• Rebecca Hirsch

ADHD APPROVED | Conquer Imposter Syndrome

How to stop self sabotage

I’ve never experienced imposter syndrome myself, so I asked KIRU for his thoughts on what it is and how to fight it. He says that imposter syndrome is a “skewed perspective of the self that can make you seem less favorable in any given moment.” With imposter syndrome, you may feel your skills, intelligence, or abilities are less than they actually are, especially compared to peers in the same space. It is slightly different from a more generalized feeling of inferiority. For example, feeling like you don’t belong in a space that you absolutely do is not the same as feeling like you’re definitely going to fail a test. While we may all experience moments of negativity and pessimism, we don’t necessarily all experience imposter syndrome specifically.

It’s hard to know where imposter syndrome begins. My research suggests that it’s more likely to occur in perfectionists and those who already have anxiety. Given that modern society tends to insist on perfection in all aspects of life, it’s easy to see why so many people would feel like they’re ‘faking it’. Furthermore, while imposter syndrome generally comes from the self, it could be bolstered by negative comments from others. If someone has spent their entire life being told they’re too ‘stupid’ to succeed, they could very well feel like an imposter in intelligent environments. They likely have internalized those comments over time. With how many people experience bullying and ostracization, is it any surprise that so many people feel like they don’t belong?

KIRU suggests that the best way to fight imposter syndrome is to know that what you know and what you do has value. Even if things aren’t working out right in that moment, your skills and knowledge are still important. For example, most start-ups aren’t profitable for at least 5 years. These enterprises and their creators aren’t worthless because they aren’t instantly raking in the cash, even though it can feel that way. KIRU says that another thing that can help is finding a mentor, especially someone who’s gone through similar troubles. They can assure you of your skills and help you make a plan for if things genuinely go sideways. They will act as a voice of reason. Most importantly, as long as you understand your purpose and values, you can beat imposter syndrome! Always make sure you don’t fall into the comparison cycle, because most of your peers are probably just as worried as you.

If you want to know what kind of ‘imposter’ you are, the muse has a great article about the different ways imposter syndrome can manifest. I haven’t personally experienced anything on the list, but I’ve been assured it’s very accurate.

I don’t know why I don’t really experience imposter syndrome. I don’t have a good theory for this one. I treat negative thoughts like a 13-year-old troll on Xbox Live. Like, cool, thanks for the input edgelord, why don’t you go hug your mom or something. KIRU says that sitting with your thoughts for a moment, acknowledging them, and then putting them aside can help, so that could be it.

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