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Find out if you're suffering from imposter syndrome

Find out if you're suffering from imposter syndrome

Do you sometimes feel your achievements are not the result of your hard work and skill but are just luck? And do you fear that one day, someone will reveal you as an imposter or fraud? You might have imposter syndrome!

People suffering from imposter syndrome feel they don't deserve to be where they are and only got there are by sheer chance. The term is most commonly applied to the fields of work and intelligence but is equally applicable to relationships.

Imposter syndrome can also be a form of social anxiety. Even if you perform well in a social situation, you feel that it's just chance and that a socially inept person will never belong in the group. Your belief that you are socially awkward is so strong that you always feel like an imposter and are at risk of being found out. People suffering from imposter syndrome tend to hide their feelings and will suffer in silence. These feelings will eventually worsen anxiety and may trigger depression.


The signs and symptoms of imposter syndrome

Some of the signs of imposter syndrome that you might recognise in yourself include:

  • Feelings of self-doubt
  • An unrealistic assessment of your skills and intelligence
  • Attributing your achievements to luck
  • Criticising your own performance
  • Fearing that you won't meet expectations
  • Overachieving
  • Self-sabotaging
  • Feelings of disappointment when you fail to achieve very demanding goals

People suffering from imposter syndrome are often high fliers, but their achievements come at the cost of perpetual anxiety. They may work harder than required or prepare over-meticulously so that no one discovers that they are "faking it". They seem unable to internalise their successes. The greater their achievements, the more they feel like imposters.

This syndrome can be triggered by parents who flipflop between high praise for a child's achievements and criticising them too harshly. It can also be triggered by moving into a different life stage; for example, a student starting at university for the first time might feel that they don't deserve to be there.

Identifying imposter syndrome

If you suffer from imposter syndrome, you're certainly not alone! Psychologists believe that around 70% of people will experience imposter syndrome on at least one occasion in their lives. Ask yourself the following questions to find out if you might be one of them:

  • Are you a perfectionist who worries over the tiniest mistakes?
  • Do you believe your success is due to external factors or luck?
  • Are you hypersensitive to criticism?
  • Do you worry about being exposed as a fraud?
  • Do you underplay your abilities, even on occasions when you know you are more skilled than others?

Imposter syndrome is characterised by self-doubt, negative thoughts and self-sabotage and can impact on many aspects of your life. Bach Flower Mix 44 is specially formulated to help with performance anxiety and a lack of self-confidence.

Imposter syndrome types

Psychologists have identified several different personality types who are likely to experience imposter syndrome:

  • Superheroes: these people can never measure up to the challenges they set themselves and drive themselves very hard.
  • Natural geniuses: these individuals have extraordinary natural abilities but feel devastated the first time they fail at something.
  • Perfectionists: rather than focussing on their achievements, perfectionists fixate on tiny mistakes or flaws. They often suffer high levels of anxiety.
  • Experts: always trying to learn more about their subject, experts are never satisfied with their level of knowledge and tend to underate their own abilities.
  • Soloists: Soloists dislike being part of a team and will often refuse help, seeing it as a sign of incompetence or weakness.

Overcoming imposter syndrome

To get past feelings of being an imposter, you need to confront some of your most deeply rooted beliefs about yourself. No matter how much you feel like you don't belong, don't let that stop you from pursuing your goals.

Here are a few techniques to try:

  • Talk about your feeling and emotions. When you share your irrational anxieties, they are less likely to fester and take hold.
  • Assess your skills and abilities, then write down all that you have achieved in our life. Compare the list with your self-assessment - the difference might surprise you!
  • Practice focusing on others. In social situations where you feel anxious, look out for others who might be in the same position. Ask them a question and try to help them into the group. This is an excellent way to develop your own social confidence. When you're feeling stressed, Bach Flower Mix 85 is an effective way to help reduce feelings of anxiety.
  • Small steps count. Don't try for perfection but aim to do things well enough. For example, in a social situation, try telling a story about yourself or share an opinion.
  • Don't compare yourself to others. Every time you compare yourself to someone else, you will discover some failure or fault that drives your feelings of being an imposter. Focus on the other person instead and really listen to what they are saying.
  • Limit your use of social media. The images people post on social media often paint a picture of perfection that may be far from the truth. If you try to match these goals that are impossible to achieve in reality, it will only strengthen your belief that you are an imposter.
  • Ask whether your fears are rational. Given everything that you've achieved in your life, does it make sense to believe that you are a fraud?

Final thoughts

Acknowledging that you are suffering from imposter syndrome is the first step in dealing with it. Don't allow negative emotions to hold you back. When you feel self-doubt starting to creep in, try to turn your thoughts to a positive direction by remembering everything you've achieved in your life. This will boost your self-confidence and set you on the right path to deal with future challenges.

Created by Tom Vermeersch

Tom Vermeersch

Tom Vermeersch is a certified Psychologist and Bach flower expert with more than 30 years of experience.

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Find out if you're suffering from imposter syndrome

Find out if you're suffering from imposter syndrome
Find out if you're suffering from imposter syndrome

Do you sometimes feel your achievements are not the result of your hard work and skill but are just luck? And do you fear that one day, someone will reveal you as an imposter or fraud? You might have imposter syndrome!

People suffering from imposter syndrome feel they don't deserve to be where they are and only got there are by sheer chance. The term is most commonly applied to the fields of work and intelligence but is equally applicable to relationships.

Imposter syndrome can also be a form of social anxiety. Even if you perform well in a social situation, you feel that it's just chance and that a socially inept person will never belong in the group. Your belief that you are socially awkward is so strong that you always feel like an imposter and are at risk of being found out. People suffering from imposter syndrome tend to hide their feelings and will suffer in silence. These feelings will eventually worsen anxiety and may trigger depression.

Bach flowers personal mix

Bach flowers personal mix:

  • Personal combination
  • Based on your symptoms and character
  • Bach flower remedy personally selected by Tom
  • Fast and good results
Discover how Personal Bach flowers remedy - Wizard can help you

The signs and symptoms of imposter syndrome

Some of the signs of imposter syndrome that you might recognise in yourself include:

  • Feelings of self-doubt
  • An unrealistic assessment of your skills and intelligence
  • Attributing your achievements to luck
  • Criticising your own performance
  • Fearing that you won't meet expectations
  • Overachieving
  • Self-sabotaging
  • Feelings of disappointment when you fail to achieve very demanding goals

People suffering from imposter syndrome are often high fliers, but their achievements come at the cost of perpetual anxiety. They may work harder than required or prepare over-meticulously so that no one discovers that they are "faking it". They seem unable to internalise their successes. The greater their achievements, the more they feel like imposters.

This syndrome can be triggered by parents who flipflop between high praise for a child's achievements and criticising them too harshly. It can also be triggered by moving into a different life stage; for example, a student starting at university for the first time might feel that they don't deserve to be there.

Identifying imposter syndrome

If you suffer from imposter syndrome, you're certainly not alone! Psychologists believe that around 70% of people will experience imposter syndrome on at least one occasion in their lives. Ask yourself the following questions to find out if you might be one of them:

  • Are you a perfectionist who worries over the tiniest mistakes?
  • Do you believe your success is due to external factors or luck?
  • Are you hypersensitive to criticism?
  • Do you worry about being exposed as a fraud?
  • Do you underplay your abilities, even on occasions when you know you are more skilled than others?

Imposter syndrome is characterised by self-doubt, negative thoughts and self-sabotage and can impact on many aspects of your life. Bach Flower Mix 44 is specially formulated to help with performance anxiety and a lack of self-confidence.

Imposter syndrome types

Psychologists have identified several different personality types who are likely to experience imposter syndrome:

  • Superheroes: these people can never measure up to the challenges they set themselves and drive themselves very hard.
  • Natural geniuses: these individuals have extraordinary natural abilities but feel devastated the first time they fail at something.
  • Perfectionists: rather than focussing on their achievements, perfectionists fixate on tiny mistakes or flaws. They often suffer high levels of anxiety.
  • Experts: always trying to learn more about their subject, experts are never satisfied with their level of knowledge and tend to underate their own abilities.
  • Soloists: Soloists dislike being part of a team and will often refuse help, seeing it as a sign of incompetence or weakness.

Overcoming imposter syndrome

To get past feelings of being an imposter, you need to confront some of your most deeply rooted beliefs about yourself. No matter how much you feel like you don't belong, don't let that stop you from pursuing your goals.

Here are a few techniques to try:

  • Talk about your feeling and emotions. When you share your irrational anxieties, they are less likely to fester and take hold.
  • Assess your skills and abilities, then write down all that you have achieved in our life. Compare the list with your self-assessment - the difference might surprise you!
  • Practice focusing on others. In social situations where you feel anxious, look out for others who might be in the same position. Ask them a question and try to help them into the group. This is an excellent way to develop your own social confidence. When you're feeling stressed, Bach Flower Mix 85 is an effective way to help reduce feelings of anxiety.
  • Small steps count. Don't try for perfection but aim to do things well enough. For example, in a social situation, try telling a story about yourself or share an opinion.
  • Don't compare yourself to others. Every time you compare yourself to someone else, you will discover some failure or fault that drives your feelings of being an imposter. Focus on the other person instead and really listen to what they are saying.
  • Limit your use of social media. The images people post on social media often paint a picture of perfection that may be far from the truth. If you try to match these goals that are impossible to achieve in reality, it will only strengthen your belief that you are an imposter.
  • Ask whether your fears are rational. Given everything that you've achieved in your life, does it make sense to believe that you are a fraud?

Final thoughts

Acknowledging that you are suffering from imposter syndrome is the first step in dealing with it. Don't allow negative emotions to hold you back. When you feel self-doubt starting to creep in, try to turn your thoughts to a positive direction by remembering everything you've achieved in your life. This will boost your self-confidence and set you on the right path to deal with future challenges.


Marie Pure

Other articles


Six things we think will make us happy, but don't!

Six things we think will make us happy, but don't!

When you think about things that will make you happy, what are the images that come to mind? Wealth, beauty, a dream house, long holidays, a top of the range car? Happiness is not a constant and how happy we feel depends on the way we choose to live our lives. 

Read the complete article

Why you're not the best

Why you're not the best

What are your aims in life? Do you plan to be rich, to be a top footballer, to be a good parent, or to become Prime Minister? However efficiently you plan your life, sooner or later you are going to come up against obstacles to achieving your goals.

Read the complete article

Do you expect too much from others Find out!

Do you expect too much from others? Find out!

Most people are disappointed when others don't meet their expectations. But when you always expect too much, it isn't healthy, either for yourself or for others. If you often find yourself feeling let down by your loved ones or even by strangers, could it be that you have unrealistic ideas of how people should act?

Read the complete article

Even the brightest minds have setbacks!

Even the brightest minds have setbacks!

We all want to be successful but many of us find the path to achieving our dreams is blocked by our fear of failure. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, go backpacking around the world or start up a new business, you need to accept that you might fail many times over before you achieve success.

Read the complete article

Do We Label Too Fast

Do We Label Too Fast?

Nowadays, it can sometimes seem almost everyone has a mental health issue or learning disorder. But, are we too quick to label people, or is it that we are more aware of the problems? This article looks at some of the issues surrounding these sensitive questions.

Read the complete article

12 easy ways to get people to like you

12 easy ways to get people to like you

Have you ever noticed that some people are instantly likeable? Many people believe that people will only like you because of natural traits you're born with: good looks, talent and sociability. But this is a misconception. Getting people to like you is within your control, and it's all to do with self-belief, knowing yourself and being emotionally intelligent. Here's what to do to be more likeable.

Read the complete article

Choose for your happiness

Choose for your happiness!

Being happy is something everybody strives for, but unfortunately there are a lot of people who go through life unhappily. A lot of people take life how it is.

Read the complete article

Hiding a depression find out if someone you know - or you yourself! - is doing this

Hiding a depression: find out if someone you know - or you yourself! - is doing this

It's not always easy to tell if someone has depression. While some signs such as sadness, pessimism and withdrawal from social interaction are easy to recognise, other symptoms may be less obvious. And some people are very good at hiding their depression - even from themselves!

Read the complete article

fear of fireworks dogs

7 tips to help your dog with a fear of fireworks

As nice as it is for a person to celebrate New Year, it's not so nice for a dog, especially when the loud fireworks go off the whole night. This is really frightening for many dogs. Read our 7 tips on how you can help your dog with his fear of fireworks.

Read the complete article

Is your sex life putting your relationship at risk

Is your sex life putting your relationship at risk?

Sexual desire is a complex interaction of hormones, emotions and well-being. When your partner is not as interested in sex as you are, it’s rarely a rejection of you as a person. So it’s essential to be as empathetic as you can regarding your differing libidos.

Read the complete article

Bach Flowers are not medicinal but harmless plant extracts which are used to support health.

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