How marginalized people can overcome imposter syndrome

Studies show it, anecdotes illustrate it, and entire movements are built around it: When it comes to professional and even personal success, historically marginalized people — women, racial minorities, sexual minorities, people with disabilities, and others — are judged negatively for their strengths.

Whether it’s women being punished for academic success or people of color being judged less competent than their less-qualified white peers, discrimination continues to hamper us, from the classroom to the boardroom.

With so many people around us questioning our worth, it can be hard for women and historically marginalized people to maintain confidence in ourselves, even though we work our butts off and know we’re just as capable as the “good ol’ boys.” This, in turn, can lead to imposter syndrome: The persistent feeling that we don’t really deserve our success or that we’re just “faking it.”

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome isn’t an actual psychological diagnosis, it’s more a pattern of thinking. And it’s not just women and marginalized people who feel like frauds: People from every demographic suffer from imposter syndrome.

But for women and historically marginalized people, imposter syndrome can be particularly lethal, amplifying discriminatory messages we continue to receive in the workplace: subtle, daily reminders that others consider us “less-than” or that our accomplishments aren’t really ours.

Having others doubt our abilities to the point that we doubt ourselves can really do a number on our mental health, lowering self-confidence and hampering professional success. It’s truly unfair that marginalized people in particular have to deal with a history of discrimination that isn’t our fault. While it’s not our responsibility to change the world, we can change how we value ourselves. And by kicking our own imposter syndrome to the curb, we can level the playing field for others.

Fighting imposter syndrome starts by recognizing that negative self-evaluations just aren’t true, and flipping that script to turn our perceived weaknesses into strengths. Next time you’re plagued with self-doubt, here are a few tips.

Read the full article at Talkspace.

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