Self-doubt, inadequacy and feelings of not living up to the goals you’ve set for yourself can affect the way you see yourself.
It happens and it’s normal. Medical experts call it Imposter syndrome.
Counselling Psychologist, Jaydene du Preez says, “Imposter syndrome (also known as imposter phenomenon, fraud syndrome or the imposter experience) is the real or imagined underperformance by seemingly competent individuals, resulting in them questioning the validity of their achievements or abilities.
While imposter syndrome is not an actual disorder, the term (coined by clinical psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978) is often used to refer to people who feel that the only reason that they succeed is due to luck and not appropriate talent or qualifications.
It often manifests as one is unable to accept a compliment, by feeling like one is ‘a fake’, by feeling like one may be ‘discovered’ at any minute and by experiencing feelings of self-doubt and insecurity.”
Imposter syndrome will often have you thinking, “I’m a pretty confident person, but I’m not.”
This happens to the best of us and can be triggered by stepping into a new job position, being a first-time parent or quitting your job to start that side-hustle you’ve been dreaming of.
Firstly, don’t doubt your capabilities. Secondly, speak to close friends, family or a professional about how you feel. You’ll be surprised at how many people will relate.
We caught up with women who shared about how Imposter syndrome has affected their lives.
1. Meg de Jong
Meg is a body positivity activist, plus-size model and fashion and lifestyle writer.
“Imposter syndrome is relevant in the ‘influencer’ world. At events, you’re surrounded by people, that you put on a pedestal and you often feel like “Wow! What am I doing here?”. At the end of the day, everyone is feeling the same way.”
2. Boitumelo Rametsi
Boitumelo is a body-positive philanthropist who raises awareness on Vitiligo and celebrating being unique.
“Imposter syndrome comes from not knowing who you are and trying to live off a certain identity, that’s placed by society. I believe it’s very hard to sustain that lifestyle. It’s not who you truly are and it reveals itself in the end. I always advise people to live their truer self, because it always comes off as effortless.”
READ MORE: Imposter Syndrome Comes In 5 Different Forms
3. Claire Vogeli
Claire is an entrepreneur, coach and creative.
“Imposter Syndrome is no stranger to women, especially with today’s expectations of us in general. We have to be so many things at once and we cannot be perfect at everything. In order to prevent Imposter Syndrome from taking hold, it’s best to do all things authentically instead of trying to be perfect. Playing open cards unapologetically allows us to stop unrealistic expectations that cause so much anxiety. We should learn to accept our successes when we have earned them.”
4. Nomawothi Bafana
Nomawothi is our Women’s Health Next Fitness Star for 2019. She’s a tax practitioner, an advocate for health and fitness and believes in empowering women.
“I experienced Imposter Syndrome when I started teaching classes at the gym. I felt as though everyone was going to see right through me and pick up on how nervous I was. After a while I realised, I will never know everything and that’s okay. Everyone is always learning. Imposter syndrome affects so many people, even the CEO at the top. The important part is not letting it hinder your performance and believe that it’s true, whether it be at the workplace or in your personal life. We’re imperfect as humans, one can’t let imposter syndrome run their lives.”
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthsa.co.za
Image credit: iStock/Women's Health SA