause it. This is a tough obstacle to overcome, but it can be done. Here are some strategies for combating impostor syndrome:

1. Recognize the problem: It is important to know that impostor syndrome is not a sign of mental illness, but that it is caused by a false self-concept. This false self-concept is not based on reality, but on how you think about yourself. Look at your experiences of failure and rejection, and think about what they tell you about who you are.

2. Re-frame failure: Once you recognize the false self-concept, you need to re-frame the way you look at failure. Look for failures that were not a result of your lack of ability, and notice when your failures are not a result of your inability to perform.
3. Practice self-compassion: This is a really tough one, because it requires a real turnaround in the way that you think about your situation. Think about times when you were rejected, and what it felt like when it happened. When you think about these times, try to imagine how much you care about the people who rejected you, and think about how that makes you feel. Then imagine how it would feel to them if they were the ones who were rejected. This is a difficult but really important exercise that forces you to take responsibility for your actions, and to reflect on your actions from the perspective of a different person.

4. Remember that you are not alone: Having impostor syndrome is really isolating. Once you start to recognize that you have it, you will start to feel much better. You will feel a lot better about yourself and your abilities if you realize that others are struggling with the same thing as you. If you know that others are struggling, and you can talk to them about it, this can help you feel better. And if you talk to others who are successful, and you hear about their struggles, this can inspire you to want to become successful.

To feel better, you have to feel proud of your accomplishments, even if you have not fully achieved your goals. You will feel proud if you know that you have taken the risks necessary to achieve success, or that you have taken part in activities that have helped you achieve success. Being proud of your efforts, and getting advice from others who have also succeeded, can help you feel less like a fraud.
You will also feel better if you do something that helps you feel better about yourself. This could be anything that you feel good about, like being with friends and family to share your accomplishments. Or it could be something that helps you feel good about your future, like learning something new or planning for your future. The important thing is to start thinking of yourself as a successful person, and to feel proud of that.

These were some effective strategies/tips on How Can You Combat Imposter Syndrome. You will feel better if you do some of the things mentioned above.

It could be that you find it hard to relax with other people and don’t like to talk about your achievements. You can try different ways to overcome impostor syndrome by doing something that makes you feel proud, and talking to people who have succeeded.

By feeling proud, your confidence will rise, and you will feel less like a fraud. You will also feel better about your future, and that will help you feel better about yourself now. Also, by talking to people who have succeeded, you will feel more able to succeed in the future.

There are also medications and therapies that can help you feel better about yourself.


Impostor syndrome is a debilitating phenomenon that stems from a deep sense of insecurity and feelings of inadequacy. It is not a matter of being good enough or worthy; it is a matter of believing that there is something wrong with you, and it can be overcome. Hope this article on 'What is Imposter Syndrome and How Can You Combat It' will help you overcome impostor syndrome and lead to a more positive self-image.


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