Impostor Syndrome feels like wearing a mask in fear of others finding out that your accomplishments happened only because of luck or chance. In other words, you don’t deserve your success. This affects people across all ages, races, and gender identities. Social media can play a huge role in Imposter Syndrome. Often, individuals will see how well everyone else SEEMS to be doing and begin to compare themselves. This comparison game can be the main culprit to feeling like a phony. There are three key steps that I like to use when dealing with imposter syndrome: Naming it, reframing context, and reclaiming self-worth.
The first step to address an issue is to name it. When people can give their feelings of unworthiness a name, it normalizes them. They may feel they are not alone, which also helps to make the situation feel common.
Cowley’s (2016) study among over 1700 adults (aged 19-32) suggests that individuals with the greatest use of social media, had the most symptoms resembling depression. There was no evidence that there was a correlation to the specific content viewed online and depression, but by knowing there is a possible link between time spent online and depression can be very helpful to address the impact of social media. The facts show that this group spends ample time on social media. It is helpful to be reminded to use critical thinking to evaluate what you are reading online. Although people may only share the good things happening in their lives on social media, remember that what you see is not always the whole picture.
Perhaps the most important step in dealing with imposter syndrome is to learn how to reclaim self-worth. One way to do this is by setting reasonable goals and documenting your progress to be able to look back on in moments you feel invaluable or worthless.
It may feel easy to feel alone when dealing with Imposter Syndrome, but I hope you learn to take a step back and reflect on these three steps when you start to feel this way. Name the Imposter Syndrome, Reframe the situation on FACTS not opinion, and reclaim your self-worth through setting goals that are meaningful to YOU and check in regularly on your progress. You will be amazed at how far you have come and have concrete evidence that you are NOT a fraud.
Cowley, D, (2016). Social-Media use and depression: What is the connection NEJM Journal Watch. Psychiatry. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.vortex3.uco.edu/docview/1764860975?rfr_id =info%3Axri%2Fsid%3Aprimo