Source: Silviarita/Pixabay People who suffer from impostor syndrome have all the external hallmarks of success—good grades, promotions, positive feedback from their peers. Yet deep down they feel inadequate, as if they are not really up to the job. It’s no surprise that impostor syndrome can make us feel stressed and miserable. What’s more surprising is that accepting a diagnosis of impostor syndrome may make matters even worse. Impostor syndrome hovers uncertainly between psychiatry, psychology, and popular culture. It is absent from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), yet there are plenty of research studies exploring the prevalence of impostor syndrome in different groups of people (psychologists talk of “Impostor Phenomenon,” not “Impostor Syndrome”). In its turn, this scientific literature is overshadowed by endless websites, self-help books, coaching guides—and blog posts like this one!—about impostor syndrome. Their usual aim is to help sufferers by informing them that their self-doubts fit a pattern, and are shared by many others, including celebrities, artists, and sporting stars. Is this information genuinely helpful? One trouble with the “impostor” label is that an impostor is not merely inadequate. An impostor is also a cheat, a fraud, someone who intentionally deceives other people. The personal shame associated with perceived inadequacy now has an… Read full this story
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