There is nothing better than the feeling of accomplishing something. We feel great whenever someone admires our work. But there are plenty of individuals that don’t feel like accomplishing something even after achieving a lot in their life. Even Albert Einstein used to think his works don’t deserve as much attention as it had received. The accomplishments Albert Einstein has achieved are very rare. But this feeling of not achieving something is too common among people. This phenomenon has a special name called impostor syndrome. Let’s talk about it. 

What Is Impostor Syndrome?

Impostor syndrome

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome, or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubt his/her skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a fear of being revealed as a “fraud”, Physiologist Pauline Rose Clance was the first to study this unwarranted feeling of insecurity. She observed that her undergraduate student patients had the concern of not deserving of something they had. These students had high grades but still, they think they did not deserve their spots at the University. Even some of them think their acceptance in the university was an email error. Pauline started to work on this phenomenon. This phenomenon was named the Impostor phenomenon. 

In this phenomenon, the individual start to think others are more skilled than him/her. This is what makes the individual feels inferior to the other and arises this sense of insecurity. 

Studies suggest that more than 70% of people experience the feeling of being a “fraud”. This is very common than we think. Most of us doubt our skills privately but afraid of sharing so. You might have gone through a phase of self-doubt. But what gives rise to impostor syndrome? 

Causes For Impostor Syndrome

The main two cause for impostor syndrome is Nature of individual and how an individual has Nurtured in his/her childhood.


Child abuse impostor syndrome
Image by John Hain from Pixabay

The way an individual is nurtured, plays an important role in developing Impostor syndrome. The Impostor syndrome has its roots from childhood. The way an individual has treated in childhood determines the quality of the future. Growing up with alcoholic parents, exposure to domestic, physical abuse or verbal abuse is the main reason for developing Impostor Syndrome. Along with it, constant criticism is also a common cause for it. Most of the parents always criticize their kids even after seeing their kid’s achievements. Most of them start to compare their achievements with someone of the same age but with better qualities and more achievements. This compassion creates a sense of inferiority among the children. This is where they start to self-doubt themselves. 

If you think praising the child’s achievement can reduce the development of impostor syndrome. It might not be true. Over-praising is also a factor. Studies showed that children who are often praised as being smart, beautiful, intelligent, etc. have more chances of developing impostor syndrome. Whenever these children expose to problems that require more skills than the current skill sets they possess. They start to self-doubting their capabilities. Due to which they think they are not as good as they are praised to be. This is why the process of nurturing places an important role in a child’s future.



Sometimes, it is neither the criticism nor the praising that consider the cause of impostor syndrome. Impostor syndrome can also be developed by how a person thinks. We know, we all have emotional stability. Comparatively, some are more sensitive than others. These types of people are more likely to feel guilt over their success and to start doubting their accomplishments. Such individuals are likely to be more Self-scrutiny and reactive, they are especially keen at questioning their own abilities. 

How To Identify Impostor Syndrome?

Some Symptoms for Imposter syndrome include:

  1. Extreme lack of self-confidence
  2. Anxiety
  3. Comparing yourself to other people
  4. Feelings of insufficiency
  5. Self-doubt
  6. Distrust in own skills and capabilities
  7. Unreasonable fears of the future
  8. Desire for perfection at work

How To Deal With Impostor Syndrome?

treatment impostor syndrome

The only way to deal with impostor syndrome is to ask for help. The person suffering from it hesitate to ask for feedback about their works from others. The fear of getting negative comments on their work. On the other hand, positive feedback gives them a feeling of getting an unworthy comment.

But the individual can cope with impostor syndrome by talking about it. Around 70% of millennials are suffering from it. When the feedback comes, the person which has the same inferiority complex can help relieve the feelings of being a fraud. 

The feeling of inferiority may never be banished entirely but having an open environment to talk about the feelings an individual has can make a big difference. The more open environment we have for these talks the better we can cope with these feelings. 


Impostor syndrome is not a mental abnormality and disease. Neither it is linked to depression but still, it is a serious problem. It can lead to stress, anxiety, unfinished masterpieces that society deserves, and an unhappy Life. If you know someone suffering from Impostor syndrome go and talk to them. It’s the only way to help others. And if you are someone suffering from it go and ask for help. Don’t think you are the only one in this world. There are lots of people like you, just reach them out and remember to ask for help. 

May this article help you in coping with impostor syndrome. It is a great relief even to know that you are not alone having these kinds of feelings. And these feelings at least have a name. If you like this article, please share this to someone who you think is in need for this.

Hi, Everyone! I'm just a simple guy who just wanted to educate others and help them understand Online Privacy and how to protect it. I'm a climate change activist. I love to talk about climate change and data privacy.

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