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How to deal with Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome in a dog

The weekend is here, and I just wanted to try and make this a habit. Scribbling down something on a Friday night. For some reason, I never seem to be sleepy on Friday nights. Is it the same for you, my dear reader?

Okay, remember that time when you did something great and you were super proud of yourself? You totally felt like you were on top of the world. There is nothing you cannot do and nothing you cannot achieve. Confidence? That's your middle name! If you relate to everything so far, please do not read further. You are not part of the club. Thank you for visiting. Bye. (I am kidding. Please don't go. Read my blog even if you don't relate to it. I love you?)

Still here? Welcome to the Imposter club. It is an exclusive club over which I will preside for the duration of this blog. (Woohoo, I am a club president!)

Imposter Syndrome. I am sure that everyone struggles with this at some point or other in their lives, either personally or professionally. I know I have! The feeling that you are just not as good as others perceive you to be? A nagging sense of guilt that you are getting more than you deserve. Even worse? The fear that you are going to be exposed for a fraud, an imposter one day!

How to overcome Imposter Syndrome?


Seriously, I am asking you. Do you know how?

If you are feeling cheated, don't be so hasty. The title was not a clickbait, I promise. I will share some great tips and pointers that I stole (do NOT read any words in red!) collected from various sources and my personal experiences.

1. Accepting compliments

As an expert at feeling like an imposter myself, I find it really hard to accept compliments from others. It used to be even harder a couple of years back when I had literally zero to negative self-esteem. I would argue with the person giving compliments and prove why the compliment did not apply to me.

Some nice person: "You look pretty!"

Me: "It is because of the new dress. Oh, it is also because I just showered. Or, maybe it is the lighting?" (All the while thinking the complimenter is just being nice.)

Another nice person: "Hey, I liked your blog!" (low-key hoping that this nice person would be you?)

Me: It is just okay, but thanks!

COME ON! Just say "Thank you" without invalidating the compliments! It is our insecurities that compels us to argue when we are lauded. I get that. But what we are essentially doing is doubting the sincerity of the nice persons who are appreciating you. It is not a very nice thing to do. Not to ourselves, nor to them.

Compliment Hack: If you find it uncomfortable to receive compliments, if you find it awkward to reply, I have an easy hack for you. Compliment yourself shamelessly. "You are pretty." "I know right? Sometimes, I am astounded at my own beauty. Why aren't people writing poems about me?" Guaranteed: Loss of compliments and maybe even friends.

What can we do? We cannot get rid of the imposter feeling just because we want to on one fine day. However, we can learn to accept compliments and try to believe them. Practice makes perfect and who knows? Maybe one day, we would start to accept the compliments for real. For example, if you tell me that you like my blog now, I will say: Will you marry me?

2. Toning down the comparisons

You are doing well in your life. Oh, look! Sharmaji ka beta* is doing even better!

Now, we cannot really escape from the million comparisons that people around us make. It is impossible to. Whatever you do in life, there is going to be someone better than you. So, what is the point in comparing yourselves to others?

Let me make that point a bit clearer. Mark Zuckerburg is cool for building Facebook, but does he come close to Elon Musk? No one is better than Elon Musk, but he is not going to be reading my blog, and even if he does, he would not relate, so I think my point of someone always being better than you (the reader) remains valid.

Better people exist. That doesn't mean you are a fraud. Or that you are not enough.

3. You are your best friend ;)

I don't know if it holds true for everyone, but I take a great effort to be good to my friends. Very non-judgemental, completely supportive and incredibly proud of their achievements, big or small. But, I am super mean to one person. I criticize her for the smallest mistakes, I downplay her accomplishments and I NEVER make her feel good about herself. Okay, not never maybe. Almost never. Sounds cruel?

You may have already guessed who she is. She is me.

Why do we reserve all our niceness for others? Why can't we spare some for ourselves? Is it so hard to pat yourself on the back and say "Good job"? (Oh, I just tried patting myself and I think I may have sprained my hand. Why God Why!?)

The point being, put yourself in your best friend's shoes. Imagine you are your best friend. And now, judge yourself like you would have judged your friend. Imagine your achievements are your friend's achievements. Would you call him/her/them an imposter? I bet you won't. I bet that you would be a whole lot kinder.

No more tips, suggest some?

In many ways, this blog is for me as much as it is for you guys. I am trying to practice everything I preached, and I am making progress - just a little everyday. Snail's pace, but hey, some progress is better than none!

Alright, I am done. I think this has turned out to be the longest blog I have written here. If you read so far, why don't you lift your lazy a** and do some work? Comment some more ways you can leave your imposter syndrome behind. Seriously, do it.

*Sharmaji ka beta - Sharmaji's son. A common slang in Hindi to refer to the smarter, better neighbour's son.

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