Do you ever wanted to do something for yourself, your future, your dreams, or for someone, but stopped because you feel like you are not worth of it? Do you feel like if people would know who you really are they would think you are a fraud? Do you think you don’t have what it takes to follow your dreams, that it is not for you? Well this phenomenon is called impostor syndrome.
Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments or talents and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.
Impostor syndrome can show up despite external evidence of your competence, experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that you are a fraud, and do not deserve all you have achieved. When you have impostor syndrome you can incorrectly attribute your success to luck, or interpret it as a result of deceiving others into thinking you are more intelligent than you perceive yourself to be.
Ways To Spot Impostor Syndrome
Impostor syndrome has been divided in six categories:
– The impostor cycle
– The need to be special or the best
– Characteristics of superman/superwoman
– Fear of failure
– Denial of ability and discounting praise
– Feeling fear and guilt about success
Building upon decades of research, Valerie Young further looked into fraudulent feelings among high achievers. From her book The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer From the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It, she was able to identify five subgroups this syndrome often falls into.
– The perfectionist
– The superwoman/man
– The natural genius
– The soloist
– The expert
Studies suggest that more than 70% of people experience the impostor syndrome at some point in their career.
Impostor phenomenon can also occur in other various settings. Some examples include:
– A new environment
– Your academic settings
– In your workplace
– On social interactions
– Your relationships (platonic or romantic)
Examples of impostor syndrome in the class-room or work:
– Comparing yourself to your class-mates or co-workers.
– You don’t not feel prepared academically/professionally when you compare yourself to your class-mates/co-workers.
– You often question the grounds on which you were accepted into the program/job.
– You perceive that, that positive recognition, awards, and good grades stemmed from external factors, and not from your personal ability or intelligence.
There are many other factors that can affect your self-esteem like your connections, family, co-workers, self-expectations, and more!
When you are loaded with impostor phenomenon, feelings of guilt often result in a fear of success. The following are examples of common notions that lead to feelings of guilt and reinforce the impostor syndrome:
– The good education they were able to receive.
– Being acknowledged by others for success.
– Belief that it is not right or fair to be in a better situation than a friend or loved one.
– Being referred to as:
– “The smart one”.
– “The talented one”.
– “The responsible one”.
– “The sensitive one”.
– “The good one”.
– “Our favorite”.
Top Triggers Of Impostor Syndrome
There are several facts that can trigger impostor syndrome but there are a few ones that stays on top of the chain.
There are two types of expectations here, the ones you expect from yourself and the ones you think others expect from your self. Expectations can bring a lot of pressure into a work in progress or making a decision, especially when you haven’t made a plan, or don’t trust yourself to be able to achieve those expectations. Sometimes we just expect way too much too fast, and when we don’t see results, we start doubting ourselves and think we are not worth it.
When I started my business I expected a boom in just a few months, and of course when I didn’t saw my expectations coming through, impostor syndrome showed up telling me I wasn’t worth of success and this career was not for me. I had to manage my expectations, make them more accurate to time, and see what progress I had really made to come back to my senses and feel confident about myself again.
This can also be when it comes to weight loss, sometime people set a expectation of loosing 20 or 40 pounds in one month when truth is that is not possible, or at least not on a sustainable healthy way. They expected to much for such a short amount of time.
But expectations can also be exaggerated when you start to guess what others are expecting from you. This can be what you think your partner, your kids, your parents or boss is expecting from you. Instead of asking, you assume what they expect from you, and we make their expectations a priority and forget to put yourself first and what you CAN do first.
If what you think they expect from you is too much, that it is taking a toll on your mental and/or physical health, that you can get there when you need to, then go and be honest and have a chat. You can be very surprise to see how so often you have exaggerated or miss lead what other expect from you.
We live way to concerned with how other people perceive us, how they will react to what we do or say and what they will think about us. The other day I received and DM from an friend that hasn’t been in too much communication with me in the last few years, she asked me if I was taking my diet way to serious because I looked to skinny!!!
Can you imagine what that question would had done to my mental health if I had allow others peoples opinions, including the one of my friend, about my body weight and looks to affect me? Old me would care about my friends opinion and had got traumatized and frustrated, I would had stared at myself in the mirror and told myself that I was ugly and too skinny. Luckily, that old me is gone, and when I read that I laugh and told her I was not taking anything seriously and that I love how I look, because I do love how I look now, and let me tell you, it took me a very long time to get here.
I can’t take others peoples opinions of me, of how should I look, where should I be in my life to affect my mental health. I go first, and what makes me happy will not necessarily make others happy and I have to be okay with that. There are so many things that could had me watching Netflix right now with a huge box of chocolate chips cookies, I mean…
– I’m a 33 year old single MOM OF THREE ….. according to people,“Girl, I need a husband!”
– I am a stay at home mom, building her own business, aka, still no big career…. according to people, “You should had been stable by now, with a good career!”
– I am too skinny…. I should do more weight lifting….. I should go back to black hair….. bla, bla, bla….
Do you get my point!
Work at your own speed, and love the process.
Labels can be helpful in some things, they can help us to describe what makes us unique, what makes us … well, us! Can define our character straights, our genius side, what we do for living, what we enjoy doing, etc.
However labels can be dangerous when we let them define us 100%. According to my friend I am too skinny, sooo….. do I need to be now that unhealthy skinny girl? Absolutely Not!
I am vegan, or I tried to be as much as I can, but if someone serves me something, should I go and ask for a ingredient list? So in case there’s something I don’t eat in there, reject it? Should I read every single label of everything I buy and if don’t find my answer then go crazy on google…..right in the middle of the store? Hell no! Yes, I stick to my values, but if by any occasion I had to just keep moving, and make an exception, then I will, labels free.
Labels can’t define who you are to the point. Just because you love to do weight exercises doesn’t mean you can’t do cardio, or zumba, or kickboxing. Just because you have a career, you shouldn’t try something totally different on the side. If something is calling you, then go for it, don’t let labels define you, and stop you.
You are everything you want to be!
Overcoming Impostor Syndrome
As we mentioned before, we tend to assume instead of asking first. Let’s stop that! Take the time to go, and ask questions, and listen or ask for help if you need it. This will take an insane amount of pressure our of you back. and will be able to breath again, feel free, learn something new about yourself, about others, and about life in general, and you will be able to figure things out, as you go.
Embrace that you are where you are meant to be right now and go from there!
I used to believe I was such a failure! “Everybody” from my high school, family members and even my younger sisters, “Got their shit together” when I didn’t. But truth is we only know what we see on social media or what they say,and that you don’t know what is really going on inside closed doors. Maybe they are unhappily married, maybe they are loaded with debts, they are feeling lonely, etc.
Truth is that being a little “behind” in the game, has pushed me to be a version of myself I never saw coming, on a beautiful way, and I am so happy to be who I am today. I have grow as a person, as a mom and as a magical being in this universe. Being the one “behind” forced me to learn things I wouldn’t learned if I had felt I was on my A game.
As a matter of a fact you wouldn’t be reading this! Being a blogger came after reaching my lowest point in my life.. single and pregnant with my third child, while homeless and having to move back to Puerto Rico, as a failure and ashamed. But, all those things had to happen to me to love, appreciate and be grateful for what I have now, to survive a hurricane, an earthquake and a pandemic. I know, crazy!
I had to live those experiences to become strong, independent and motivated to be the best version of myself because I know what’s on the other side of the fence and I do not want to go back there ever again. Now I am okay with where I am and I just keep moving from here.
Love where you are, appreciate the lessons learned and move from there!
Be Prepared, Life Happens To All Of Us!
If there’s something we have absolutely learned this year, is that no matter how organized and planned we are, life happens! Things will NOT always go according to plan, and we will fail. But please know this, “It is okay and it is part of the process.” This year has been challenging, “Ohhh my God!” But, let me tell you this, it has helped me be even better on what I do, and be a better person, I have literally grown from this years lessons and now I am stronger.
Be prepared, make a plan, set goals, and take action, but, know that things will not always go to plan and you must embrace the situation, learn from it, pivot and keep moving.
There is no such thing as failure, there are just lessons!
Pay Attention, An Take Action, A Positive Action!
Our minds are going to play trick on us, always! We are humans, and our minds are designed to make us doubt every decision we make. But we must learn to pay attention to those thoughts and stop them when we see them. If you are seeing yourself telling “I can’t” “Why me?” “I don’t know” etc, etc, etc. Then shift that thought and make it the total opposite by asking your self “How can I do it?” “Why not me?” “How do I do this?”
Can you spot the difference? Is all about asking the right questions!
Something that works wonders is to keep a journal of affirmations! They shift your mood in a half of a second. Thoughts creates feelings, feelings creates emotions and emotions creates action. Your thoughts are important, they define what you do next!
Use affirmations using “I Am” at the beginning and say them every morning, every night and every time impostor syndrome shows off along with other positive statements.
I am capable
I am strong
I am perfect
I am beautiful
I want to receive that degree. I won’t give up and have too much pride to walk away.”
“If I can do this, I will be able to help others in the future and work with people as motivated as I am.”
“I can be the voice of other People of Color who do not have the opportunities like I do.”
“I know I can do this.”
Love this? Then you will want to join our “How To Start A Mindful Healthy Living” waiting list! This is a five day training where I will share with you my never shared before “Stephanie’s Wellness Framework” where I talk more in dept about what we talk on our blog today and teach you how to create a healthy relationship with mind, body & food.
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