I haven’t really thought about this but I have Impostor Syndrome. This is when you feel like a fraud and don’t acknowledge your accomplishments for what they are.
The term impostor syndrome, coined in 1978, is described as a feeling of “phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.” Basically, when you feel inadequate despite evident success. (Like who am I to write this article?) Ouch. Sound familiar? Feel like a fraud
Here are some Impostor categories I found The Five Types Of Impostor Syndrome And How To Beat Them
Mine would be, under this classification, the Natural Genius and the Perfectionist.
And it has affected my life and choices in many ways. If I am never good enough then why should I try? Why should I try for that job or to achieve that goal when clearly I suck?
When I was in university and I achieved high grades. My IQ is 137-140, and I am aware of that, but it seems like to me it is just a number. It doesn’t mean anything in the real world. I somehow used to think that was pretty average even though I am well aware of statistics. Everyone is smarter than me. Everyone achieves more than me. I would excel and think ‘They must just like me’ or ‘They must just be pitying me’ or ‘This course must be just easy’. And never once acknowledging that I was achieving those grades. I had more than one professor who wanted me to change my major to theirs because of my work. I excelled at it and they thought it would be a good fit for me. And I would think ‘it is just an easy course’, it isn’t something I could do. I never gave myself a break. And I was constantly plagued with self-doubt. That any accomplishment had to be due to external forces and not my own effort.
I did the same thing when I was taking a course for work. I achieved a high grade and got my certification. But I thought it was just because the course was basic and easy. However, it apparently isn’t. So many people failed the first go with it they have since made it easier. And I had co-workers who failed it, sometimes twice. And this confused me. I couldn’t tell myself my achievement was because it was designed to be easy. So my brain came up with a better justification. I achieved that high grade because I ‘test well’. I just do well on tests. Whereas maybe others got nervous or didn’t do well on written tests because their forte was essays or verbal tests. So it wasn’t Me it was just that the Format was something that agreed with me. Why can’t I accept when I do well at something it is because of me?
The same applies to my writing. I love writing. All sorts of writing. From blogging to fiction. But when it comes to having anyone read my work I get extremely uncomfortable. I think ‘They will see it sucks’ or ‘They just say they like it because they know me’. I have a hard time feeling like I Own that accomplishment. One reason I have not considered traditional publishing for my fiction is that I inherently believe it isn’t good enough, even when I get exceptional reviews. Exceptional reviews make me happy, sure, but then I think if it was really that good I’d sell more. And I’d have more pleased reviews than I have. If I was better I would make enough money to sustain myself. At best, I think I am average.
And, man, when I fail at something that just proves my theory. The accomplishments, are never mine, but the failures they are all my fault. It doesn’t matter what it is, it is clearly my fault. I have chronic pain and have a hard time sustaining work. And often I think that is a Personal Failing even though I have physical limitations. I blame myself for not being able to do something everyone else can.
I went to a psychologist for my depression and he pointed out I have very low self-worth. It surprised me. I think I am worthy, right? Well, not really. He wanted to point out my accomplishments. Things I can do, despite pain and depression. And none of them seemed that much of an accomplishment to me. But my failings? I could point them out easily.
Things to do for Impostor Syndrome: Feel Like A Fraud? Here’s How To Overcome Impostor Syndrome
Seems to me you have to:
- Acknowledge that you have some role in your accomplishments.
- That sometimes your standards are unachievable and you have to understand that perfection is impossible.
- Stop comparing what you do to others.
- Lack of success, failure, or being wrong does not mean we are fakes. It just means we are human.
I have to acknowledge I have achieved certain things because of the work I actually put into them. Not everything we accomplish is due to some bizarre external reason. We actually achieved those things from our own effort. I have no idea why my brain can’t grasp this but I’ll have to work on it.