Masks and the Impostor Syndrome T-Shirt
For thousands of years, people have been wearing masks either for rituals, ceremonies, ornamentation or for practical purposes.
Humanity has also been wearing other sorts of masks, such as emotional masks, to hide behind because of fear.
What are Emotional Masks
If we are insecure, we might hide behind the mask of name-dropping; If we are unsure of our power, we can hide behind the mask of being a bully or If we don’t think the world loves us, we can hide behind a mask of anger.
One of the most common reasons we wear masks is related to the ‘Impostor Syndrome’, the fear that the world is going to find us out.
What is the Impostor Syndrome
The Impostor Syndrome is a self-fulfilling pattern of thought, in which we consider ourselves to be a fraud. We doubt our own intelligence and talents and think that anyone who believes otherwise is either “being nice” or has somehow been fooled into believing this.
People who struggle with Impostor Syndrome believe that they are undeserving of their achievements and the high esteem in which they are, in fact, generally held. They feel that they aren’t as competent or intelligent as others might think and that soon enough, people will discover the truth about them.
Why do people with imposter syndrome feel like frauds even though there is abundant evidence of their success?
Instead of acknowledging their capabilities as well as their efforts, they often attribute their accomplishments to external or transient causes, such as luck, good timing, or effort that they cannot regularly expend. Whether in the areas of academic achievement or career success, a person can struggle with pressure and personal expectations.
Being caught between the desire to flourish and the fear of achieving success can be painful and paralyzing. That fear may be indicative of specific fears such as the fear of responsibility, making a mistake, uncertainty, or an identity shift.
What to do
Learning to tolerate discomfort and accept imperfection can help overcome the fears that prevent people from striving for success.
Overcoming Impostor Syndrome involves changing a person’s mindset about their own abilities. Imposters feel like they don’t belong, so acknowledging their expertise and accomplishments is key, as is reminding themselves that they earned their place in their academic or professional environment.
One of the greatest fears is that if people show their true selves, the world will say, “Oh, it’s just you.”
But being just them is actually the best and most perfect thing they could ever be.
As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.”
3 practical reasons why imposters should shed their masks.
- The first is to live to their potential. They have to bring all of who they are into what they do.
- The second reason is a relief. It is exhausting to live an inauthentic life.
- The third reason is healing. When imposters wear masks, they carve a piece of themselves out, withholding parts of themselves as unworthy.
No one is born with masks.
People with Impostor Syndrome have to think about the masks they wear and commit to taking them off. They have to hold their gifts out to the world, with no apology, no shame, and no regrets. As the old saying goes, every creature has its rightful place, and in that place it becomes beautiful.
The term impostor phenomenon was introduced in 1978 in the article “The Impostor Phenomenon in High Achieving Women: Dynamics and Therapeutic Intervention” by Dr Pauline R. Clance and Dr Suzanne A. Imes.
The mask in the artwork is the curved beak shape mask worn by doctors in the 17th century to protect themselves from the plague.
The artwork represents the masks we emotionally wear to protect us from fear and from the lies we tell ourselves.
“We all put our masks on to contemplate dreams that tell a lie”
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