“The Impostor Syndrome” : How I spotted and dealt with it.

They said “what you don’t know can’t kill you” well…. they lied.

 

I had just seen my sixth result that semester, it was an A! Six A’s? I was excited at first and immediately, I started getting really scared (I didn’t know this was weird at that time). I was so heavily consumed with stressing about my self-suggested inadequacies.  My brain consciously chose to ignore the numerous times I was sent out of the library for staying too late,  the starving to buy books, the calling my mentors for help, crying to Ugochi that my CGPA was a mess at some point, praying with faith to do well, begging people to teach them because I over understood a concept… I’ll leave these stories for another post…

I noticed that whenever I tried celebrating my achievements in general, I always have this thought like I have deceived the world and defrauded someone more worthy of their title. I saw myself feeling awkward when people call me genius or “efiwe” as they always did. I constantly thought that one day, my real dumb self will just come out like Taadaa! And people will eventually realize that I have been “scamming” them all along… I even had weirder thoughts, if I say some you may laugh so hard and forget the purpose of this post, so I will stop here.

I thought this was normal at that time until I came across the word “Impostor Syndrome”. You know those words, you look up over the internet or dictionary and say they perfectly describe your situation! That was it.  I didn’t even know my condition at that time had a name. I was in awe. I didn’t even think it was a problem, some people even argue it is a mental disorder. Oh wow!

As in most cases, my discovery of this problem was the beginning of my journey of being mentally re-oriented. I will share a mix of how I spotted and personally tackled this syndrome and some other suggestions from some seasoned writers.

 

Some tell tales signs that you may be suffering from the Impostor Syndrome

Perfectionism: You work so extensively hard and pay unnecessary attention to details because you are scared that one little mistake will “expose you”. You practice your presentation 30 billion times because you are anxious, you end up getting burned out for nothing!

Seclusion: You find yourself avoiding people, you don’t want to be with them so that on the D-day when your real “dumb self” shows up. You feel everyone you meet is trying to test your knowledge, so you stay in your shell constantly.

“Humility”: When people blow your trumpet you hide your face, you won’t even speak of your achievements yourself.*sigh. I can’t even mention the countless things I missed because of this trait. Thinking of it now, some people who weren’t all that and could speak so much of the little they’ve achieved, usually get the accolades. It’s okay to speak of your achievements, it’s not a sin.

Bitterness: You are constantly embittered that you don’t get enough recognition for your good works, you feel people are hyping you less than they should. You make comments like “Is it because I don’t talk…?

Imposter-syndrome-1

To tackle this here’s what I’ll suggest :

Know and understand your worth: This is probably the most important of them all. If you don’t know what you have or carry, you will continue to question your abilities and achievements. Believe in yourself, this can’t be overemphasized. It helps you stay confident.

Choose your friends wisely: not everyone will believe in your abilities so not everyone can and should be your friend. If your friends constantly feed the impostor in you, you may want to consider cutting them off or replacing them. In a bid to fix me, I had to let go of over 60% of my friends and this wasn’t as easy then as it sounds now.

Stop Comparing yourself with other people: I have written explicitly on these in one of my previous posts (read here).

Stop discounting your success: I use to think this was a sign of humility during my ignorant stage. When people say things like “wow you are so smart how did you manage to solve all the question so fast” I would probably say stuff like “it wasn’t that hard” when I probably didn’t get a wink of sleep to solve it. I wonder why we even get angry when people take the credit when we wouldn’t even take it. *sighs

Keep Achieving: Even though you may feel a little unsure about yourself don’t let it stop you, keep breaking grounds, keep achieving and keep being you…

I once suffered the impostor syndrome because I didn’t know it was a “thing”, you shouldn’t have to, you know now! The world already has too many factors that can stop you, you shouldn’t be one of them.

 

 

Your friend

Nonso (Rock Lover)

 

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Photo Credit: The design team

Useful Link: Impostor Syndrome Test.

 

Categories: Motivational

13 replies

  1. Dear lord I hope I don’t have this syndrome🤔. this is like an eye opener…. Nice write up I am always excited to get this mail alert from Rocklover blog because it’s another day to learn something new….

    Liked by 1 person

      • Well.. Kinda. A distinction may be :For inferiority complex you are putting yourself up against an external standard. This may be fuelled by discouragements of failure. In the case of the impostor syndrome there may not be a standard, you just feel inadequate despite positive occurrences and achievements. I hope this helps. Cheers.

        Like

  2. Nonso, this is an excellent Write-up! I had an experience with a lady sometimes ago and I don’t know if I can call this The Impostor Syndrome.

    I complimented a lady once on her beautiful dress. Then she did that whole self-deprecating thing, “Oh, this old thing? Really? It’s just wash and wear.”

    I took a second look and magically, the dress no longer looked that great to me. My original view of the beautiful dress had been replaced by the unattractive picture she’d painted with her words.

    How many opportunities are passing us by because we are, in trying to be “humble,” distorting people’s good and perfectly justified opinions of us?

    Self-deprecation – the act of belittling or undervaluing oneself – is not humility.

    Like

  3. Nonso, this is an excellent write-up. I had an experience with a lady sometimes ago and I don’t know if this is the impostor syndrome.

    I complimented a lady once on her beautiful dress. Then she did that whole self-deprecating thing, “Oh, this old thing? Really? It’s just wash and wear.”

    I took a second look and magically, the dress no longer looked that great to me. My original view of the beautiful dress had been replaced by the unattractive picture she’d painted with her words.

    How many opportunities are passing us by because we are, in trying to be “humble,” distorting people’s good and perfectly justified opinions of us?

    Self-deprecation – the act of belittling or undervaluing oneself – is not humility.

    Like

  4. Hi!

    Thanks for opening up about this issue! The Impostor Syndrome is something I’ve been exploring to understand myself.

    I think that many of us discount our success too much not because of humility, but because of pride. And yes, I would go through the exact same thing when I try to discredit myself while others talk about their successes. And I’d get mad at them for it!

    There’s a fine line between humility and having a sense of pride that we can do it on our own. Because we can’t. We’ve had role models to look up to, friends and family who have supported us.

    I’m starting to see the value of having pride in my work by also publicly and personally thanking those who have contributed in some way. That way, I don’t have to hide my success, it’s a shared achievement that I can enjoy with the people who care about me.

    J.T.

    Like

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