Why Feeling Like An Impostor Happens To The Best Of Us

feeling like a fake impostor syndrome mask

“Michelle Pfeiffer had been nominated for three Academy Awards and six Golden Globe awards when she described her self-doubts in an interview in 2002.  When asked how she had developed her gifts, Pfeiffer responded, “I still think people will find out that I’m really not very talented.  I’m really not very good.  It’s all been a big sham.”  Kate Winslet, too, has been frank about doubting her talents.  “Sometimes I wake up in the morning before going off to a shoot, and I think, I can’t do this.  I’m a fraud.”

One morning I was talking to a friend on Facebook and I was surprised to hear that they felt like an impostor. I had considered them to be very successful in what they do, a great communicator and very talented. So to hear that someone who I had viewed in that way feels like an impostor too, made me think a lot.

I have felt like an impostor most of my life.

Sometimes we can really work on our lives, our selves, go down the big road of self-discovery and get a wealth of understanding and knowing what we need to do for change or the wisdom we need is within, but still we feel like an impostor.

Why is this?

impostor syndrome

Impostor Syndrome is a term used when people are not able to see the accomplishments they have made in life and attribute them to their own success. (from moodsmith dot com)

One thing to note is I feel that impostor syndrome is not just for people who look like they have succeeded in many areas and feel like they are fraud or just lucky to get where they are and someone will find them out, but also for those of us who have been plodding along, trying to make things work and really struggling to make things work too.

It is because so many of us deep down still feel we are not good enough. It’s never that we are not good enough, it’s more to do with the fact that our early life programming was so deep it can feel like we are pushing a very large boulder up a very steep hill in certain (or many) areas of our lives.

  • If our career is different to what we wanted
  • If our love life is non-existent
  • If our financial status is low
  • If our social life is devoid of… well… people

All of these basic life desires can really hit us hard if we still have the ‘not enough’ voice screaming inside our heads.

And yes, many people write about impostor syndrome as something only deeply successful people experience, those who have written 20 successful books yet still feel like an impostor, or someone who has grown a massively successful business and feels like an impostor, but what about the ordinary Joe Bloggs out there who simply works so hard at what they do and gives the appearance of doing well, but deep down feel they are not. Surely, they have the right to hold their hands up and say ‘Hey I feel like an impostor too’ and isn’t it even harder to feel like an impostor when you have got the ‘outer success’ other people feel an impostor about.

But why do some of the most brilliant, smart, wise, inspirational people and teachers still feel like impostors. Is it as simple as they don’t feel good enough?

AND is impostor syndrome a good thing?

Many people say impostor syndrome is not a good thing, it can be based on a perfectionist attitude and yet others say it is a good thing, in that it helps us develop a healthy and balanced ego, we don’t become arrogant with our success.

But which of these is true or is it both?

For someone with mental health issues like depression, while it may be  beneficial to see the gift in the experience, feeling like an impostor can simply deepen the depressive experience. To feel that no matter what we do we are not enough. That what we do is not enough so not successful aka Impostor or fraud.

Today I did something very unlike me. I shared how I was really feeling on Facebook. The secret inner stuff I had not shared with anyone but my best friend, the hard stuff that hurts so bad. I had gotten to the point where my inner impostor had become so loud that a part of me just said ‘Screw this!. I have had enough pretending I am okay, so I am just going to let it all out and I honestly don’t care what people think of my inner world chaos going on’

This felt like a really deep therapeutic release.

As a writer, podcaster, teacher (in a sense), someone who talks about mental health and empowerment, I had been feeling like a fraud and fake. I had thought, I share all this inner wisdom but here I was dying inside. I was fed up with pretending or having people believe I was a certain somebody. So I let it all out.

My IMPOSTOR was put out there for all to see and I was glad I did.

I cried deep healing tears as I wrote the post to my friends on Facebook. It was painful but worthwhile.

Sometimes we need to voice the impostor out loud. Let the world know how we feel. That while we may have a certain expertise, the self-doubts still plague us. That just because someone is an example, teacher, author, or business person doesn’t  mean they are perfect or have their life together.

Do you ever feel like an impostor?

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Kelly Martin
Kelly Martin

Kelly Martin, author of ‘When Everyone Shines But You’ is a dedicated writer and blogger who fearlessly explores life’s deepest questions. Faced with a decade of profound anxiety and grief following the loss of her father and her best friend Michael, Kelly embarked on a transformative journey guided by mindfulness, and she hasn’t looked back since. Through her insightful writing, engaging podcasts, and inspiring You Tube channel Kelly empowers others to unearth the hidden treasures within their pain, embracing the profound truth that they are ‘enough’ exactly as they are.

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