KALMers, have you heard about imposter syndrome? You may have achieved success, but feel that you don’t deserve it. You’re afraid that other people think you don’t deserve that success. You always think that you are not as smart, strong, and as great as other people say you are and you are afraid that they will eventually find out the “truth”.
If you feel those feelings, you are not alone. Many people experience imposter syndrome. The condition in which a person feels they are an “imposter” to others called imposter syndrome. Keep on reading if you want to know!
This term was first introduced by psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in the 1970s. Imposter syndrome is a psychological condition in which a person is unable to accept the success they have achieved. This syndrome makes you feel afraid of being caught for cheating when in fact the success you have achieved is real from your own efforts. This term is not limited to achievement, but also perfectionism and social context. This syndrome causes you to feel as if you have ‘tricked’ other people to get your success. This condition can happen to anyone regardless of social status, background, or occupation.
Imposter syndrome is not a syndrome listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), but this condition is common to happen. Here are some of the signs:
- Always doubting yourself for the success you achieved
- Feeling that the successes you received are due to dumb luck
- Fear of upsetting others because of the expectation they have on you
- Having difficult time objectively assessing your own ability/competence
Types of Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome can appear in several types. Here are some types of people who experience it:
1. The Perfectionist
A perfectionist will never be satisfied with the results of their work. Instead of focusing on their strengths, a perfectionist will focus on their flaws and weaknesses. That’s why perfectionists are prone to doubting themselves and feeling like they’re fake. If this happens continuously, this can lead to high levels of anxiety and stress.
2. The Superhero
This type of imposter syndrome feels that they are in the midst of extraordinary people or colleagues so they feel they have to work even harder to be on par with them. But no matter how hard they work, they still feel they are never enough. The existence of doubts about self-competence is what makes a person work desperately to prove that they’re capable of it.
3. The Expert
The Expert is someone who judges their competence from “what” and “how much” they know about something. They are afraid that they will be embarrassed if they somehow don’t understand something. In most cases, a person with this condition will underestimate their own abilities, even though their skills and knowledge are very high.
4. The Natural Genius
Someone with The Natural Genius type thinks that they have to be an innate genius, which should be able to do everything easily and quickly – not by their efforts. More than the Perfectionist, they also think that they have to be able to do things perfectly on the first try. When they are not able to do something as quickly or as well, that fear arises.
5. The Soloist
A soloist tends to be individualistic and refuses the help of others. This is because they tend to think that help from others shows their inability. Furthermore, they think that their inability is a prove to themselves that they are a ‘fake’ person. That is why they continue to refused other people’s help even though they actually need it.
Tips to Overcome it
1. Validate Your Feelings
Admit every failure and achievement you’ve been through. One thing to remember: humans can never be perfect. When you can appreciate and accept failure as a lesson, you will be able to recognize your achievements too.
2. Avoid Comparing Yourself to Others
This condition often occurs because of feelings of not being good enough compared to other people. Instead of focusing on comparing your weaknesses with others, you can focus on evaluating your own abilities. By doing a self-evaluation, you can try to improve what is lacking in yourself. For example, if you fail an exam, you can evaluate the things that made you fail. Then use it to upgrade yourself so you don’t fail next time. Self-evaluation doesn’t only help you to avoid feeling helpless, but also proves that you rise from failure and achieve success with your own efforts. Say goodbye to imposter syndrome!
3. Communicate Your Feelings
Opening up to friends, mentors, or professionals about how you feel can help you overcome imposter syndrome. By sharing your stories, you will gain new insight into how you are feeling.
What do you think? Do you feel the signs of imposter syndrome mentioned above? If you are having hard times or feeling like you’re currently in this situation, don’t hesitate to seek professional help, KALMers! Kalmselor will help you find a suitable way to solve your problem. Download the KALM App (here) to connect online with professionals Kalmselor.
Written by: Dzulfani S Nisa
Translated by: Dzulfani S Nisa
Edited by: Lukas Limanjaya
Cuncic, A. (2021, November 23). What Is imposter Syndrome? Very Well Mind. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/imposter-syndrome-and-social-anxiety-disorder-4156469#:~:text=imposter%20syndrome%20(IS)%20refers%20to,perfectionism%20and%20the%20social%20context.
Raypole, C. (2021, April 16). You’re Not a Fraud. Here’s How to Recognize and Overcome Imposter Syndrome. Healthline. Retrieved from
Psychology Today Staffs. imposter Syndrome. Psychology Today. Retrieved from (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/imposter-syndrome
Travers, M. (2021, October 21). How to Overcome imposter Syndrome. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/social-instincts/202110/how-overcome-imposter-syndrome
Wilding, Melody J. 5 Different Types of Imposter Syndrome (and 5 Ways to Battle Each One). Retrieved from https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-different-types-of-imposter-syndrome-and-5-ways-to-battle-each-one