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What is 'imposter syndrome'?

By Jane Wood

I’ll start by asking you a very simple question, have you ever felt that you don’t deserve or didn’t earn something even though you had put all your energy and efforts into it?

Even though most of the people don’t know about it, Imposter Syndrome is a very common phenomenon, affecting almost everyone at some or other point in their life.

If the name “Imposter Syndrome” sounds new to you then don’t worry, you’ll be very familiar with it by the end of this article.


Imposter syndrome is a psychological condition where an individual doubts their talents or accomplishments and lives under the constant fear of being found out as a fraud.

In easier terms, it means that you believe you are not good enough to have actually accomplished what you did and it was a mere stroke of luck that you achieved it. It is followed by a constant fear or a nagging at the back of your head telling you that you are a fraud and you are not actually that perfect/ that smart/ that talented and soon someone will find this out and you’ll be done for.


Imposter Syndrome is usually caused due to:

● Feelings of self doubt

● Low self esteem

● And Low levels of confidence


To give you a better idea about this syndrome, allow me to take you through my experience with it.

Imposter Syndrome, for me, began when I was in middle school. I have always been the “top of the class” kind of a student. Always the best grades, the best manners and supposedly the best life. I was the “model child”. I was called more mature and smarter than my peers.

For a while it felt good. I was receiving a good amount of attention and recognition due to my success in academics. But then the self doubt crept in.

I don’t think I deserve this at all. I am not smart. I am not perfect. What if someone finds out? What if they learn that I had never been actually this good at studies all along?

I was in sixth grade when this started and it has continued since then. I think this was also the place where my perfectionist tendencies take their roots from.

As the studies grew difficult, this syndrome and the feelings it caused kept increasing with it to the point that I thought that I was actually a complete failure and I was just striking luck every year. It grew more as the competition in school increased. I was friends with people who I knew were way smarter than me. But still I remained at the top of the class.

I was scared. I sometimes still am, that somebody would find out that I am very stupid in reality and that I am not as smart as they think.

I always feel like I am wearing this mask, that I am giving out a very different persona when I am at school and that is not me.

Now that I am in high school, the feelings have only increased, making me doubt myself every second I study even though I know that I work hard and earn it, I never actually believe it.

But there are some things that have actually helped me lessen these feelings if not completely get rid of them. Following are some of them.


1) AFFIRM to yourself when you feel the self doubt creeping in. Think about all the hard work you’ve put in to get where you are. Tell yourself that your success was valid and it was not anything to do with luck. Because you can never succeed, let alone maintain it, if you are not working hard and you’ve not earned it. So the highest chances are you actually did work pretty hard for what you got. Tell yourself that.

2) TALK TO SOMEONE you trust. Let them know how you have been feeling. This will help lessen the fear of being “found out”. Since I have started sharing my experience, it has become way more tolerable than before. So try to get these feelings out of you.

3) ACCEPT that you are human and it is perfectly okay to make mistakes. You don’t have to keep that perfect mask up all the time. It’ll exhaust you.

4) TRY SOMETHING NEW and take it up as, maybe a hobby. When you will have no unnecessary pressure of competition and the need to be the best, it’ll actually help you gain confidence in other areas of life too. I, for example, took up blogging a few years back and it has built my confidence. I know wherever my blog is right now it is because I worked for it.

5) TRY NOT TO COMPARE to other people if that makes your anxiety grow. Everyone is very different and it is not necessary that the other person is going through the same situations as you.

There you go! Imposter Syndrome, what it is, my experience and how to deal with it. I hope

this has enabled you to better understand it and given you new information on an issue that is more common than you may first have thought

About the author:

I am Jane Wood, a teenager and a highschooler with a love for all things mental health and productivity. I am a huge coffee and music enthusiast while also being an avid reader and a mental health writer.

Find me at :

Instagram: @janetheauthor


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