Termed “Im­poster Syn­drome”, mil­lions of women fear they’ll be ex­posed as in­ad­e­quate. Emma re­veals how you can ac­knowl­edge your own bril­liance

Closer (UK) - - Wellbeing -

Ihave treated count­less amaz­ing men and women who were con­vinced they were in­ad­e­quate fail­ures. It’s clas­sic “im­poster syn­drome”, where peo­ple doubt their ac­com­plish­ments and have a per­sis­tent, of­ten in­ter­nalised, fear of be­ing ex­posed as a fraud. This can haunt your life un­less you take ac­tion.


First, ask your­self what is shak­ing your con­fi­dence; is it a new chal­lenge, a new boss, or are you feel­ing over­whelmed with re­spon­si­bil­i­ties? Next, find some­one neu­tral to con­fide in. Talk­ing helps you gain some per­spec­tive and means you get some re­as­sur­ance. Also make a list of all your ac­com­plish­ments, these can be per­sonal, such as “I have an amaz­ing fam­ily who loves me be­cause of who I am”, or pro­fes­sional achieve­ments.


Re­flect­ing on how much you have cre­ated in your life will make it harder to think that ev­ery­thing hap­pened by chance. That helps you to gain a sense of “per­sonal agency,” which is a ther­apy term mean­ing that you hap­pen to life as op­posed to life hap­pen­ing to you. That re­al­i­sa­tion makes you feel in con­trol and pos­i­tive. Then set your­self some achiev­able goals – tak­ing risks raises your con­fi­dence and helps you see that you have po­ten­tial and peo­ple with loads of po­ten­tial can’t pos­si­bly be frauds.

It’s also im­por­tant to shift your men­tal lan­guage, by telling your­self things like “I find this easy not be­cause I am wing­ing it, but be­cause I am nat­u­rally good at what I am do­ing”, or “My boss hasn’t given me ex­tra work to prove I am use­less, but be­cause she be­lieves in me and trusts that I will get it done”. This puts you in con­trol and makes you feel like you are con­stantly achiev­ing.


One thing I can as­sure you about im­poster syn­drome is that it only ever af­fects suc­cess­ful and ca­pa­ble peo­ple. That’s the irony. My un­der­stand­ing is that peo­ple use this fear as their mo­ti­va­tion to con­sis­tently achieve. How­ever, it is far bet­ter to ac­cept that you are skilled, driven and great at what you do, be­cause you de­serve to en­joy your suc­cess.

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