1707975206 Imposter Syndrome The Condemnation of Constantly Feeling Like an Imposter

Imposter Syndrome: The Condemnation of Constantly Feeling Like an Imposter | EL PAÍS Weekly: Psychology and Well-Being

Imposter Syndrome The Condemnation of Constantly Feeling Like an Imposter

I'm afraid of others judging me. I feel like my successes were the result of coincidence. I'm afraid that important people will find out that I'm not as capable as they think. I'm sure what I'm about to say will seem silly to you. Anyone can do this… There are endless phrases that reflect imposter syndrome. Even Meryl Streep recognized herself in it. This phenomenon was described in 1978 by American clinical psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. They then defined it as a strong feeling of untruth about the image of competence that people with a high academic level experience. According to statistics, up to 50% of people with recognition live with these feelings. In 2000, Joan Harvey and her colleagues also associated it with certain personality traits such as high self-demand and self-criticism, high perfectionism, and low levels of self-compassion.

People who think like this tend to blame themselves for mistakes and hate praise. When they are praised, they perceive that their successes are a matter of luck or due to the fact that no one notices their shortcomings. They are considered fraudsters because they play a role that does not suit them. They are afraid of failure and deny their abilities, sometimes unconsciously. To compensate for the fear of defeat, they over-prepare or procrastinate, making great final efforts. This phenomenon is more likely to occur in competitive environments and has been studied, for example, in the health sector by doctors Montserrat González Estecha and Ángeles Martínez Hernanz.

It is appropriate to distinguish between an occasional sensation and the development of a situation into something permanent, even detrimental. An alarm indicator is that no performance is enough, which leads to chronic dissatisfaction, or that the high demands go beyond the professional area and affect the social or family area. When stress levels become too high, there is a risk to physical health.

Some studies have found that this symptom more commonly affects women, which is why the term as imposter syndrome has become popular. Due to gender roles, they suffer more from this problem when placed in leadership positions traditionally associated with men. The origin of this painting and its greatest impact on women may have historical roots. Historian Mary Beard's “Women and Power” shows how women have been relegated to a subordinate role since ancient times that is still difficult to break out of. The syndrome appears in adolescence and worsens at certain times in adult life, such as during motherhood, when redoubled efforts must be made to prove one's professional worth.

In books such as “The Impostor Syndrome: Why Do Women Still Don't Believe in themselves?” by Cadoche and Montarlot or “I'm Not Doing It Right” by Emma Vallespinós, some recommendations to combat this syndrome are proposed. The first thing would be to identify it and find out what triggers it. Then temper self-criticism and analyze how inaccurate certain reviews are by comparing them with the opinions of others. In this way, we manage to question the language that is the repository of our prejudices, as the author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie points out. In addition, it is recommended to cultivate self-knowledge and recognize your own abilities and strengths. Another goal would be to work on false guilt and increase compassion for our mistakes. It is also useful to break down compulsive work habits, accept praise and know how to enjoy what you do. Raising awareness of gender bias at an individual and collective level is also important as it helps in recognizing and overcoming one's own biases.

In business and organizational settings, this syndrome can be counteracted through participatory leadership by people with open, creative and transformative attitudes. A commitment to healthy leadership styles promotes trust and collaboration and combats competitive judgments and biases that keep the most thoughtful and sensitive people from engaging at the most responsible levels. Another alternative would be to promote mentoring. Tomás Chamorro collects in Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? that when selecting personnel, assessors usually pay attention to qualities such as self-confidence, charisma and self-assurance and rarely to competence or modesty. A focus on these latter features would reduce coercive contexts. Another sensible measure would be for organizations to implement gender equality policies, promote diversity in decision-making, arbitration and equal pay, as Professor Helena Legido points out.

Looking at future leaders, it would be interesting to look for role models and mentors who can help women support each other, take risks when they want, but also accept that one has the right to continue to be one of the crowd to be like. A cheater

Patricia Fernández Martín is a clinical psychologist at the Ramón y Cajal Hospital in Madrid.