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What Is Imposter Syndrome and How Can We Overcome It?

Sometimes I feel like a fraud. Putting on these masks while battling lupus can be exhausting.

In a world where you're expected to be perfect, it's easy to feel like an imposter. Do you ever feel like you're not good enough? Like everything you do is a show just to get through the day. If so, you're not alone. In fact, there's a name for it: "imposter syndrome."

What is imposter syndrome?

It’s a feeling that you don't belong and that everything you do is just to convince people of your value. Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments and instead constantly feel like they don't belong. It can be incredibly damaging for those who suffer from it, making them question themselves and their abilities at every turn.

Imposter syndrome is something that many people struggle with, but it can be especially difficult for those of us with lupus. For people with lupus, who may feel like they're "faking it" every time they go out in public or leave the house, imposter syndrome can be an even bigger problem than it is for other people. When combined with other issues related to lupus, like anxiety or depression, imposter syndrome can become even more difficult to manage.

Not feeling good enough

It is no secret lupus affects more than just your health. It also affects your social life and career goals. When you're living with lupus, it can be hard to feel like you're good enough. You may feel like everyone around you is doing and achieving more than you. Sometimes you may even think that people are judging you because you "don’t look sick."

This can be incredibly isolating. The symptoms of lupus can make you feel like you're alone in your struggle, and the fact that it's hard for people to understand what you're going through may make it even harder to break out of feeling like an imposter. But there are ways to fight back against imposter syndrome, even if it feels like a losing battle.

Tips to beat imposter syndrome

If you feel like an imposter, don't worry there are ways to fight back against that self-doubt. Let’s talk about some tips that I’ve used for overcoming imposter syndrome.

1. Assess where the imposter syndrome might be coming from

Are there specific situations or events that trigger it? Are you experiencing stress from work or school? Do you feel pressure from family members or friends about how much time you spend working on your health condition? As I have dealt with feeling less than it was important to me to understand what triggered my feelings of inadequacy in order to deal with them.

2. Identify triggers

Once I identified what's triggering the imposter syndrome for ME, I tried to identify ways to combat those triggers as best as possible. For me, that looked like taking a break from social media platforms when they became overwhelming and using meditation to combat stress.

3. Set expectations

I had to set realistic expectations for myself (and others). It became a goal of mine not to overdo it and create more issues.

4. Focus on what you can control

Finally, I had to learn to focus on what I could control. Changing the focus assisted me in seeing and honoring my limitations. This helped me to then control the things that were in my reach.

Gentle reminders for lupus warriors

  • Remember that no one has all the answers, and no one knows exactly what you're going through. You are not alone in this!
  • Remember that you don't have to prove anything to anyone else except yourself. You do not have to compare yourself to other people!
  • No one can tell you what your limits are (even if they seem like they know better). Only YOU know what your limits are!
  • Make it your goal to talk about how you feel. This can help keep you from feeling like an imposter and can also help other people understand what it's like living with lupus!

In conclusion, lupus can be tricky disease to live with. It's not just the physical pain and discomfort, it's also the emotional burden of feeling like you're not good enough, or not capable enough, to do what you need to do. You can beat the unfounded feelings of self-doubt. Talking to friends and family or with a professional therapist to help create some coping strategies can be very helpful.

Your success as you battle lupus does not require perfection. I have found that offering myself kindness and compassion instead of judgement and self-doubt helped me to keep a realistic perspective that helped me grow in my lupus journey.

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