Have you ever thought you had imposter syndrome? It is a relatively newer phenomenon that many people struggle with that can impact their relationships, socializing, and self-esteem.

Arlin Cuncic describes it like this: “…imposter syndrome is the experience of feeling like a phony—you feel as though at any moment you are going to be found out as a fraud—like you don’t belong where you are, and you only got there through dumb luck. It can affect anyone no matter their social status, work background, skill level, or degree of expertise.”

How do you know if you have imposter syndrome?

You feel like a phony

If you worry about being found out as a fraud and feel that you’re less than what most people think you are, you may be struggling with it.

You struggle with perfectionism

Part of being an imposter is the feeling that you have to cover up your imperfections and mask your flaws in order to not be known or seen by others. Presenting as “perfect” is protective from being too vulnerable.

You have shame issues

Shame is a big issue for many people. This toxic thinking can fuel your imposter syndrome. Here’s more info about shame based thinking.

You tend to push people away

Because of the fear of being known and vulnerable with others, you may keep others at an arms length.

You’re sensitive to criticism

The root of being sensitive to criticism is that you fear being judged and rejected by others. If someone is criticizing you, it means they are seeing your flaws. So this means you are not being successful at being an imposter and can trigger a lot of fear and shame.

You reject compliments

Often times a person with imposter syndrome struggles with people seeing the good and the bad of who they are. They have toxic shame thoughts that makes it hard to accept a compliment due to their low self-esteem issues.

You have social anxiety

Due to not wanting anyone to see the real you and the fear of being known, a person will often have social anxiety as part of the fear being found out.

Here’s 3 tips if you struggle with imposter syndrome

Be vulnerable and authentic

This seems like the last thing you want to do when you struggle with the fear of being know, but it’s a great way to stretch and grow. When you open up and can be real with others, you will usually realize that it’s okay. You will learn that you don’t have to be an imposter because people are accepting and loving you even when they know the real you.

Fight the lies with the truth

When you feel the need to be an imposter, it’s because you’re believing lies more than the truth. When you fight the lies with truth, you’ll be able to discount the intensity of the lies and stay rooted in what is real.

Stop the toxic spirally thoughts

When the spiral is revving up, it’s important to catch it before it gets too big. Picture a stop sign and set a firm boundary with yourself to stop. Focus on what is actually real and true and dismiss the anxious thoughts.

More people that you think struggle with feeling like an imposter. If you’re one of them, try out these ways to fight it and lean into being the real you that God made you to be!