How to avoid imposter syndrome during the holidays
The phrase, “Imposter Syndrome” is one that has been popular in our culture over the last several years. I would hear about it on social media and various videos, but never fully understood what it really meant. The Journal of Internal Medicine talks about how these types of people have a hard time accepting their accomplishment, and often time do not want to appear as fraud (Brevata et al., 2020). According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, Imposter Syndrome is “a psychological condition that is characterized by persistent doubt concerning one’s abilities or accomplishment accompanied by fear of being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of one’s ongoing success” (Merriam-Webster, 2003).
With the holidays coming up, one may begin to feel the Imposter Syndrome resurfacing around family members and loved ones. The constant fear of walking on eggshells, causes individuals to put up walls around others. The holidays can be both a time of joyous celebration and a time of misery for others. Either way, each person goes into the holidays with a set of expectations. One might find it difficult to receive a compliment about a job promotion and could feel uncomfortable. Research has shown how Imposter Syndrome can cause high levels of stress and anxiety, affecting their overall well-being (Brevata et al., 2020). [CA1] This can also lead to isolation, causing the individual to think they are the only ones struggling.
When it comes to overcoming Imposter Syndrome, it may mean looking at the larger system than just the person. The problem is not always the individual, but their environment or upbringing. Scholars consider outside factors that may have contributed to the negative and critical self-concept (Freenta et., al 2020). This phenomenon can affect anyone regardless of their status, class or overall success. Public figures such as former First Lady Michelle Obama, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, have[CA2] shared struggling with Imposter Syndrome at some point in their lives. Here are some of the ways to overcome imposter syndrome during the holiday season:
- Sharing what is on your mind with others to reduce isolation. If you are celebrating the holidays, you should be around family, and loved ones. Opening up about your fear of appearing as a fraud, may be beneficial.
- Celebrate your successes. What better way to celebrate that new success other than in the presence of people that mean the most to you!
- Letting go of perfectionism and remembering your humanity. You are going to make mistakes and that is ok.
- Sharing your failures, does not make you weak[CA3] . You most likely care highly of what others think of you but sharing about your failures will help relieve some of the pressure you’ve put on yourself.
- Laugh, laugh and laugh. They say laughter is the best medicine. What better time to laugh than in the holidays! Laugh at your favorite Christmas comedy, laugh at your friend’s ugly sweater. Whatever you do, don’t forget to laugh (Weir, 2013).
Bravata, D. M., Watts, S. A., Keefer, A. L., Madhusudhan, D. K., Taylor, K. T., Clark, D. M., Nelson, R. S., Cokley, K. O., & Hagg, H. K. (2019). Prevalence, Predictors, and Treatment of Impostor Syndrome: a Systematic Review. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 35(4). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-019-05364-1
Feenstra, S., Begeny, C. T., Ryan, M. K., Rink, F. A., Stoker, J. I., & Jordan, J. (2020). Contextualizing the Impostor “Syndrome.” Frontiers in Psychology, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.575024
Merriam-Webster. (2018). Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Merriam-Webster.com.https://www.merriam-webster.com/
Weir, K. (2013). Feel like a fraud? Https://Www.apa.org.