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17 Genius Tips For Dealing With Impostor Syndrome

FYI, you're not a fraud.

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We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community and a few experts to share the best ways to deal with impostor syndrome.

Impostor syndrome is how experts typically refer to the persistent belief that you got to where you are not through your own abilities or hard work, but through luck and basically tricking people into thinking you're better than you are.

So whether you feel like a fraud at work, at school, or just in life, here are some tips for feeling like you have your shit together and owning it.

1. Don't compare your insides to someone else's outsides.

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Fact: The person you think has their shit together probably feels like a total impostor sometimes too, clinical psychologist Andrea Bonior, Ph.D., tells BuzzFeed Health. No matter how confident someone seems or how well they appear to fit their role, you have no way of knowing that they're not dealing with the same doubts you are. "It's never going to be a valid comparison, so don't get caught up in it," says Bonior.

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2. Accept that you're not 100% qualified to be where you are — and that's OK.

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Insider secret: No one is! But people dealing with impostor syndrome put a lot of pressure on themselves to know how to do everything, Valerie Young, Ed.D., author of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It, tells BuzzFeed Health. A big reason you feel like you're ~faking it~ is because the standards you set for being qualified are way too high. So take a second to remember that no one is perfect at their job — including you — and no one expects you to be.

3. Strike a power pose.

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"A lot of times we adopt sort of timid body language that reflects back that we're unsure of ourselves," says Bonior. "When you adopt a more powerful stance, that can really help you feel more confident." Try opening up your body a little more, keeping your shoulders back, and making eye contact.

4. Keep a file or a list of good things people have said about you and your work.

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"I have a list of the good things people have said about me (ever) taped to my closet door. On bad days I remind myself that any of those things could be equally as true as my self-doubt."

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5. Ask yourself, "What would I say if my best friends came up to me voicing the same worries I have?"

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"If I can see the best in them and be kind to them, why can't I do the same for me? That helps."

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6. Be open about how you feel, because chances are, other people feel the same way.

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The first step of dealing with impostor syndrome is talking about it and realizing that other people are experiencing it too — even the people who seem to have it all together. "It's like, 'Wait a second, you feel like a fraud? You're not a fraud at all, you're the smartest person I know,'" says Bonior. And chances are they'll say the same about you.

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7. Style yourself in a way that makes you feel empowered AF.

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"Usually that's some dramatic eyeliner or clothing that flatters me. I find that knowing a few things that make me feel confident go a long way in a time of need. I suggest a little bag of things that will make you feel powerful so you can break one out when you're in doubt."

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8. See what happens when you let yourself accept compliments.

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It seems really simple, but a big part of impostor syndrome is the inability to internalize your own accomplishments as real and valid, says Bonior. So the more you stop dismissing compliments and praise, the easier it will be to actually believe them.

9. Find little things you feel like a master at, even when you feel like an impostor doing everything else.

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"I become very adept at the smaller, more menial tasks that no one else around the office wants to do (e.g. computer stuff). When the day comes that I'm discovered to be a sham, I figure the meeting will go like this:

Boss: Well, we've finally discovered that you totally suck at what you do. Clean out your desk.

Me: But if you do that, who'll fix the printer when it starts acting up?

A quiet panic falls over the room.

Boss: OK, you can stay."

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10. Get out of your head a little bit by doing things that have nothing to do with your work.

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Volunteer work is a great option. "A lot of the time with impostor syndrome, you're stuck in your head and define yourself by your accomplishments. Doing service type stuff puts you more in the framework of feeling good about what you do bring to the world," says Bonior.

11. Just go ahead and do before you can convince yourself you're not qualified to.

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"Sometimes, especially when I feel like a complete fake, I have to just make myself do it. It's super uncomfortable at first, but I sometimes forget that discomfort right off or I'll be proud of myself afterward. It doesn't always work, but it does for simple situations."

—CJ Dermody-Williams, Facebook

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12. Practice talking about your accomplishments with friends and family.

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Taking ownership of all the amazing shit you've done is important, but if you're used to chalking it up to luck, it can feel super uncomfortable. Instead, Bonior suggests bragging to your loved ones. You can even preface it with something like, "Hey, I tend to be harder on myself than I should, so I'd love to talk about this thing I did that I'm really proud of."

"Enlisting somebody that you trust, someone that wants to be your cheerleader as well, can help create a space where you can feel more comfortable shining," says Bonior.

13. Try not to freak out when you don't immediately pick up on something new.

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Chances are, when you're having a hard time, your first thought is something along the lines of, "Wow, I can't do this. I don't deserve to be here. I'm a fraud." But you need to train yourself to react differently and not be so damn hard on yourself, says Young. Instead, you should be thinking, "Here's an area I need to work on and get better."

"It becomes less about you and who you are or are not as a person, and becomes an opportunity to learn and grow," says Young.

15. Ask for help and advice often.

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A lot of people with impostor syndrome have convinced themselves that admitting they need help means outing themselves as a fraud, says Young. Which, not true. Normalize using a support system — no one can do everything themselves.

16. Fake it 'til you make it, because eventually you won't feel like you're faking anymore.

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Real talk: A lot of these tips have been about changing the way you think — and that's because there's no magic thing you can do to not feel like an impostor anymore, says Young. But here's the thing — if you act like you believe in those thoughts, you'll start to believe it over time. "You have to change how you think, and then how you behave, and then the feelings will catch up," says Young.

17. Take a deep breath and...just keep doing what you're doing.

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"Even if you fail or don't meet expectations, you're still receiving training in a skill you're trying to master. Just keep working at it. That can only help and never hurt."

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