Have you ever had those days where you felt unqualified, insecure, and overall uncertain whether you belong in a particular space? You experience feelings of doubt towards your self-worth and whether those around you can see right through your credentials. Many clinicians term this as feeling like a fraud, even though you worked especially hard to get to where you currently are and worthy of holding the position you earned. This is known as imposter syndrome (or phenomenon), the American Psychological Association elaborates that feelings of imposter syndrome are often accompanied by feelings of anxiety and depression.
Unfortunately, the imposter phenomenon does not discriminate. It affects everyone who experiences it regardless of gender, age, or status. Although the imposter phenomenon tends to be more common among minorities, the APA suggests that being viewed as different in any way from others around you can contribute to feelings of insecurity, uncertainty, and ultimately feeling like a fraud. People who often experience imposter syndrome tend to contribute their success towards luck and not their hard work and dedication.
At the end of the day, no matter how you feel and despite your efforts to convince yourself that you may not deserve the title you earned, you and your feelings are worthy of being acknowledged. The best way to combat these negative feelings and associations of imposter syndrome is realizing that absolutely no one is perfect. This is an especially difficult thought to let go of, but it’s the truth nonetheless. Talk to your mentors, people that you admire and are close to, and share with them how you are feeling. The saying goes, we are our own worst enemy, which is where much of the self-doubt stems. Finally, recognize your accomplishments and start to change the way you perceive yourself and your successes. Recognizing your accomplishments goes a long way in beginning the journey of acceptance towards your hard work and persistence.
Weir, K. Feel like a fraud? https://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2013/11/fraud.
Want to talk to someone who can help? If you would like to speak to a professional counselor or psychologist about this or other negative thoughts and are in the Chicagoland area, please feel free to contact Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc. at 708-633-8000. We are located at 6819 West 167th Street in Tinley Park, Illinois 60477.
Written by: Abrea, 2021 Undergraduate Intern