Do you ever feel like you’re less than the image you portray? Do you fear that people may have overestimated you, or you’re getting more credit than you deserve? Perhaps you tend to downplay your achievements or shy away from compliments.
You’re not alone if you feel this way.
This thinking pattern, which constantly suggests that you’re a fraud, is known as imposter syndrome. Many people who struggle with self-doubt and limiting beliefs experience it, and it can hold them back from reaching their full potential.
In this article, you’ll discover practical tips for overcoming imposter syndrome so you can own your successes without getting in your own way. You’ll also learn about the opposite of imposter syndrome and effective ways to tackle the problem.
What Is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is the persistent belief and nagging feeling that you’re undeserving of your success and achievements. This thinking pattern discounts your skills and efforts, making you live in constant fear of being found out as an impostor or fake, and these imposter feelings can affect one’s mental health.
You might be suffering from the problem if:
- You feel clueless about parenting, even though you’ve done a fine job raising good kids
- Despite your incredible work ethic, you chalk up any success or accomplishment to sheer luck
- You think you’re not a great partner, therefore, unworthy of affection, even when your partner thinks you are everything they ever dreamt of
- You can’t ask questions or speak up in class for fear that you might appear ignorant, although your results suggest otherwise
Imposter syndrome is not the same as humility or patience. If anything, the psychological problem will likely hold you back from progressing. For example, you might be reluctant to apply for a promotion or ask for a raise at work, even if you used to be a high achiever.
The thinking pattern might even convince you that you’re unworthy of love, so you prevent yourself from starting a healthy relationship or ending one out of self-sabotage.
While imposter syndrome can show up in several ways, it is generally associated with the following feelings and thought patterns:
- “I feel like an impostor”
- “I’m just lucky”
- “It’s just a small success”
- “I can’t afford to fail”
What Is the Opposite of Imposter Syndrome?
Although imposter syndrome causes personal suffering, its effect is limited to the individual. However, there is a more problematic opposite of imposter syndrome called the Dunning-Kruger effect, which can impact individuals and others around them.
People with the Dunning-Kruger effect are ignorant of their ignorance.
While someone struggling with imposter syndrome typically underestimates their capabilities, a person with the Dunning-Kruger effect overestimates their social and intellectual performances due to their inability to recognize and properly evaluate their weaknesses.
These are the know-it-alls with supersized egos and a tremendous amount of confidence. They tend to be arrogant and have trouble taking advice from others.
Of course, this often leads to negative consequences, such as embarrassment, disappointment, and failure.
The Dunning-Kruger effect is worse compared to imposter syndrome. But how does someone with the problem impact others?
Imagine an incompetent coach who thinks they know it all because they use philosophical language. The effect of their ignorance will negatively impact as many people who join their coaching program.
But this is just one example. Many people across all fields of life experience the Dunning-Kruger effect.
And here’s the kicker.
You can struggle with self-confidence and feel like an impostor in one situation, yet be overconfident and overestimate your capabilities in other situations.
The good news is that you can take steps to address the problem, regardless of how you feel (like an imposter, the opposite of imposter or fraud syndrome, or both).
Let’s see how to mitigate this thinking pattern and negative self talk so that you can internalize your success, accept your weaknesses, and improve where necessary.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
Owning your successes improves your overall confidence and propels you to do better. Here are some ways to overcome the problem:
1. Reprogram Your Mind
Understand that sometimes it is okay to be clueless or not have all the answers. Instead of doubting your skills and capabilities and agreeing to negative self-talk that suggests that you don’t deserve success, flip the script and tell yourself that you don’t need to know all the answers right away. Tell yourself that you’ll figure things out with time.
2. Use Positive Affirmations
Come up with powerful positive phrases and repeat them as often as possible to help break negative thought patterns and eliminate negative self talk.
Don’t know how to create personalized affirmations? Check out this article to learn how.
3. Write Down Your Successes
If it feels like your wins are mere flukes, cultivate the habit of writing down your successes every night before going to bed. This should include tasks you’ve accomplished and compliments you received during the day.
Review your notes at least once a week, and you will start to convince your mind that your wins aren’t sheer luck but a result of your skills, hard work, and effort.
4. Recognize That Confidence Ebbs and Flows
No one is always 100% confident, whether or not they struggle with self-doubt or imposter syndrome. When you feel your mind clouded with doubtful and fearful thoughts about your capabilities, recognize that you are experiencing a slight deep in your confidence level, and that’s normal.
Avoid defining your entire existence by a fleeting moment of self-doubt, which everyone experiences, by the way!
5. Avoid Unhealthy Comparison
Stop comparing yourself with others both in real-world situations and on social media. Give up the habit of constantly checking social media, where people tend to share only their best moments and make you feel like you’re missing out or not measuring up.
Everyone experiences high and low moments, so comparing your low moments with people’s best moments is unrealistic and unfair.
If you still need help, consider therapeutic intervention to help with this and any other mental disorders you may be experiencing.
Overcoming the Dunning-Kruger Effect
Here are some practical ways to overcome the opposite of imposter syndrome:
- Be open to feedback: If you really want to challenge the Dunning-Kruger effect in your life, make it your goal to seek feedback and learn from it. You might receive some not-so-pleasant details, but don’t feel threatened or dismayed. Instead, reflect on the information and your actions. Determine if the feedback is correct and your next line of action.
- Embrace learning: Know-it-alls are closed off from improving. You must recognize that no one has all the answers, perfectionism doesn’t exist, and acknowledging that you don’t know everything doesn’t make you less than anyone. Next, be willing to ask questions, learn new skills, ask for help, and try new approaches.
- Reflect on past mistakes: When you make mistakes, are hasty with your decision, or act cocky and fail, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, take time to think about what you did, the results, and how to improve any inadequacy next time.
Overcoming imposter syndrome might seem like an impossible task, especially if you’ve lived with the problem for a while. But it only appears so if you’re trying to change overnight.
Consider taking baby steps as you gradually incorporate new positive thinking patterns to rewire your mind.
Whether you are afraid of being unmasked as fake or tend to be overconfident, the tips in this article can help you put things in proper perspective, correct faulty thinking, and enjoy true success.