Guest Blog: Imposter Syndrome

By Paul Blezard

Imposter. Fraud. Phoney. Charlatan. Cheat. All highly emotive nouns that make the blood run a little colder when we think of them as applied to ourselves. And who amongst us hasn’t ever been confronted with our inner fraud at some time?

And I mean all of us, man, woman, adult or child. At some stage we are all caught out in the lie, the infidelity, the social untruth or even the created mythology of self that gets us through the day or makes life a little shinier.

I would contend that in any sentient person is a little of the fraud. Sometimes it manifests as the concept of hope, the wish fulfilment that keeps us going, the ‘if I did win the lottery’ delusion. Sometimes it is merely the camouflage of good cosmetics or a well-cut suit that helps us present an idealised version of ourselves to the world.

It doesn’t have to be the profound – and arguably much more clever – grand gesture fraud of, say Frank Abagnale Jnr as played by Leonardo di Caprio in the film “Catch Me if You Can,” but is sometimes the quieter ‘am I worthy?’ question, as posed by ‘Sarah’ in her Group Therapy confession.

Of course the quick and dirty answer to ‘am I worthy?’ would be ‘well, if you have to ask.’ But perhaps it is more interesting to twist that to suggest that the act of asking keeps us aware of our fraudulent potential. Whether it then steers us toward the straight and narrow is of course a matter of personal choice. The fact that Sarah is even thinking about it, let alone asking the question of herself, to my mind makes her a much more interesting human. For her not to have done so would have rendered her merely a successful and self-satisfied drone.

Fundamentally I believe that that those who are convinced that they have not a fraudulent bone in their bodies are delusional, that it is part of us all to want to convince anyone, ourselves especially, that we are being the best we can be, responding to the aspirational quality of our illusory creation.

Jen Kerrison warned the panel against offering advice to the confessor and she was right to do so, because there is a little of ‘Sarah’ in all of us, we are all frauds to a greater or lesser extent, it is part of the universal human condition. And pots should never advise kettles.

LISTEN: Imposter Syndrome Podcast

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