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Imposter syndrome, are you a victim? 

Himika Akram reporter  

Have you ever felt the achievements or the praises that you have gotten from people for your efficiency, intelligence, talent, beauty, or academic brilliance, and not believe it?  Or the ideas that you have in mind, you are keeping them to yourself with the hope, you will only share them at the right moment, which is not here yet. And then never share those ideas because no moments were “right” for you? Or instead of giving the credits to your own merit and effort for your accomplishments, do you credit them to your luck only? If these symptoms match with your personality, there is a chance that you might be suffering from imposter syndrome. 

Research shows at least 70% of adults have suffered from this at least once in their lifetime and 25-30% people suffer from it on regular basis. There are 5 basic types of imposter syndrome. 

Perfectionist: They believe you are never good unless you are perfect. They feel like a fraud for all the compliments they receive. 

Expert: They feel like their knowledge of a particular topic is never enough if they do not know everything about it.  If there is the slightest room for learning; they can never consider themselves to be good enough to talk about that topic. 

Natural Genius: They do not accept that they can be naturally intelligent unless they understand everything at the very first time or learn something very quickly. If it takes time for them to comprehend something; they feel like a fraud that other people think they are intelligent. 

Soloist: They simply do not like to ask for somebody’s help to do something. Asking for help means “I am not good enough for this task.”  

Super Person: They want to reach the highest level of achievement is the only option. Unless that is not happening; they feel like an imposter. 

Research shows women suffer from this syndrome more than men, because of the societal expectations. For example, back in my country Bangladesh, boys get lots of praises and validation for simply fixing his own bed on their own, for example. Whereas, whatever a girl does, nothing is enough for the people around her. Brooming, mopping, cleaning, washing, cutting, cooking; looking after the younger siblings, parents, grandparents; and after all these, maintaining good academic records or proving herself in the professional field as well; even after all this, for the slightest leeway, nobody would shy away from pointing finger at them. Because of this unrealistic expectation society holds from women, they find it hard to give themselves enough credit for that. 

Having a certain degree of imposter syndrome is good; because it pushes or motivates you to do better; keeps you grounded; but having this on the regular basis would only kill you in the end; because you overprepare for everything so that nobody finds a fault; and that would lead to anxiety and depression only. You keep beating yourself for the slightest mistakes, which other people might have forgotten right at that point. 

As the primary reason behind social anxiety, family upbringing is the topmost one, followed by new workplace or school, new opportunity, social anxiety, and personality type. To cope with it, the best thing would be stop comparing yourself to others, minimizing the use of social media as much as possible, assessing one’s own ability, sharing your feelings, making small targets at a time, practicing self-compassion, asking trusted feedback from a few, close people, these would be the good strategies.  

So next time if somebody says “Hey, that was a great presentation,” stop saying “Oh, it was just a lucky day for me.”  Accept your compliment with a big smile, thank them politely and move on.  

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