Mental Health Blog

Tackle Imposter Syndrome and Self-Doubt

Signs of imposter syndrome

  • You often feel as though you are underperforming in comparison to peers
    • A lot of awareness of how others are performing
  • Experience chronic self-doubt, lack of confidence, and feel incapable of doing things expected of us in our area of expertise/education
  • Worried that others will see you as a fraud
  • Procrastinating on tasks out of fear. Fear of not meeting standards expected of you
  • Seeing your success as a result of luck rather than your hard work
  • Consider yourself to be a perfectionist
  • Have unrealistic expectations

All of these signs are of imposter syndrome, but in short, it is rooted in self-doubt causing cognitive distortions, affecting our psychopathological states (ex. depression/anxiety).  

  • Cognitive distortions are irrational, inflated thoughts that negatively distort our perceptions of reality. 

Steps for how to tackle self-doubt

What is the cause?

  • Identify what is causing the self-doubt
    • Ex. fear of failure, comparison with other people’s progress, facing a new challenge, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, your past mistakes

Call out your inner critic

  • Understand that if you feel like a familiar does not me you are a familiar. Feelings are not facts
  • Challenge your self-doubt
    • Ex. if you hold the belief “ii am not enough”, find evidence for and against this belief
  • Remind yourself how far you have come and what your strengths are

Push through

  • Remind yourself that these self-doubts can’t be turned into a constructive way to grow, life is a learning process. All your failures are an opportunity to learn and grow from. 
  • Take action – you minimize the effect of your self-doubts every time you push through despite their presence (that is not to say ignore those feelings, but also don’t dwell on them to the point where it becomes overthinking)
    • Something to help with dealing with self-doubting thoughts on a busy day is to limit yourself to 5 minutes, write down the immediate doubts, rationalize them, and come back to that paper when those feelings re-emerge to find more evidence to disprove and prove those doubts
  • Use encouraging affirmations, such as “I belong here” or “my opinions are valuable too and deserve to be heard”

When it comes to mental health, there is no way to get just over imposter syndrome, it is a process: recognize that you have doubts and fear. Work through your feelings of self-doubt and talk to other peers about what they are doing and how they cope with meeting demands, you are not alone, the extent of your mental health can be managed. 

Note: The Free Your Mind Mental Health Society is an independent youth-led organization. The contents of this blog are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In the event of a medical emergency, please call your doctor or 911 or other local emergency numbers immediately.