First described by psychologists Suzanne Imes, PhD, and Pauline Rose Clance, PhD, in the 1970s, impostor phenomenon occurs among high achievers who are unable to internalize and accept their success. They often attribute their accomplishments to luck rather than to ability, and fear that others will eventually unmask them as a fraud.
That is from “Feel like a fraud?”
This is one of those phenomenon who when I first learned about it gave me chills for how applicable it was to my life. Being half black and half white, I never really felt or feel like either. As an “other,” I felt like I lacked an identity until I figured out I should make my own. And it is mine to make. In the couple months before starting college (and the entire first year) I wandered aimlessly struggling to figure out how could such smart people be fooled into accepting such an stupid person? Every time I received a promotion, award, or certification, the humiliation running through my head felt terror that any second someone would figure out there was a mistake. Being described as “the smartest person” someone knows floods my mind with more intelligent people than myself and try to figure out why this someone does not know them.
Steve Harvey recently announced the wrong winner for a televised beauty pageant. I often feel like the wrong winner and know the correction is going to be soon discovered.
For the past month this difficult thing has weighed on my shoulders. All of it was in my head from impostor syndrome making me worried about it all crashing down around me because it felt too good to be true. Every step felt too easy. Too lucky. Too facile. It should not be this easy. So when waiting on the next step, I feared THAT would be the one to bring it all down. When something did go wrong, I feared to lose it all, when it was just a little bump. Instead of being pleased how well it was going, I was cowering in fear over this success. I was over-stressed because everything was fine.
Now that it is done, I feel relieved. I no longer have to fear revealing it to friends or family.