Imposter syndrome: What do Tom Hanks, Natalie Portman and Maya Angelou have in common?

John Doe
Relationship tips

They along with many more successful people have suffered from Imposter syndrome.

Tom Hanks – actor

“No matter what we’ve done, there comes a point when you think; How did I get here? When are they going to discover that I am, in fact, a fraud and take everything away from me?”

Natalie Portman – actress

On how she felt arriving at Harvard as a Freshman in 1999: “I felt like there had been some mistake, that I wasn’t smart enough to be in this company, and that every time I opened my mouth I would have to prove I wasn’t just a dumb actress.”

Maya Angelou – civil rights activist, author, poet and Nobel Laureate

“I have written 11 books, but each time I think: ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody and they’re going to find me out.’”

What is Imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern where individuals doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud,” despite evidence of their competence. It can affect anyone, causing feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.

The Imposter syndrome can affect many areas of our life such as professionally and socially but it can have an especially detrimental effect on our love life.

How do you ascertain you have Imposter syndrome?

If you suffer from Imposter syndrome you will have found yourself wondering if a certain success was due to “pure luck” or because you “tricked them”, or “there wasn’t any worthwhile competition”.

Consequently, successes are not enjoyable because you don’t feel you “own” them and therefore don’t deserve them.

How do you know if the Imposter syndrome is affecting your love life?

Have you ever started dating someone you like and thought, When they get to know me better and who I really am, they will not want me anymore . . .”?

Has someone shown special interest just to you, only for you to think that “ It is because there isn’t someone better looking/ smarter/ funnier around….”?

Do you try hard to keep up an image of being “amazing” and constantly work towards keeping this image up whilst at the same time having a constant worry that this image will be destroyed?

Do you constantly feel like you’re playing a role?

Do you find it hard to show your real self or to be vulnerable in front of a partner?

If you answer yes to these questions, you suffer from Imposter syndrome and you are in urgent need of correcting the situation. Otherwise, you may find yourself constantly trying to keep up an “image” which in reality you already have!

How to combat the symptoms of Imposter syndrome?

Reject the thoughts created by the imposter syndrome and refuse to accept them as truths. Instead, come up with alternative thoughts to replace them. For instance, instead of thinking “My partner deserves to be with someone better,” tell yourself “I am kind, strong, and funny. I have the evidence to prove so! I deserve my partner’s love.”

Perfectionists are usually more prone to imposter syndrome because they never live up to their unrealistic expectations for themselves. So if you have such tendencies, instead of focusing on your flaws or mistakes, focus on areas where you can improve, but at the same time work on being kinder and more accepting towards yourself.

Not trusting your partner with your real self can make it hard for you to form a deep and meaningful connection with them. To build a strong bond with someone, you need to be able to be vulnerable and blemish your image in front of them if need be. So make sure that slowly but surely you start sharing with your love interest small failings, and negative traits you may have and risk stating your true preferences without fear.