Have you ever felt like an imposter or a fraud? You’re not alone. Particularly in a professional setting, people may have this feeling but lack the words to describe it. This is called imposter syndrome, which means feeling like a fraud due to self-doubt and lack of confidence. It stems from low self-esteem that makes us afraid of being discovered and judged inadequate or incompetent. We’re convinced that we’re really an “imposter,” just tricking everyone. In an intimate relationship, we’re afraid of being found out and left.
The consequence is that even when we excel―get high marks, accomplishments, raises, promotions, or compliments, we feel so undeserving due to deep shame that it doesn’t change our opinion of ourselves.
We’ll make excuses or discount our successes.
It’s normal to exaggerate or emphasize our strengths on a resume or job interview. However, an “imposter” really feels unqualified in comparison to other candidates―wants the position, but is half terrified of getting it.