- Some people feel like they have fooled everyone into thinking they are smarter or more competent than they really are, despite consistently performing well and garnering praise.
- This feeling of being an impostor is related to but not fully explained by depression, social anxiety and low self-esteem. It may be more common in women.
- To break the cycle of self-doubt and self-sabotage, people must learn how to give themselves credit for their achievements as well as take constructive criticism about their mistakes and failures.
“That was a really impressive exam. Why don’t you write your dissertation on that subject? Let’s set up an appointment for you to come by, and we’ll talk about it,” said the professor to Nina after she completed a test.
Unfortunately, the up-and-coming mathematician was unable to take in and enjoy the compliment. Rather her head was full of thoughts such as “What a nice man, and he asked me such easy test questions. That was a close call! Now I’ve got to make sure not to talk shop with him because then he’ll realize that I faked it. He’ll see right through me.” By the time Nina had finished going through her well-worn mental routine, she realized that there was no way she was going to accept her professor’s offer.
This article was originally published with the title Great Pretenders.