Do you secretly worry that others will find out that you’re not as smart or capable as they think you are? When you’re in a room full of people do you see everyone else as more accomplished, more proficient and more intelligent than you? Do you shy away from challenges because of nagging self-doubt? Do you tend to chalk up your accomplishments to being a “fluke” or “no big deal”? Do you take criticism as evidence of your “ineptness?”
If you are ever plagued by feelings of being an imposter, you are not alone. Many of us are unable to acknowledge our own accomplishments. We dismiss them as luck, timing, or the result of deceiving others into thinking we are more intelligent and competent or “together” than we really are.
Our internal dialogue goes a little something like this…
•I didn’t get the promotion because I earned it; I got it because I was lucky.
•I didn’t get into graduate school, because I’m smart, I got in because they just haven’t figured out yet that they made a mistake.
•Once he sees who I really am, he’ll run.
•They didn’t pick me because I’m talented. They picked me because I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
If you wrestle with feelings of unworthiness, you are probably missing out on some really amazing opportunities. Although these thoughts may drive some people to work harder, it can also cause chronic self-doubt, low self-esteem and severe burnout.
Most people don’t share these feelings with anyone. Ironically, the thought of sharing these feelings can increase self-defeating thoughts. You relentlessly attempt to avoid being perceived as weak or being exposed as the fraud you believe yourself to be.
So people become experts at hiding their insecurities and putting on a mask. However, you can’t overcome insecurities and self-doubt by internalizing them. This false sense of confidence doesn’t just go away on it’s own. You have to talk about it.
Your tendency to undersell yourself can be a huge problem. A good therapist can help you with the tools you need to break free from this self-defeating thinking.