Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

The Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Love Your Impostor Syndrome


photo courtesy of Brian Chan, Unsplash, CC

photo courtesy of Brian Chan, Unsplash, CC

As you may have heard, ahem, I have written a book that will be released next month, June 2016. I’m noticing just a teensy weensy bit of impostor syndrome.

Well, OK, maybe it’s not so teensy weensy. Possibly because it’s infused with generous amounts of fear: of failure, success, overwhelm, and, oh, utter humiliation and devastation for now and all eternity.

Because I know that you also have bouts of the syndrome, affectionately known as IMPS, it occurred to me that there must be some benefits. Right? Why would so many of us be afflicted if there weren’t something to gain?

So, here it is. My list of the top ten reasons why you should love your IMPS:

10. You can avoid the pressure and expectations that come with being seen as a very smart (not to mention gifted) person.

9. You’re protected from ever having to produce anything of note.

8. You don’t have to worry about being overwhelmed because no one will be paying attention to you and that’s the way your introverted soul likes it.

7. You might actually be an impostor so you’re not embarrassing yourself by admitting it now.

6. In a past life, you were burned at the stake for being brilliant, and that was kind of painful so you’d rather not repeat it.

5. Family members like you better when you’re not so uppity.

4. You were bullied in school for showing your intellectual enthusiasm so you decided that  mediocrity was a safe alternative.

3. You grew up with narcissistic parents and will avoid being like them — at all costs.

2. Your need to be fair and equitable to all humans overwhelms the evidence that you might be smarter than many of them.

1. People like you because you’re less annoying so they bring you tuna casseroles and cupcakes when you’re sick.

So, the next time you go out and write your book or speak your mind or believe that you’re gifted in spite of your fears of utter humiliation and devastation for all eternity, remember to love your IMPS.

And yourself.


To my dearest bloggEEs: Tell us about your experiences with impostor syndrome. What’s it like for you? What helps? And, thank you. When we meet? I’ll bring the cupcakes.


Author: Paula Prober

I'm a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in counseling gifted adults and consulting with parents of gifted children. The label "gifted" is often controversial and confusing. I use the metaphor of the rainforest to describe this population. Like the rainforest, these individuals are quite complex, highly sensitive, intense, multi-layered, and misunderstood. They're also curious, idealistic, highly intelligent, creative, perfectionistic, and they love learning. I've been an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I've written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, and Advanced Development Journal. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, was released in June 2016 by GHF Press and is available on Amazon or at your independent bookstore. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists, was released in June 2019.

33 thoughts on “The Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Love Your Impostor Syndrome

  1. Reblogged this on helenjnoble and commented:
    Excellent post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a provocative piece. I like it! This morning I was mulling over the “bright side/dark side” reality of many “disorders” or “behaviors,” and I think there is something to be said for impostor syndrome being, for G/2E people, a super-charged gut check. A little bit of humility and mindful contemplation of one’s actions and consequences is healthy for anyone, but those of us with strong OEs and intensities can take it too far and BOOM — trouble. Learning to accept and manage it is probably the healthiest path forward.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am SO eager to read “Your Rainforest Mind”. What an exciting time for you and all your friends and readers! You’ll never know how many people you’ve touched and helped. Love from one of the rainforest creatures…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This touched me greatly this morning. Perfect timing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. But doesn’t acknowledging IMPS take away some of its authority and power? Maybe I just want to believe? Good luck with your book it’s going to be amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Paula, thank you for your honesty about your feelings with the imminence of your book release.
    I LOVE the IMPS list and it really makes me smile. Been there done that kind of smile!
    You go girl! You rock!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The mechanisms we use to protect ourselves are often the ones that hold us back later in life. And the need to protect ourselves stems from prescient wisdom. This is something I remind myself of when I’m being hard on myself. Your post brought those thoughts and feelings to the forefront today. Always a good thing. Thank you. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. So familiar that gut wrenching feeling before the release of something we create with all our mind /heart/being, only to hesitate, wondering, catastrophizing, quaking in our boots. Your courage is legendary in my eyes, Paula, & I appreciate your willingness to say it out loud more than I can say. I feel that the ability to see and feel so keenly and from so many critical aspects can easily be misconstrued as a reason to hold back, hesitate, push away. I’m learning that it’s all a gift that takes time to recognize, admire and after much (much!) practice can we share the knowledge. Sending much positive support for the forthcoming book, Paula, & loads of encouragement to us all to bring these misunderstood truths to those who can appreciate the depth of the sensitivity and intensity so muvh a part of the message and ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, agingpotential. Love this: “I feel that the ability to see and feel so keenly and from so many critical aspects can easily be misconstrued as a reason to hold back, hesitate, push away. I’m learning that it’s all a gift that takes time to recognize, admire and after much (much!) practice can we share the knowledge.”


  9. Hey Paula wow what a luminous piece of writing yet again. It rings true for me completely.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ha! I too was burned at the stake in a past life! Glad you’re reminded me of that one. I was just about to do something amazing! WHEW. I’ll crawl under my rock again safe and ….well,safe.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Thank you! Yet again just what I needed.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for the great post! 3, 5 and 7 here. And #1, too, if I’m really being honest. I couldn’t agree more with Jade. I had to protect myself from my mom and sister. Now that I have a more healthy (if somewhat distant) relationship with both, those old habits are still so hard to break. I’m always ready for someone to mock me. Or ask the “why is it that you know EVERYTHING?” question that my family can’t seem to keep themselves from asking. My sister loves to point out that “normal” people just don’t know things like “that.” Somehow, no-one outside my family ever does that to me. The braver I get, the more I find that there are lots of people out there who accept me for who and how I am. And the more able I am to understand that many of the rest are just reflecting their own insecurities. Baby steps…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well said, Sarah. I’m sure others will relate. When there’s family trauma, it’s important to be gentle with yourself. Baby steps, yes!


    • Sarah, What you have said, is not only heart-breaking that you receive so little internal support – but so familiar in the world in general. This past weekend I was visiting with friends and I had to remind them, that we have self-selected our fellow like-minded people. Others who can grasp our quick jumps from topic to topic and broad expertise on a variety of interests. That’s why others, not within our circle often get confused and turned off by us.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. This really made me laugh (always good). Yes, lots of secondary gain from IMPS. Loving all the book teasers, too. 🙂 Thank you for writing!


  14. Rrrrrrrrr!
    My imposter syndrome is mad that I read this! It makes me want to be sure that my two gifted little dudes don’t let their own ISs take over. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  15. O this is balm for a chaotic day, ups, dwns, worried I am gifted…worried I’m not! Thank you Paula, this really brightened my evening. =) ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: The Pressure To Always Be The Smartest One In The Room | Your Rainforest Mind

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