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Demystifying Impostor Syndrome: Recognizing and Overcoming Self-Doubt

Impostor Syndrome and Overcoming Self-Doubt We've all felt a bit insecure trying something new. It's normal – you make mistakes, learn from them, and gradually gain confidence. But for someone dealing with imposter syndrome, it's a different story.

Impostor syndrome is like getting stuck in a loop of negative thoughts and feelings about your own abilities. It's tough for a person to accept that their success is because of their skills or smarts. Instead, they believe they don't deserve their achievements, attributing it to luck or external factors.

Impostor syndrome is not a measure of actual competence but rather a persistent feeling of inadequacy. It's this nagging worry that you'll be found out as a "fraud." People dealing with it often think their success is just luck or something external, not their abilities.

Causes and symptoms of imposter syndrome

Possible causes related to imposter syndrome are:

  • Family dynamics in childhood and academic history, such as parents who put too much pressure on their children to get good grades.
  • Sexual stereotypes, due to the messages received about success in men and failure in women.
  • High expectations and self-demand.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Lack of personal security.
  • The loss of self-confidence.

The main manifestations observed in imposter syndrome are:

  • Belief of not deserving the achievements obtained. They think that they are not fair or that they have been obtained thanks to a stroke of luck.
  • Permanent dissatisfaction.
  • Distrust of their own abilities.
  • Constant fear of being perceived as a fraud for their achievements.
  • Demotivation due to lack of self-confidence.
  • Expectations of failure in any situation.
  • Feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
  • Anxiety and depression.

Overcoming Self-Doubt:

Acknowledge and Accept: To kick impostor syndrome to the curb, start by admitting it's there and recognizing that self-doubt is something we all go through. Realize these feelings are pretty common, and plenty of successful folks have dealt with the same struggles.

Challenge Negative Thoughts: Combat impostor syndrome by challenging negative thoughts. Instead of accepting self-critical statements, question their validity and replace them with positive affirmations.

Seek Support: Open up to your trusted friends, family, or colleagues about what you're feeling. Seeking support isn't just about getting validation; it brings in perspectives from others who might've been through similar struggles.

Set Realistic Goals: Keep it real when setting goals. Break down those big tasks into manageable steps. That way, you get that sense of accomplishment and avoid feeling totally overwhelmed.

Celebrate Achievements: Get in the habit of celebrating your wins, no matter how small. When you achieve something, give yourself credit. Attribute your success to your skills and hard work instead of downplaying what you've accomplished.


Breaking free from impostor syndrome means changing how you think and consciously challenging that self-doubt. By spotting the signs, figuring out what's causing it, and using proactive strategies, you can kick those impostor feelings to the curb.

Just remember, success isn't luck—it's something you earn. Beating impostor syndrome is a big step toward realizing your true capabilities, but you've got this!

Reputable Sources for More Information:

  1. The Mayo Clinic: This website serves as a valuable resource for health information, offering a wide range of content, including articles, videos, and tools related to various medical conditions, treatments, and general health and wellness.
  2. Zen Habits: Is a blog managed by Leo Babauta, in where he provides information about mindfulness, well-being, meditation, mental health resources, and more.
  3. NIMH: On the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) website, you can find a wealth of information related to mental health, research findings, treatment options, and resources for individuals, families, and healthcare professionals.


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