Meet Sarah, a loving and dedicated mother of two children. Despite receiving praise from friends, family, and even professionals for her parenting skills, Sarah often doubts her abilities and feels like she doesn't measure up to other mothers.
Sarah constantly compares herself to other parents, particularly those who seem to have it all together on social media. She believes that everyone else knows exactly what they're doing and that she's just "winging it." She worries that her children will discover she's not as capable as she appears, and fears being judged by other parents.
When Sarah attends parent-teacher meetings or interacts with other parents at school events, she often feels out of place, like she doesn't belong despite being on the board and having received numerous PTA awards for her service in the school. She also often downplays her contributions to her children's development and attributes any success to external factors such as luck or the efforts of others.
Despite her children's achievements and the loving environment, she provides, Sarah struggles to internalize her role as a competent and loving mother. She constantly questions her decisions and second-guesses herself, convinced that she's just pretending to be a good parent.
If you find yourself relating to Sarah’s story, then you too may be suffering from a psychological phenomenon called Imposter Syndrome. Some of the characteristics include persistent self-doubt, a deep-seated fear of being exposed as a fraud, and a belief that one's accomplishments are a result of luck rather than genuine ability. It can affect anyone no matter their social status, career, skill level or expertise.
Imposter syndrome can undermine self-confidence and hinder personal and professional growth. However, by recognizing and addressing its impact, individuals can overcome these feelings of self-doubt. Remember, you are not alone in experiencing imposter syndrome, and with time, self-reflection, and support, you can develop a more positive and accurate perception of your abilities and accomplishments.
Try these lifehacks to help you break free from imposter syndrome:
Acknowledge your feelings. The first step to overcoming imposter syndrome is to acknowledge that you are feeling it. It is important to remember that you are not alone, and that many people experience these feelings at some point in their lives.
Focus on your strengths. Make a list of your strengths and accomplishments and remind yourself of them whenever you start to feel like a fraud.
Set realistic goals. Don't set yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic goals. Instead, focus on setting small, achievable goals that you can build on over time.
Seek out support. Talk to a trusted friend, family member, or therapist about how you are feeling. Having someone to support you can make a big difference in overcoming imposter syndrome.
Celebrate your successes. When you achieve a goal, take the time to celebrate your success. This will help you to build confidence and self-esteem.
Challenge negative self-talk: Imposter syndrome often stems from negative self-talk and self-criticism. Identify and challenge those negative thoughts by examining the evidence that supports your competence and accomplishments. Focus on your strengths and the positive feedback you've received.
Embrace the learning process: Understand that nobody knows everything, and it is okay to make mistakes and learn from them. Embrace a growth mindset and view challenges as opportunities for growth and improvement rather than indicators of inadequacy.
If you are struggling with imposter syndrome, please know that you are not alone. There are many people who have experienced it and overcome it to reach their highest potential and so can you.