“What if I’m not actually good enough?”, “What if they find out that I’m not really that great?”, and “I don’t deserve their praises because I’m just pretending”. These are the kinds of thoughts people with impostor syndrome often face. These thoughts are often intrusive and we have no control over when they come or when to stop them.
This inner voice plagues so many of us in every generation. This often puts our self-esteem down and may even impact the way we carry ourselves and the way we feel about ourselves and our achievements.
It may feel hopeless, but it definitely isn’t because there’s still hope for us to overcome this and feel the best way about ourselves and the achievements we get from our hard work. The first step and perhaps hardest step of which is to recognize that we indeed have impostor syndrome. You see, recognizing the problem is always the first step to any solution that we need.
So if we have recognized our problem with impostor syndrome, what’s next? Well, the next step would be to determine exactly what kind of impostor syndrome we have. Here are the five most common types of impostor syndrome that you may not have even heard about before:
The gifted child #giftedchild
These kinds of people had a kind of childhood wherein they were often praised for their academic or social achievements. These achievements did wonders for their self-esteem as they were often labeled as the “gifted kid” when they were younger.
However, as they got older and things got harder and harder, the weight of other people’s expectations became a tough burden for them to carry. As the “genius” that they were, they become frustrated or crushed when they don’t get things right in the first few tries. They become anxious about how other people will view them if they don’t achieve something difficult as people expect them to be “naturally good” at things.
These types of people also often set ambitious goals for themselves that actually require a few moments of failure to learn and be good at. Yet, they still become frustrated when they don’t find it easy as they were used to things being smooth sailing and easily achieved with only their natural smarts.
The superhuman #superhuman
These types of people with impostor syndrome tend to excel and they do so by any means possible. They often push themselves to the limits and disregard any concern for their own health and well-being as they do their utmost best in every role that they have.
Similar to every other type of impostor syndrome, they are pushed by an internal voice telling them that they need to be the absolute best at everything that they do. Otherwise, they will feel like they are only “faking it” or feel like they are undeserving of any praise that they get.
The perfectionist #perfectionist
Just like the superhumans, perfectionists also do their best at everything that they do. They make sure that everything is spotless and fault free. However, what sets them apart is that they never feel satisfied or content with what they do or achieve.
These kinds of people tend to magnify the degree of their mistakes or flaws in their works to an unreasonable extent. Sometimes, those are the only things that they will see despite how great their achievement might be, which is very much unfortunate as they seldomly take the chance to appreciate themselves much like the other types of impostor syndrome.
The Experts #experts
Now in this type of impostor syndrome, they never rest until they know everything they possibly can in their field or task that they are about to do. They also tend to underestimate the amount of knowledge that they have and are afraid to ask questions for fear of everybody else ridiculing them. They are also often more skilled than others, but also undervalue themselves and what they can bring to the table.
The individualists #individualist
As you can tell by the name, in this type of impostor syndrome, you will tend to prefer to work alone and finish nearly everything by yourself. This results in overwork, fatigue, and stress most of the time.
Working by yourself isn’t necessarily bad as there are lots of people that feel like they are more efficient this way. However, it becomes a problem when you feel like you must do it out of fear of being seen as weak or incompetent. People with this kind of impostor syndrome also feel like they have to do as much as possible by themselves in order to “prove” their worth.
What can we do about it?
As we have said in the beginning, acknowledging that we have impostor syndrome is the most important first step that we can take. The next one is to be able to identify the type of impostor syndrome that we have and now that we know the most common types, try to see and reflect within yourself to know which kind relates to you the most.
Once you know which symptoms manifest for you the most, it’s important for us to take actions that steer our mindset and lives for the better. So what are some things we can do?
The first is to accept that we are not perfect and that we are continuously improving throughout our lives. You see, we are definitely still making ourselves better day by day and that is not something to be ashamed of!
This is most effective for gifted children, perfectionists, and expert types of impostor syndrome. Remember that it’s also okay to fail and learn that you still need practice or additional knowledge sometimes. No one knows how to do everything in this world and you also should feel pressured to be the most knowledgeable or skillful person in a room. It’s fine to ask questions and seek help from others every now and then. This will not only improve your mental well-being but also improve your social skills which can also benefit those with the individualist and superhuman types of impostor syndrome.
Another thing we must do is believe in ourselves. This might seem hard because the core of impostor syndrome is constantly doubting yourself, but you need to start bit by bit and learn to appreciate yourself. This will build a good habit of praising yourself and uplifting your own morale. In addition, you can also choose to keep track of your progress so you’ll always have tangible evidence of just how far you’ve come with all of the hurdles and challenges you’ve overcome.
Lastly, remember to always try to be kind and give more credit to yourself. You see, a common theme of the different kinds of impostor syndrome is doubting yourself and discrediting your own achievements. This can manifest itself by downplaying your achievements such as telling yourself that it “wasn’t a big deal” or that you just “got lucky and everyone can do it”.
So always remember to give credit to your own effort and learn to love yourself and be proud of everything you have achieved no matter how big or how small!
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