What is imposter syndrome? Imposter syndrome is most commonly used in the context of career aspirations. It indicates “the condition of feeling anxious and not experiencing success internally, despite being high-performing in external, objective ways” (BetterUp, 2023). However, what about imposter syndrome in the context of accepting compliments, truly knowing that you’re beautiful, and truly knowing that you’re a worthwhile person?
For example, has someone ever told you that you look good today, or maybe even several people did. But, deep down inside, you didn’t believe them. Maybe you thought to yourself, “Well, that person over there looks even better.”
Why do these thoughts happen? Why do we have such a hard time accepting compliments and believing that we embody positive qualities and features?
Suzie Pileggi Pawelski, PhD, describes how we often “deflect” compliments to avoid spotlight and also to prevent disappointment in the future – disappointment in oneself or disappointing the compliment giver. Sometimes, we can process compliments as expectations. For example, say someone says, “You’re so funny!” when you tell a great joke. You might think to yourself, “Oh, will they expect me to be funny the next time and the next?” Or if someone says, “You’re so pretty!” You might think, “But, I’m wearing makeup. Would they think the same thing if they saw me without it?”
But, what if you’re just beautiful, or you truly just have a wonderful and vibrant personality? It’s so easy to get caught up in the “What ifs” instead of living in the moment. There are times when we feel pressured to be a certain way all of the time. But, these situations are not healthy. If someone is making you feel like you need to look or be a certain way all of the time, that is not healthy.
You are always you, and someone who loves you will always acknowledge that whether you’re having a breakout, a down day, or you’re weight fluctuates. No matter what’s going on, you are not an imposter. You are you, and the person is complimenting what they perceive which actually brings us to our next point.
Who we are is not reliant upon the perceptions of others, good or bad. You have to decide how you perceive yourself. This is called self-image, and it can easily fluctuate. But, from day to day, no matter how you feel, remember you are you. Remember or find the things that make you “YOU” because those things don’t change.
Photocred: Health Enhancement