I'm not an impostor - iO Donna
Barbara Stefanelli

Barbara Stefanelli (photo by Carlo Furgeri Gilbert).

Lto impostor syndrome. Indeed, following the indications of the Accademia della Crusca on female outings, the impostor.

Because it is proven: the (alleged) syndrome mainly affects women. We talk about that feeling of having reached a position without really deserving it, without having studied enough.

And the fear of being “discovered” at any moment. A time that will, of course, be the beginning of the end.

A wrong sentence, a flaw in the system of skills and self-control, a big or small mistake and here our house of cards stamped at value will be stoned …

When we were recording one of the episodes of Very strongthe podcast series of Corriere della Sera dedicated to the strength of women (understood not only as mental strength and not so much as a derivative of patience-resistance-resilience, but precisely as a psychophysical strength that is not exclusively virile), I was taken aback by the serenity of my travel companion and audio, Greta Privitera, twenty years younger than me, who declared herself “immune”.

Immune from imposter sickness. “Maybe it depends on the fact – was her instinctive explanation – that I have a twin brother, but I never thought I was less and deserved less.”

So what to do with that “inner experience of intellectual falsity”, as it was described in 1978 “the uneasiness” destined in the following years to officially become “the syndrome” due to “paranoid feelings of inadequacy”?

Pauline Clance, psychologist, at the origin of this path of progressive (and punitive) definitions, confessed: if I could go back, I would speak only of “the impostor’s experience”, basically we are faced with “a widespread and human feeling” . No categories, no stigma, goodbye to those at risk.

Not only that – notes Jemima Kelly on the Financial Times analyzing twentieth-century texts and updated research – it seems that how many and how many have “imposter thoughts in the workplace” (imposter workplace thoughts, words from the new millennium, much more cautious) develop special social skills and teamwork skills. And then feeling not perfectly up to it could prove to be a winning motivation to improve, right?

In Malay there is a word, kegemteraanwhich expresses “the joy of stumbling”. The simultaneous feeling of pleasure and discomfort when you know you’ve done something you shouldn’t have. Ask your imaginary twin and go straight.

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