Have you ever doubted yourself for the accomplishments you have? Do you have the constant fear of being exposed that you’re not actually skilled at what you do? Despite the fact to prove otherwise, do you remain in the belief that you’re inadequate, far from enough, and nothing but a failure?
If so, you might be feeling the effects of impostor syndrome. People who associate with this often feel like their achievements in life was due to pure luck and that they will eventually be exposed as a fraud. They fail to recognize that they played an active hand with all their accomplishments and instead remain in fear that people in their environment will eventually realize they were just faking it this whole time. Maybe you’ve felt this way for so long and you’ve only named that feeling just now. Finding difficulty in celebrating achievements and owning them is unfortunately very common as a psychological phenomenon that affects many people.
Perfectionists know this feeling far too well. These people feel uneasy when they fail to deliver more than what is expected, so even when they do a good job, they feel like it isn’t enough and it never will be. Success isn’t as satisfying because they believe something still could have been done better. Workaholics often fall under this trap of self-doubt too, feeling bad for the moments they don’t accomplish any tasks and beating themselves up for not being productive at every moment.
It doesn’t matter at what point of your life you might be—anyone can feel this. Impostor syndrome usually rears its ugly head after receiving an award, getting promoted, or just basically whenever you achieve something. The feeling that you haven’t earned your accomplishment will creep in slowly, amplifying your self-doubts even more, and making you lose faith in your own skills. There are many factors why you might have developed this standard you set for yourself. It may be traced back to the competitiveness back in high school and the need to always achieve higher grades.
It can also be due to familial relations or just generally the environment with which you work. Despite all this, the constant need to prove your worth and get validated by others does not remain forever. Dealing with the syndrome isn’t as easy as telling yourself you deserve all that you have. You can try slowly by reframing how you think of yourself. You don’t have to start with the big accomplishments immediately. Try with the relatively smaller things first.
Give yourself a pat on the back for achieving something difficult. Reward yourself for a job well done. Acknowledge that you worked hard on something and it was your capabilities and experience that led you to successfully finishing a task. You might also find it helpful to talk to a close colleague in the field or someone with a higher position whom you trust. They might be going feeling the impostor syndrome as well and it will
be a good opportunity for the two of you to relate and pull each other up. You can be afraid of doing something but do it anyway.
Self-doubt is normal and everybody experiences it, but the moment you let it control your actions is where you differ from everyone else. Stop beating yourself up when you don’t reach your own standards. Yes, it is easier said than done, but remember to congratulate yourself not just when you achieve your goal, but also with every step you take towards it. Aim for continuous progress and not just perfection. Rise above the doubts and see how far you’ve come. You do have what it takes—you just need to see it.