Self Judgment and the Imposter Syndrome

“We often look at others and compare their outsides to our insides.”

Petal Murti, Registered Psychologist

At times, all of us fall prey to the “Imposter Syndrome.”

The imposter syndrome is where we judge ourselves as inadequate or less worthy,  less than able. We assume that other people must feel more confident, more able to manage than we feel right now. We may feel like a fraud and we may resist being vulnerable because we are worried that other people will reject us.

We assume that other people must feel more confident, more able to manage than we feel right now. We may feel like a fraud and we may resist being vulnerable because we are worried that other people will reject us.

It can effect our work performance, confidence, our well-being, as well as our openness to other people and to exploring our world.

Common thoughts and feelings associated with the imposter syndrome include:

  • “I must not fail” 
  • “I feel like a fake”
  • “I’m just lucky” 
  • “My past success is no big deal”

So how can you respond to your “imposter” feelings or thoughts? 

When you feel like an imposter,  you do not have to just endure it. Gill Corkindale, author of “Overcoming Imposter Syndrome” outlines several ways you can respond:

1.Recognize imposter feeings when they emerge.

2.Name them for what they are: self judgment. Admitting what we feel or think will not make it worse. Often we will be able to let go, even just a little.

3.Talk about your feelings with someone who will listen.

4.Remind yourself that feeling like an imposter is a reality for everyone. The saying “fake it till you make it” is something that everyone has done. We all have moments where we feel less than confident.

5.Ask yourself about the times you have learned from failure. Could you be the person you are or have the life that you have today if you would not have learned from previous failures? Make a list of your most important lessons.

6.Be kind to yourself. Kindness is not letting yourself off the ‘hook.’ What kindness will do is help you to let go of what you are feeling and be clear about what you can learn.

7.Start small. Most times feeling like we lack confidence will fade once we start something. You may still feel like an imposter at times, but taking action will help you more towards what you want to do.

So what about you? What do you do when imposter feelings erode your confidence?

• • •

If you enjoyed this piece, I invite you to read some of my related work:

Quiet Leader: The Imposter Syndrome

Enjoy your accidents because they can change your life

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Photo by Drew Graham on Unsplash


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