Imposter Syndrome 

September 27 2021 | by

DEAR DR. POPCAK: I’ve really been struggling lately as I have been out of work since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. At first I felt as though it was okay because I was carrying too much responsibility work wise, and it was a relief to let some of it go and be able to shift my focus more to other things. In a way it really helped me take a step back and overcome the burnout that I was experiencing at the time. Lately though, it has become very difficult as I am now in a place where I need to get back into work and I have begun the tedious process of applying to new jobs. Throughout this process I’ve been dealing with imposter syndrome and it’s crossing the line into self loathing. I just don’t feel like I’m good enough for any of these jobs or that I’m good enough to even apply. It’s making me question myself, my passion for what I do, and what direction I should even take at this point.


When we struggle with imposter syndrome, it is easy for us to feel as though we are the only one experiencing this feeling. In many ways we truly begin to believe that we are an imposter. In overcoming this experience, however, it’s important to understand that this is not something that only you are experiencing, this is something that a lot of people feel – yet do you view others as imposters? Most likely not, you probably view them based on their strengths; you see them for the things that they’re capable of; the things that they are good at. Just like you recognize the fact that others are not imposters, you must also recognize that you are not an imposter. Instead, acknowledge that imposter syndrome is simply a thing you have to work through, but it is not all or even part of who you are. Use this information to begin to differentiate yourself and your identity from the hurtful thoughts and feelings of imposter syndrome by saying, “this is not me, this is the imposter syndrome talking,” whenever you have hurtful or negative thoughts about yourself.

To differentiate further between helpful and hurtful thoughts, it is beneficial to look at the teachings of Saint Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits. Ignatius describes helpful vs. hurtful thoughts as the difference between consolations and desolations. Consolations are thoughts, feelings, and experiences that are ultimately the language of God. They’re movements of the Holy Spirit that lead us towards meaningfulness, intimacy, and virtue. Whereas desolations are thoughts, feelings, and experiences that Satan uses to lead us away from God and who He created us to be. These desolations are characterized by feelings of powerlessness, isolation, and self pity and/or self indulgence. Imposter syndrome is and will always be a desolation. God reminds you of your strengths, and that He has incredible plans specifically for you. God calls you to use the gifts that He has given you, to be a gift to the world. God will never call you an imposter, He calls you Chosen, Worthy, Beloved. Satan speaks through the messages of imposter syndrome, as he wants to hold you back; he wants to make it harder for you to be who you were created to be; he wants you to feel powerless, to give in to self-pity, and to isolate you from God, from others, and especially from your purpose. The next time you experience the desolation of imposter syndrome, ask yourself, “What is God calling me to,” and take the steps necessary to seek meaningfulness, intimacy, and virtue in that moment.

Updated on September 17 2021