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'What if they find out I am not actually good at it?' : Imposter Syndrome & its Coping Explained

Updated: Feb 11, 2023

Have you ever felt like “What if I am not in the right job?” “What if I am only acting to be a good wife/daughter?” “Am I actually capable and worthy of the role I am in my job/life?” “Is it that I pretend very well to know what I am doing, and who I am?

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If you repeatedly have these thoughts, then you are most likely experiencing Imposter Syndrome. Imposter Syndrome is not an illness or a mental health condition. It is a common experience of many.

Imposter Syndrome feels like a mask or clothing that one is wearing, and that the real Self is hiding beneath it. The clothing or mask is an expectation of others or oneself of where & what one wants to be.

This article helps understand the common cause underlying Imposter Syndrome, and effective coping strategies for the same.

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A major cause of Imposter Syndrome I have observed is that the expected/fantasized image that one dons on their real Self, is the aspirations one wants to achieve. However, due to the projected timelines, expectations put forth by others, one feels like ‘I have to be this person right now’; meet all aspirations at this very moment.

This incongruence and fear causes a lot of discomfort, and stress, mixing the present and future tenses for oneself.

It needs to be understood that the aspired image or the imposter image that one feels is helpful to understand the goals for oneself. It is essential to realize that one does not need to judge whether they are that or not; one needs to realize that one can reach the aspirations, only with the experience and skills one gains from the present self.

It can be understood through the concept of Incongruence by Carl Rogers in Client centered therapy model.

Often when one sees or realizes the long journey/series of steps needed to attain the aspired image, the fear makes it feel impossible or very far-fetched and foggy. The fear leads us to have the belief that one can never achieve the goal; that it's just a dream and a projection everybody is putting on them, which can never materialize.

How to cope with Imposter Syndrome?

Therapy can help navigate through the doubts, thoughts and work through the incongruence. I understand deciding for therapy is not easy; Here are a few tips to help cope with Imposter Syndrome:

1. Understanding & Externalizing the aspirations and expectation from my present Self

Awareness and externalizing of the expectations helps a great deal to understand the skills one has at present, and the skills and capabilities that one wishes to have. Once the present and projected or desired self is separated and put in distance, it can help make the bridge between the two.

2. Mapping the journey from my present Self to the Aspired Self

Stating the steps, learnings and experience needed to achieve. Each step helps to make a connection and a concrete, tangible pathway to achieve the aspirations from the step one presently is at. Projecting each skill/experience that one wants to attain as one step each, with a flexible time frame needed for its attainment.

3. SWOT analysis

SWOT Analysis is a practice where one notes their strengths, capabilities, limitations, etc. It helps gauge the skills and characteristics one has at present, and the limitations that one needs to work on.

4. Seeking Therapy

Seeking Therapy helps one understand the incongruence, the 2 positions of the Self. It supports one to navigate their path to be who they aspire to be. Therapy enables one to work through the self-doubt and gain clarity about the Self.

Does this resonate with you? Is it something you actively want to work on?

Let’s work through this together!

Book your therapy session(s) through:

- Purvi Balasaria


+91 9080610825


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