Imposter syndrome is not a medical condition, but it can still hurt one’s mental health. Everyone can relate to feeling insecure about their abilities at times, but frequently doubting your abilities can be really harmful to your state of mind. Imposter syndrome may affect you more if you’re not part of the group majority.
Those that experience imposter syndrome are often:
- People who are not white
- People with disabilities
- People with lower incomes
- People experiencing poverty
- Members of the LGBTQ+ community
Consider this: If you are the only person who looks like you in school or at your job, it may be easy to convince yourself that you don’t belong or to question your abilities. Others may question you too, which can make this feeling worse.
Causes of Imposter Syndrome
Some common causes of imposter syndrome include:
- Feeling insecure or anxious, lacking confidence or self-esteem.
- Something you tell yourself.
- Being told by others (such as friends, family or teachers) that you’re not capable or good enough.
- Something others tell you.
- You have been told something negative about your abilities by someone else in the past, and in future situations you believe it to be true.
- A mix of internal and external messages.
- Social media, movies, TV and other media often underrepresent diversity, and spread negative stereotypes about people who are not white. Believing untrue and hurtful messages from the media can influence people’s ideas about who “belongs” and who doesn’t.
How To Deal with Imposter Syndrome
It is important to fight doubt to build confidence, self-esteem and most importantly to know the truth–that you are capable!
Here are three things you can do to cope with imposter syndrome:
Try the affirmations activity to guide you through practicing spoken or written daily affirmations that you remind you are:
- Capable of great things
- Skilled enough for the task at hand
- Worthy of your accomplishments.
Write down what you believe to be true of yourself. Evaluate the statements with a trusted friend or family member whom you trust. Ask what they think.
Even if you do not yet believe in yourself, perform the task at hand as you think a confident person would. Build up evidence that you are good enough. Practice bravery. You may just surprise yourself.
It’s also important to challenge thoughts and messages that you’re not good enough because of your race, disability, class, sex, gender, or other social identities.
Try these additional tips on how to deal with imposter syndrome:
Connect with others who share the same experiences as you and support one another. You can also use this activity to reflect on who is in your support network.
Is there someone in your life who contributes to these feelings? Consider having an honest conversation with that person or someone else you trust. Check out these tips on healthy communication to help get you started.
Remember, you deserve respect no matter what.
De-stress through exercise. This may include going for a walk, playing sports with friends, or going for a jog. You can also incorporate mindfulness into your physical activity by going for a mindful walk or practicing other forms of mindful movement.
Sleep is one of the most important healthy practices you can do for your body. Here are some tips to help you get better sleep! You might also try using the sleep tracker to monitor your sleep.
Our day-to-day lives are full of naturally healing activities. These can look different for everyone. Try out your personal, familial or community healing practices and see what works for you. Some examples may include:
- sharing a meal
- time in nature
- talking with peers or elders
- gathering together
- spiritual or faith practices.
If negative thoughts happen most or all of the time, talk to a trusted adult about seeing a mental health practitioner. Check out this resource on seeking mental health services and support under the age of 18.
Change to Chill Has More Tips On How to Deal With Imposter Syndrome
If you’re dealing with imposter syndrome and/or have other mental health concerns, like anxiety or depression, Change to Chill has more helpful resources for you. Explore our site to find more healthy ways to cope with hard feelings and do what works for you.