Imposter Syndrome

Image from lizmartinresearch.wordpress.com.

I used to think imposter syndrome was when someone actually pretended to be someone they weren’t.  Kind of a crazy person, like people who tell everyone they are someone they aren’t. That kind of bizarre.

When I started residency, I remember someone talking at our orientation about how many of us will experience some degree of imposter syndrome.

And no, we aren’t just all crazy people pretending to be doctors. We just think we are.

Imposter syndrome is defined as a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments.  This means that despite objective evidence of competence, the individual is convinced that they are really a fraud and don’t deserve the success or accomplishments they have.  They can dismiss it as luck, bad judgement and often expect to one day be found out.

I found this graph kind of helpful. Except that I don’t see myself being that high on the how good you are scale to meet Imposter Syndrome criteria, which is kind of diagnostic. Image from saalonmuyo.wordpress.com.

Props to a combination of Wikipedia, and Webster’s Dictionary for helping me out with that explaination.

Today’s writing prompt from the Daily Post asks the question, “Are you full of confidence or have you ever suffered from imposter syndrome?”

My answer is that I experience imposter syndrome all the way. I think my photo could be under the definition.

Okay, I do have some confidence in some things.  Like public speaking (weird, I know), having difficult conversations with people, cooking.

But, I tend towards imposter syndrome and it is a constant struggle.

At least, I think I do based on what people tell me and some objective evidence.

Gosh, I even have impostor syndrome about my impostor syndrome.

Image from informedjourney.com.

I got through med school.  I know I passed all of my licensing exams.  I passed them with scores well above the mean.  I get consistent positive feedback.  I work hard.

Nonetheless, I still get a voice in the back of my head that says that one day they will figure me out.  That I am just lucky that nothing terrible has happened when I am on call or in charge. That I must have charmed my way into doing well.

Like anyone, I love getting positive feedback.  It is nice.  But, anything that addresses things I think I am still not good enough at makes me uncomfortable.

I know it is normal and even healthy to have a reasonable level of self-doubt. It helps keep you sharp. It keeps you from becoming complacent. It protects me from going all crazy and trying to do surgery on my own like Christina Yang.

And even beyond medicine, I have a hard time processing the fact that I am an adult.  A married adult with an apartment and car and bills  and responsibilities.  It is not what I thought it would be, therefore, it can’t be real.

Image from cheezburger.com.

There is a lot of stuff out there about imposter syndrome.  Especially in professionally women.  Apparently, I’m not the only one.

That being said, I think we make much out of it.  More than we probably should.  Awareness is good, but blaming that for failures is a whole other issue.  And we put getting over it too much on ourselves too.

It isn’t of God.  The doubts, the fear, the worry.  None of it.

It is of man and my reliance on self instead of on God.

For me, it isn’t just a confidence in me issue.  It is a confidence in God and His provision issue.

At least, I’m not alone in any of my crazy.

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13 thoughts on “Imposter Syndrome

  1. article is quite interesting and hopefully true happiness rays began to warm the hearts of us all, when we can share it with sincerity. Greetings from Gede Prama 🙂

  2. I’ve been practicing for almost 10 years and I still sometimes wonder when someone is going to come to my office and say, “I’m sorry, we made a mistake.” I think having a little bit of imposter syndrome is normal.

  3. Pingback: Here I Come | Views Splash!

  4. This is more common than you would think. Most people who care have experienced this at some time in their career. I worked for a female executive back in the 80s when that was an accomplishment in itself, who suffered from it a lot. Sometimes it made her second guess her decisions.

  5. I completely relate to that bear meme, and this whole post, minus the being a doctor part. But I seriously don’t feel like I’m an actual adult with a real job, but there isn’t any real reason for me to feel that way.

  6. Pingback: Daily Prompt: The Great Pretender | Nola Roots, Texas Heart

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