Confident people have doubts and fear

Self-doubt: Tips against paralyzing insecurity

You are a saboteur of success and happiness: Self-doubt. Of course, everyone knows doubts. Occasional uncertainty is perfectly normal. Chronically, however, it has a paralyzing effect. Those affected lack goodwill towards themselves. The desire for attention and recognition is the permanent one Self-devaluation opposite, often paired with insinuations of the type: "Nobody likes you anyway", "It won't work again", "I'm just too stupid for that". Quite a few people with self-doubt pant after trends and opinions just to please others or to be liked. A race you can never win ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Self-doubt and the impostor syndrome

The will to always do your best can be extremely motivating. For people with self-doubt, however, it leads into exactly one Downward spiral: No matter what you achieve, it is never enough. Even more: the permanent one inner, self-critical voice leads to the fact that the doubts about yourself intensify.

Most people experience a brief moment of fear, traditionally in all-or-nothing phases. It's called on stage Stage Fright, in the lecture hall Exam anxiety and in the job meeting - especially when you have to present something.

But there are people who, even after a successfully passed exam or presentation, are unable to to believe in their own achievement. Rather, they are convinced that they have achieved their successes through charm, relationships, or luck, but not thanks to their skills.

You consider yourself - completely wrongly - to be Impostor and fear that their supposed bluff could soon be exposed. Impostor Syndrome (from the English word for "cheater") is what is called in the technical jargon.

The psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes identified it for the first time in 1978. The trigger for the syndrome is not uncommon Search for perfection, those affected set themselves too high goals.

Impostors are always looking for that Fly in the ointmentwhile others are already at dessert. It's like an expert being asked for advice by a colleague. Already during his analysis or recommendation he thinks: “There is guaranteed to be a better answer.” Or: “He will probably notice right away that I have no idea!” Accordingly, such people live more constantly Worry about exposure and exposure.

However, mind you: only imagined.

Some scientists believe that behind the syndrome negative childhood experiences stuck. For example, these people learned at home that they are only loved if they achieve certain achievements. Their self-confidence is correspondingly weak.

However, these are also typical for impostors three components:

  • An oversized idea of ​​competence.
  • A complex opinion on success.
  • A great fear of negative criticism.

In severe cases, impostor syndrome can aggravate itself and in Eating disorders or depression flow out. Such strong, sometimes paranoid influences can usually only be dealt with with the help of an expert.

Low self-esteem? Please avoid Facebook!

If you have low self-esteem, it is better to avoid Facebook. This is concluded by Amanda Forest and Joanne Wood from the University of Waterloo. As the two found out in their studies, people with high levels of self-doubt tend to bombard their friends with negative fragments from their lives - with the result that they are subsequently less liked.

“We got the idea that Facebook would be a great place to build relationships,” says Amanda Forest. So the duo investigated how their subjects behaved there. Interesting: Those with low self-confidence said that they saw better opportunities for themselves there to come into contact with other people and to be more able to avoid difficult social situations. In fact, their ten most recent status reports alone showed significantly more negative tendencies than subjects with high self-esteem. Sometimes they got upset about other friends, sometimes about circumstances or life in general.

A third, neutral group should now evaluate all status reports. Lo and behold: the strangers did not find such status reports at all sympathetic, neither did their originators. Or, to put it another way: It was exactly the opposite of what the low-self-esteem participants had hoped for. They did not have more, but fewer opportunities to come into contact with other people.

Women and high achievers are particularly affected by self-doubt

Interestingly, self-doubt and impostor syndrome are the main ones Women and people who above-average performance provide, affected. Unjust world! While even moderately competent types are bursting with self-confidence and know no limits, the talented and modest are of all people blocked by doubtsif not eaten away at all.

They plague questions like:

  • I come to others good at?
  • I work competently?
  • I am good enough?
  • I am intelligent?
  • I am attractive?
  • Create I do that at all?
  • Can I do anything at all?
  • I will (again) to embarrass?
  • I am adorable?

Man is just a social being. Accordingly, it is innate to us, to us to behave according to social rulesto fit into a community and to signal the willingness to cooperate. Lack Willingness to adapt is also used by most groups Rejection and exclusion fined. It is therefore completely normal that we try to offend as little as possible and follow up on other people's reactions confirmation or looking for clues to do everything right.

The core problem of the self-doubters, however, is: those affected are not only more self-critical than others - they are gain their self-confidence no longer out of themselves at all and are therefore independent of their fellow human beings. You have - as experts say - "Interdependent" self-esteem, one that is entirely dependent on feedback from the outside world. In short: they define themselves and their value solely through actual (or worse: imaginary) feedback.

Overcoming self-doubt: tips against uncertainty

The bad news is: stuck Thought and feeling patterns are difficult to change, especially not overnight. If you want to overcome your self-doubts, you usually have to work hard on it.

But the good news is: it works. For example, psychologists regularly recommend the following Countermeasures:

  • Introduce a diary, in which you write down what you have already achieved. Keep in mind that you can repeat successes - and therefore basically have the talent to do so.
  • Distinguish exactly between Feelings and facts. We all feel incompetent or stupid at times. But just because you feel that way doesn't mean it's true. Usually the feeling only reflects a snapshot.
  • Break through the Wall of silence and talk to friends about your fear and shame. There is no shame in seeking help. Just giving a name to the imaginary dizziness (impostor syndrome) can be useful in getting rid of it.
  • Do what professional athletes do: Visualize Your success beforehand. Imagine yourself giving the presentation and people applauding afterwards. Imagine how you will know a clever answer to any question in the interview. And that you are exactly the right person for this job - because you can do it and are competent.
  • Develop a better one Relationship to mistakes and above all make more realistic demands on yourself. Nobody is perfect. And everybody knows occasional doubts.

Also to take the pressure off: Often it is even the case a few self-doubts now and then healthier for the soul and the sympathy values ​​are than one excessive self-esteem

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[Photo credit: Evgeny Atamanenko by]