Combating Imposter Syndrome: Feeling Confident in Your Accomplishments

Have you ever experienced this feeling?:

You just accomplished something great. Maybe it’s a new job, or you got an A on that paper you put so much time into, but for some reason you feel you deserve it.

You know you worked hard and you’re happy that you achieved something good, but you still don’t feel like it was you who should have gotten that position, or that good grade or *insert awesome accomplishment here*. You tell yourself that pretty soon, everyone is going to realize that you’re not as talented, as knowledgeable or as worthy of your accomplishments as it may seem you are.

If you’ve ever had these thoughts, you might be struggling with something called imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is defined as “the persistent inability to believe that one's success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one's own efforts or skills”.

Imposter syndrome stems from anxiety and it can completely take over the way you think about yourself, causing you to diminish your own successes until you begin to feel like you’re not successful at all.

But that’s not true! You’ve accomplished so much, it’s just hard for you to see yourself as a successful person because humans inherently compare ourselves to one another. You deserve to be proud of all the things you’ve done. It’s time to start acknowledging that you’re worthy of your own success. It’s not just luck that you’ve accomplished everything you have, it’s due to your own hard work, knowledge, and commitment. It’s time to stop feeling like a fraud.

Here are 5 affirmations to help you combat imposter syndrome and feel confident in who you are:

1. “I deserve this.”

All too often we find ourselves in situations where we can’t seem to convince our mind that we are worthy of what we have. Maybe it’s your new position in a student organization, that job you thought you’d never get, or something as simple as getting a compliment. The truth is, you didn’t get lucky with that position, you got it because you worked hard and you’re qualified for it. Allow yourself to acknowledge that out of all the people who could’ve gotten it, you were the one who did. Good things come your way because you deserve them.

2. “My voice and my ideas are completely unique. I add something to this situation.”

Sometimes it can be hard to recognize our own ideas as interesting or worthy of saying out loud, but 9 times out of 10, your ideas are probably pretty great. It’s easy to tell ourselves that our coworkers or our classmates might have better ideas than we do, and maybe they do have some great ideas, but yours are just as worthy of being heard. Whether you’re giving advice to a friend or suggesting a new plan to your boss, your thoughts might be just what they need in that moment, and only you can provide them with that. Even if your idea isn’t groundbreaking, it’s still worth sharing. Who knows, you might even have the exact idea that will be the start of something amazing, so don’t hold it in!

3. “I am proud of what I have accomplished and what I will accomplish in the future.”

This one seems simple, but it’s an amazing confidence boost. Acknowledging that your accomplishments are something to be proud of helps you to realize that you can continue to accomplish more amazing things in the future. Even though working that summer job as a server (in my case) didn’t seem like anything more than a little extra money at the time, it taught me amazing customer service skills that I can now use for my future career. Besides, let’s be honest, not everyone can deal with five-year-olds throwing their kids meals across a restaurant, so that in itself is something to be proud of. The point is, even if it seems small to you, your accomplishments are all valid and you should honor every one of them.

Pro-tip: make a list of every amazing thing you’ve ever done (or at least as many as you can think of), no matter how big or small. You’ll be surprised how many you can think of and you’ll finish feeling confident and proud!

4. “It’s okay to be nervous.”

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I shy away from opportunities simply because I’m nervous about the outcome. What if I don’t get the job? What if I sound silly? What if I’m unqualified? These are all thoughts that come to my mind far too often, and that’s ok! In fact, it’s normal. We all get nervous sometimes, but the important thing to remember is not to let the nerves steer you away from doing something you truly want to do. Feel the fear, acknowledge those feelings, and then do it anyways! If you mess up, or the outcome isn’t what you anticipated, learn from it and move on. As one of my favorite quotes says “out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength”. You’ll never grow if you don’t take chances.

5. “I can’t be perfect”

You might be experiencing the effects of imposter syndrome because you are a perfectionist. Maybe you’re a little too hard on yourself, and that’s okay, a strong work ethic is something to be admired. But this is only feuling those frustrating thoughts that make up imposter syndrome. Let’s be real, none of us are perfect, and we never will be. The sooner you realize that and start setting more realistic standards for yourself, the sooner you can break free of negative thoughts and start feeling confident and worthy.

The bottom line is: We all feel inferior sometimes, but don’t let that nagging voice in your head tell you that you’re not good enough to go after what you want. You are deserving of all the good things in your life. No more feeling like a fraud. Let go of that inner critic telling you you’re undeserving of good things because you’re not 100% perfect. Instead, when that voice pops into your head, welcome it and let it drive you to accomplish even more.

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