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Impostor Syndrome: Constantly afraid that you can’t do anything?

Does the thought often torment you: “I can’t really do anything”? Not correct! This helps when you are unjustly constantly suffering from self-doubt.

Do you sometimes feel like a cheat in your job? Do you often think “Actually, I have no idea what I’m doing, I kind of slipped in here and now pretend I can”? And then you are haunted by the fear that everyone will notice at some point!

If this series of thoughts sounds familiar, you may be suffering from impostor syndrome, also known as impostor syndrome. An expert will explain to you what you can do about this destructive self-doubt.

What is impostor syndrome?

When you hear the word you probably think of blenders or marriage swindlers, of real impostors with criminal energy and too much self-confidence. In this respect, “impostor syndrome” is not quite the appropriate expression, because people who suffer from it usually have exactly the opposite of a large ego: They very much doubt themselves and think that everyone thinks they are better than they are Are reality. They consider themselves not good or competent enough, so they often feel like impostors in their jobs or tasks and are tormented by the fear of “discovery”.

fizkes /
Despite success, do you constantly doubt your abilities? Then you may have impostor syndrome.

“Put simply, the problem is a pathological underestimation of oneself and doubts about one’s own abilities,” has a practice in Berlin. However, there is no precise definition or diagnosis because the impostor phenomenon is not officially recognized as a disease.

“Put simply, the problem is a pathological underestimation of oneself and doubts about one’s own abilities,” has a practice in Berlin. However, there is no precise definition or diagnosis because the impostor phenomenon is not officially recognized as a disease.

It is therefore not possible to say exactly how many people are affected. “However, at least a quarter of the people I treat as patients are plagued by such considerable self-doubt,” said Körner. So the problem is very common and can severely affect the lives of those affected.

How does impostor syndrome manifest itself?

Self-doubts can always hit you when you should actually trust your own abilities, for example in professional life. Instead of being proud of a success like a promotion, those affected then believe that they only managed it through luck, coincidence or outside help.

The phenomenon can also manifest itself in private life, for example in a relationship, if you want to be perfect for the partner. “Mothers can also have such doubts and fear that they will not be able to look after their child properly,” explains Körner. Nevertheless, those affected continue and do not show anything. This creates the feeling of impersonating something better than you really are, just an impostor.

What are the possible consequences of impostor syndrome?

The doubts are followed by the constant fear that the “dizziness” will be exposed. The boss may notice that you are not the right person for the job after all. Everyone else is disappointed when you ultimately cannot meet their expectations. Or you are afraid of losing friends or your partner because you are not as perfect as you always said.

So the top rule applies to those affected: Don’t make any mistakes, always give your all and be perfect! The doubts are stress for the body and in the long run you break with them. “If you can’t balance the doubts with positive thoughts, there is a risk of burnout, depression or anxiety disorders at some point,” warns the expert. They should then be treated by a psychotherapist.

fizkes /
The claim to always have to be perfect can lead to impostor syndrome.

What are the causes of the self-doubt?

The feeling of not being good enough has to do with the personality, but is encouraged by a certain kind of upbringing: “Often people come to me with such doubts, who were exposed to high performance pressure in their childhood or older, successful siblings have “, says Anatolij Körner. Sentences like “Your sister could do it better at your age”, “But no man will want you with her hips later” or “What should become of you if you only ever have 3’s on your certificate” are poison for self-confidence of a child.

However, Körner also suspects a social cause, especially in women. “Nowadays it is often expected that women work, have children and do the housework at the same time and have a fulfilling relationship,” says the naturopath for psychotherapy. This constant pressure from all sides also leads to the feeling that you have to be able to do it on your own.

Do I have impostor syndrome?

Do you often have self-doubt and fear that you have imposter syndrome? Test whether you know the following sentences or thoughts about yourself:

  • “I didn’t really deserve this success, I just had luck / help.”
  • “I don’t even know how I did it.”
  • “If I get this wrong, I’ll definitely get fired.”
  • “Hopefully the others don’t notice that I can’t do that at all.”
  • “The others can do it much better than me, they would deserve this success more.”
  • “What do the others find in me?”

If you think that way often, you should definitely act. No matter whether you call it imposter syndrome, lack of self-confidence or toxic thoughts, you should definitely get to the bottom of such warning signals before they gnaw too deep into your self-esteem!

Sfio Cracho /
Writing down your strengths can help overcome self-doubt.

What can I do about imposter syndrome?

The most important thing to resolve constant self-doubt is to recognize it first. Find out when they appear. Maybe when you are responsible for others? Or when you get praised for your achievements?

When you know this, try to watch your thoughts. Is there a pattern that you fall into, for example to compare yourself to others or list your weaknesses? Once you’ve found these trigger points, Körner says you can do three things yourself:

  • Write down your strengths: “The most effective method for more self-confidence is to write down your own strengths,” says the expert. This is how you visualize your positive thoughts and can more easily refer to them in weaker moments. So grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down what you have already achieved in your life, what you are good at and what you are proud of. You are also welcome to ask your family and friends what they particularly appreciate about you. It takes some effort, but you don’t seem arrogant or self-indulgent, I promise!
  • Stand in front of the mirror: It may seem silly at first, but it works: Every morning, stand in the Wonder Woman pose in front of the mirror, with your legs apart with your hands on your hips. Look at yourself, smile, and tell yourself how strong, confident, professional, and attractive you are. “Such a posture causes the body to release hormones that make us more self-confident,” explains Körner. Make this your daily ritual, preferably for at least 2 minutes. That gives you a real boost of confidence.
  • Replace your beliefs in everyday life: The last and most important step: Replace your doubts with self-affirmation. Thoughts often follow the same pattern in the head. “You can therefore train yourself to a new scheme and replace the old beliefs with new ones,” says the expert. When you find yourself at the point where the doubting thoughts come back, consciously interrupt them. Small reminder aids in everyday life such as a sticker on your screen can help you with this. Then think about what you wrote down as your strengths. You can do it, you deserve it, and you do it great. It takes a little patience for this to work automatically, but it’s worth it!
  • Seek outside help: If you feel that you cannot overcome your doubts on your own, you can seek help. Often a professional look from the outside helps to be able to assess the situation and yourself more neutrally. A first point of contact can be a general practitioner, counseling center or psychological practice. In any case, professionally conducted psychotherapy will bring you further. hypnosis or behavioral exercises help you in the end. The main thing is that you recognize what you can do!

We all have self-doubts. But if you put yourself under too much pressure to perform, you will soon get the feeling that you are never quite equal to your own life and that you are disappointing others. Dissipate these doubts, do not ask too much of yourself and think about what you can do.



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