Imposter syndrome or excessive self-doubt in spite of our achievements can affect our healths negatively. Dive in to understand the consequences and be aware.
One of my Professors at my university told me about Imposter Syndrome around 13 years ago. Before that, I believed that doubting myself or my capabilities only implies that I’m not arrogant about my work, which should be a virtue.
Then, I met many women who would sound humble. Still, when we’d discuss more, I understood that this excessive self-doubt, regardless of your record or the positive feedback you receive, a.k.a. Imposter Syndrome, is doing us more harm than we imagine.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is loosely defined as doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud. [Harvard Business Review]
Self-doubt can drive us to better ourselves, but imposter syndrome is a little different. You might find people sometimes using the two – ‘self-doubt’ and ‘imposter syndrome’ interchangeably, but there is more than a slight difference. Imposter Syndrome can make us ignore our achievements, disbelieving the praise that comes our way, feeling that we are not good enough to the extent that it impedes action.
How can Imposter Syndrome affect our healths?
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1. Experiencing Guilt
If we have this belief or doubt that we aren’t good enough, that in itself is a seed for guilt. As an example, if you believe that you aren’t a good mother (no matter how much your child loves you and is thriving), you might feel the guilt of not being present for them, not taking care of them, and more!
As a result, these negative thoughts might lead you to give a low priority to self-care, mental and physical, only to start a vicious cycle of more guilt. Therefore, it is essential to be objective about what you are already doing and what you can do.
The overcompensating piece shouldn’t come as a surprise. If you have faced imposter syndrome, you might have experienced overcompensating at work or home due to the same. Why? Only because you want to be good (and you are), but you don’t believe so. Therefore, do more. Instead, if we address the Imposter syndrome within, we might realize that we are good as is.
Now, I am not saying that one shouldn’t doubt oneself and inflate one’s ego. But, as a contrast, I am addressing the other end of the spectrum here, the self-esteem bit [Think like a Monk, Shetty, 2020]. Imposter Syndrome might affect one’s self-esteem, which can be draining physically and mentally.
3. Chronic Ailments
This one is not a direct effect of imposter syndrome. But a highly likely one. If you have been driven and producing results professionally, Imposter syndrome can, in the worst case, cause you to sabotage your career. In addition, the sense of loss of purpose can affect mental/physical health. Therefore, to be physically and mentally fit, it is paramount to acknowledge and act upon imposter syndrome so that one is objective enough and makes decisions wisely.
I agree that Imposter syndrome might not always work to our disadvantage, but regardless, being aware of it can do us a lot of good! Did you know about Imposter Syndrome before? Have you ever experienced it? How do you manage it?
If you have further questions, send me an email at email@example.com. I’d be happy to help. Please subscribe for future posts about Imposter Syndrome.