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Countering Imposter Syndrome


     Written by Iman Mansoor 


Imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern where individuals doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud," despite evidence of their competence and success.



There are many common signs that you or someone else you may know is struggling with imposter syndrome. These include negative self-talk, consistently downplaying and denying achievements, as well as diminished confidence and self-esteem. Often this can lead to feeling unmotivated in trying different things and further developing one's skills, ultimately leading to self-sabotage. There may also be an increased fear of criticism with heavy reliance on validation and verbal praise from peers or family members. 


Many people struggle with these feelings of self-doubt and worthlessness. To combat this, mindfulness and self-compassion practices should be implemented in home, work, and learning environments. Here are some mindfulness activities that you can use to build self-esteem and foster self-compassion in any environment.


  • Take charge of your self-talk.

  • Write out a list of negative thoughts and correspond them to a list of positive thoughts relating to the same subject. Try to look at the silver lining of a situation and practice identifying trains of negative thoughts versus positive thoughts.

  • Practice gratitude.

  • Jotting down a list of things you are grateful for and keeping a gratitude journal can help improve self-esteem. It encourages you to not focus solely on negative events and criticism, helping you acknowledge positive things, such as your achievements and success.

  • Create positive affirmations.

  • Positive affirmations can also be part of your daily self-talk. By stating these affirmations to yourself regularly (e.g. phrases such as “I am capable,” or “I trust myself.”), you can get into a positive, growth mindset and remind yourself of your strengths and worth.

  • Journaling

  • Writing out your thoughts and feelings can help you identify your different patterns of thoughts and become more self-aware. In such a way, this self-awareness can help you anticipate feelings of self-doubt and worthlessness, allowing you to figure out how to best reframe your thoughts and focus on the facts.

  • Meditation 

  • Meditation can help you become more in tune with the needs of your body and mind. It helps you release tension, providing you with a clearer mind for the practices of self-improvement and self-love.

  • Sharing your feelings.

  • It can often be helpful to confide in a trusted peer, friend, or loved one to reduce the feeling of loneliness. In cases where these feelings begin to significantly impact your functioning, it may be best to work through them with a therapist. 

                            


 

References

Arlin Cuncic, M. A. (2017, December 28). Imposter syndrome: Why you may feel like a fraud. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/imposter-syndrome-and-social-anxiety-disorder-4156469

(N.d.). Apa.org. Retrieved May 6, 2024, from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2021/06/cover-impostor-phenomenon





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