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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


Let's make 2021 better than 2020

Let's make 2021 better than 2020

For many people, 2020 has been one of the worst years they can remember. The COVID -19 pandemic and social unrest have changed our lives in ways we would not have believed possible a year ago. And when January 2021 comes around, we're still likely to be facing many challenges. Can 2021 be a better year?

Read the complete article

What to do when the spark is fading

What to do when the spark is fading

Why do you feel butterflies at the start of a new romance, and how can you keep the flame burning in a long term relationship as the spark starts to fade?

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

Letting go A guide for survivors

Letting go: A guide for survivors

Facing the loss of a family member or close friend is probably one of the most difficult challenges that life throws at us. When we've lost a partner, parent, brother or sister, we're likely to experience intense grief.

Read the complete article

Do you expect too much from others

Do you expect too much from others?

Do you expect more from others than they are prepared to give? Signs that you may be asking too much - and how to break the pattern.

Read the complete article

What can you do if your kid doesn't want to go back to school

What can you do if your kid doesn't want to go back to school?

What can you do if your kid doesn't want to go back to school? Here are our hints and tips to help if your child is expressing a refusal to go to school.

Read the complete article

Is it OCD Find out!

Is it OCD? Find out!

While you often hear people joking that they have OCD because they like to keep their house clean and tidy, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be a distressing and debilitating mental health condition with a wide range of symptoms.

Read the complete article

How to stop everything going wrong

How to stop everything going wrong

Do you always feel that everything’s always going wrong? Find out how to stop this cycle of bad thoughts in its tracks. When you think positively, things will start to appear positive and you will eventually feel more positive and optimistic.

Read the complete article

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

How to know when to say no

How to know when to say no

It's often difficult to say no, but some people never do! So how do you know when to say no and when to say yes?

Read the complete article

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

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