By: Stephanie Osuba
Despite your degrees, acclaims, and accomplishments, do you ever sometimes feel like you are an imposter? That you’ve been getting lucky or that you’re a fake in your profession and one day people are going to find you out? As it turns out, you aren’t alone. Many successful people feel this way and often have to step back and remember all the things they have achieved – Maya Angelou and Albert Einstein among these people! While there is no diagnosis or even proper name for this feeling in the DSM-5, there are countless of reports of this in psychology and psychotherapy literature. In fact, the first time the term “imposter syndrome” was used was in an article in 1978 by Drs Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes who – after studying 150 educated, established, and highly respected women – found that they didn’t have an internal sense of success and found themselves to be “imposters.”
So what causes this “imposter syndrome” that befalls so many successful people? One reason could be that there is no real measure to success. There is always something more that you can do and regardless of how much success you’ve already had and you think you are content with, self-doubt can always creep in and say you haven’t done enough. Another reason could be “pluralistic ignorance,” which is believing something to be true without being able to prove or disprove it – usually involving unspoken or false beliefs about other people. For example, research has shown that all college students feel anxiety about school but the actual students think they are the only ones who feel that way and other people are having no trouble adjusting to college life. And lastly, talent can make us believe that we haven’t worked hard enough and don’t deserve the praise or success of what comes naturally to us.
If you or someone you know appears to be having issues with self-esteem or is suffering from anxiety, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/