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DrMorganLevy687 karma

How do you deal with patients that undergo imposter syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is super common. I see imposter syndrome soooo much. It’s interesting because in my experience usually people who are considered conventionally successful experience it the most. Perfectionists might often view their accomplishments as just sheer luck and that they just happened to get to where they are and didn’t really earn it/deserve it based off their own merit. When I work with those individuals, I try to work with them on addressing the underlying low self-esteem and self-worth. We also work on self-confidence. Sometimes these feelings come from childhood and the belief that in order to be loved and accepted by others that they need to succeed and be perfect.

DrMorganLevy595 karma

School avoidance is so common and it so often gets misjudged as a child being defiant and just being a “difficult kid.” I would encourage students to tell someone how you are feeling. It’s so difficult open up, so I would suggest trying to find one adult that you can trust and feel safe with.

My number one piece of advice for teachers is to be open to the signs and listen when a student is struggling. Don’t immediately assume that they are just being defiant for the sake of being defiant. It’s also SO important for teachers and educators to talk about mental health and therapy so that it has less of a stigma in schools. Teachers should reach out to resources on campus (hopefully there are resources – I know many schools are short-staffed with mental health professionals).

To relate this to perfectionism, a lot of high school students are facing an increased amount of pressure to perform well and get straight A’s. I think teachers who encourage a well-rounded approach to life can make a huge impact. I notice a trend on focusing on performance rather than well-being and it’s unfortunate.

Here is a resource list for educators: https://apps.nasponline.org/search-results.aspx?q=school+refusal

Also, to all teachers, I seriously applaud you for all that you are doing – especially during this pandemic.

DrMorganLevy555 karma

If you could sum up the underlying thought or belief that a perfectionist needs to embrace, to go from desperately needing to be perfect... to embracing the imperfect reality of life for a happier existence.. what would it be?

That all we need is to be good enough, not perfect. :) It can feel very freeing to realize that you don't need to be perfect.

DrMorganLevy554 karma

It seems like more and more students are feeling that immense pressure to perform. Another trait that shows up often with perfectionism is avoidance. Because perfectionists often avoid getting things done because they just feel so worried that they aren’t going to do it right or that they will make mistakes. They become frozen and it’s hard for them to move forward.

Something that I teach a lot and I think could be helpful in this situation is the concept of being “good enough.” Yes, of course, sometimes we need to do the very best we can in certain situations, but we don’t need to be that way ALL of the time. And that’s usually how perfectionists feel. With the concept of being good enough, it’s about recognizing how much you actually need to do or where you need to be at in order to still succeed and obtain the goal that you have. For example, sometimes the A- and not the A+ really won’t change our outcomes or goals, but being satisfied with work that is “good enough” for the A- can save us countless hours of work and stress.

Please let me know if this is clear or if I need to explain more! Or if you even don’t agree with it. I have a lot of people who don’t buy into this concept and I’m happy to discuss it more. I hope this helped!

Also, side note, I know being a teacher has been pretty rough these last few years. I hope you’re getting the support that you need.

DrMorganLevy490 karma

That sounds like a huge life change! I’m sorry to hear how it’s impacting you now. Work becomes such a huge part of our identity and we can feel lost when everything is pulled out from under us and we don’t know how to move forward.

While I don’t identity much as a career counselor, something that I think is really important is understanding and recognizing our values. (Not our goals). Once we recognize our values, it becomes easier to make decisions in our life and live in a way that’s in accordance with our values. This can involve looking at the different areas of our life (work/education, relationships, leisure, health, etc) and determining what matters most to us in those areas. I’m going to link to a handout that I’ve found clients of mine have enjoyed using: https://thehappinesstrap.com/upimages/Complete\_Worksheets\_2014.pdf

The fear of failure is so debilitating. I’m sure it doesn’t help that you were in a toxic work environment before. Sometimes people fear failure and they fear that they are going to be exposed for their inadequacies so it keeps them from moving forward. The fear of failure can be a deep-rooted issue, but it could also be because of just being in a toxic environment where you might have been scrutinized constantly.

That voice telling you that you’re going to fail definitely sounds like an annoying inner critic. The best way to address our inner critic is to recognize that it’s sole purpose is to make us feel bad and that it usually comes from the words that we’ve heard from the people in our life. It doesn’t make it true.

I hope this was helpful. Please let me know if I need to clarify anything!