Many people struggle with internalizing their successes. We attribute the success to external factors, say that "it was given to me" rather than it was earned, or claim that there is more that could’ve been done to justify responsibility. Via this reasoning, achievements are made to feel less satisfying.
Imposter syndrome comes from having a part of your mind tell you that you should be someone else that doesn't reflect this sense of self or trying to be something else.
This internal conflict happens because the mind has multiple producers of thoughts that operate of their own accord. On particular days, some thoughts arise more than the other.
Imposter syndrome refers to the overthinking that takes place during the days where a "I should be..." thought producer is producing more than the "I am happy being..." one. That is why people that suffer from imposter syndrome think that they are "behind the curve”, "not good enough", or "not deserving of success".
There are times where people have a low sense of worth and they will use external things that elevate their sense of worth. If they feel that they are not good enough, then this idea will not go away until they will use an external things that make them feel good enough.
For example, lets analyze what happens when someone with imposter syndrome is paid a compliment.
One thought producer generates a thought appreciating the compliment. At the same time, another thought machine produces a thought that says that the compliment was a lie. This is accompanied by a feeling of shame.
As a result of these two opposing thoughts, both thoughts either nullify each other or one overwhelms the other. If the "I'm ugly" thought producer is overactive, then a compliment that was suppose to brighten your day turns into something that ruins your day.
Some questions to ask yourself to diagnose these thought producers:
To feel like a fraud/imposter, you need to believe that you are not who you are, and these beliefs need to come from somewhere. The origin of these beliefs can “set the bar” and create judgements respective to the “bar,” positive or negative.
Imposter syndrome robs you of the satisfaction of living and being who you want to be. It can also lead you to a path where you constantly feel “not good enough”. Moreover, you might end up chasing a path that does not make you happy for who you are. The feeling that you are not good enough becomes a norm and stops hurting because it is now a fact to your mind.