Imposter Syndrome

What is it?

Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which one doubts their abilities and talents. It is when you begin to believe that you are not as competent as others think you are. This syndrome creates a persistent fear of being a fraud or not meeting everyone's perceived standards. Some examples of what one might say in a situation in which they are battling imposter syndrome are, "What am I doing here," "I am not good enough," and "I don't belong here." Unfortunately, a large population of people suffers from imposter syndrome. The majority of that population being women of color. This may be caused by the current climate of society. What that means is the increased inequality and the capitalistic mindset many have to adhere to in order to provide and survive. A great example of this is the American college admissions system. Students have to go above and beyond in order to increase their chances of getting into a university. Because of this, there is a lot of competition among students so that they could be the next ones at a prestigious university. Consequently, students are consistently comparing themselves to each other so that they make sure they are on the right path. Unfortunately, this breeds ground for imposter syndrome. Students who are extremely intelligent may feel as if they are very dumb because they have lower test scores, or they didn't gain admission into the college of their choice.

The effects

Imposter syndrome causes extreme psychological distress. It can make you question everything you do in your lifetime. Maybe you feel as if you are not as good a tennis player as everyone thinks. This is the imposter talking, of course, but this very thought can prompt you to quit tennis even though you've played it all your life. Imposter syndrome warps your reality and destroys your perception of yourself. It breeds a unique type of insecurity and could potentially ruin the relationship you have with yourself. Consistently having a fear of failure can stop you from doing the things you once loved to do.

In addition, imposter syndrome can also lead to burnout and stress. This could be

caused by overworking yourself in order to feel better about 'not being good enough.' Overworking can also lead to prioritizing one thing over your whole life. Feeling as though you need to practice tennis 24/7 because your mind is telling you that you suck can make you stop enjoying life.

How to battle it

Like any other thing, battling imposter syndrome can prove to be difficult. This is mainly because it is very psychological. A lot of it is just self-doubt and insecurity that has grown into something more damaging. Some advice is to talk to a mentor. For example, if you find someone else who can mentor you through tennis training, you may get some insight on how to overcome this feeling. Chances are, they've experienced imposter syndrome as well. Another piece of advice is to sit down and think. Think about what your achievements are or why you think this way. Spending time alone with yourself can help you further understand who you are.

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