You’ve just got an A on that one test you’ve been preparing forever for. Or perhaps you’ve just won a sports championship that you and your team fought long and hard for. You should be feeling on top of the world, right? But in reality, you feel quite the opposite. You pretend to be happy for the sake of outsiders, but internally you are overwhelmed with fear and self-doubt. You begin to worry, wondering what’s wrong with you. In actuality, nothing’s wrong with you. You may simply be experiencing something known as imposter syndrome, a condition that 70% of people experience at some point in their lives.
So what is imposter syndrome? Imposter syndrome is a “psychological term referring to a pattern of behavior where people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.” Usually, imposter syndrome is most common in perfectionists or other high performing individuals. One example includes students who were once deemed “gifted” in elementary school only to later struggle to meet the expectations set for them years ago. However, these groups of people are only a portion of all those afflicted with imposter syndrome. Everyone is subject to experiencing its effects.
In today’s society, the expectations for students are steadily growing. Students are pressured from middle school to build the perfect resume just to have shot at getting accepted into a reputable university. The workforce is becoming more competitive every day. The expectation to be perfect weighs heavily on millions of teenagers. As a result, imposter syndrome is becoming increasingly common among younger generations. With imposter syndrome being a gateway to more damaging mental illnesses, it’s important to take measures that keep its effects at bay.
Coping with imposter syndrome isn’t an effortless task, but it is certainly possible. Here are a few methods to help manage the effects of the syndrome.
1) Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
We’re all guilty of this one. Whether we hear it from our parents or ourselves, it can be incredibly detrimental to your mental health to compare your achievements to others. If you struggle with this, keep in mind that someone else’s accomplishment does not invalidate yours. Be proud of yourself for all the effort and hard work you put in to your work.
This can be particularly difficult to do. However, it’s important that you try to look on the bright side. Focus on all your past achievements when you are doubting yourself. Maybe you didn’t achieve your goal this time. You can always either try again or do something else that’s reflective of your talents.
3) Celebrate The Small Things
You don’t have to win something major to celebrate. Perhaps you get a good grade on a quiz or your team wins a scrimmage. Though these achievements may be on a smaller scale, they are by no means less important. What matters most is that you worked for your achievement. So treat yourself- you deserve it.
The world is changing every day. We understand that the pressure can be too much to bear sometimes. With that in mind, your first priority should always be your health. Try to practice the measures above or other methods that you find helpful in order to maintain a healthy state of mind. Routinely taking care of yourself will ensure that you are the best version of yourself every day. We all strive for perfection- but, at the end of the day, the best thing we can do is be ourselves.
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