Imposter Syndrome 101 (and 5 Affirmations To Defeat It)

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What Is Imposter Syndrome?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, imposter syndrome is a “… persistent doubt concerning one’s abilities or accomplishments accompanied by the fear of being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of one’s ongoing success.”

Also called the imposter phenomenon, imposter syndrome can make you feel like you don’t deserve your success. If you have it, you might feel compelled to attribute your victories to luck or good timing, and it can cause anxiety so paralyzing that you don’t want to try anything new for fear of being seen as a failure, even with tangible proof of your success. Imposter syndrome can cause you to believe that you haven’t earned your achievements and that you shouldn’t be held in any high esteem, even if others disagree. It leads people to underestimate their own competence, and many people with imposter syndrome live in fear that the world will learn the “truth” about them.

If these symptoms sound familiar to you, it could be a good idea to work on stopping your imposter syndrome in its tracks before it gets any worse.

Why Imposter Syndrome Is Dangerous

Arguably, imposter syndrome is a bit like perfectionism gone wild — to the point of self-sabotage. Think about work, for example. Imagine someone who has finally landed their dream job. It’s challenging, but they’ve spent years educating and training themselves in preparation for it.

This person is ready, but after they start working, they begin to find fault in everything they do. They start to think that they’re incapable of accomplishing even the smallest things and refuse to accept positive feedback, despite doing good work overall. They are constantly anxious about making a mistake and believe that they’ve simply deceived the people who think well of them.

They work themselves to exhaustion, becoming overly controlling and critical of both themselves and other people, potentially leading to real errors that can have actual negative consequences.

The same phenomenon can affect your love life. Maybe you think that your appearance, personality, and method of expressing yourself are lacking — despite the other person expressing interest — so you cancel your plans and stay home instead.

It’s important to remember that imposter syndrome doesn’t just affect the person who has it. When you are hard on yourself, you are hard on others, even if you don’t intend to be. As a result, moving past imposter syndrome isn’t just about personal success and achievement. It’s about cultivating healthier and happier relationships overall.

Stop Standing in Your Own Way

The first step in overcoming imposter syndrome is acknowledging that you might have it. At that point, start paying closer attention to your thoughts. What are you telling yourself? Once you know where you’re hardest on yourself, talk to people you trust. Let them offer support and reassurance.

Remember that pain lies. Build your confidence by assessing your abilities with honest, loving kindness. Refuse to be a perfectionist. Tell yourself that you are simply human, and you are allowed to make mistakes, learn, and grow. When you know better, you’ll do better.

Most of all, force yourself to accept all the achievements, successes, and words of positive encouragement that come your way. When someone offers you a compliment, resist the urge to dismiss it and simply say “thank you” instead.

Speak to yourself as you would a friend who was in pain. Even if you think it’s silly, your subconscious mind internalizes everything you say, so put an end to your inner critic’s litany of misery by speaking to yourself with compassion and love.

Try to reframe your negative thoughts by writing them down with similar syntax and keeping them in the present tense while changing the content. For instance, “my opinion doesn’t matter” could become “my opinion matters,” while “I am not good enough” could become “I am always good enough!”

Finally, prepare to counter your negative feelings with positive affirmations.

5 Affirmations To Fight Imposter Syndrome

Looking in the mirror as you recite these affirmations will drive them into your subconscious mind. Additionally, when using these truths, it’s important to say “I” to the mirror — not “you.” This will help you own the affirmations and internalize them until you believe what you’re saying.

1. I’ve Got This

Yes, you do! You are the hero of your own life, and you can help others too. If something needs doing, you will get it done, and you will do it well.

2. I Am Intelligent, Capable, and Strong

Look at all you’ve survived and be proud of the fact that you’re still standing. You have gotten this far in life because you are bright, skillful, and resilient.

3. I Am Worthy

Remind yourself that you are of course deserving of every blessing and positive experience that life has to give you. Embracing your self-worth will help you open your mind and let more good things into your life.

4. I Belong Here

You can outsmart imposter syndrome by convincing yourself that you’re right where you’re meant to be, doing what you’re meant to do, and that you are both welcome and loved while there.

5. I Deserve and Celebrate My Success

Send imposter syndrome screaming into the night, never to return, by celebrating each and every success, win, and accomplishment that you experience, big or small. You worked for it, you earned it, and you truly deserve it all!

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