An everyday companion to our inner critic is self-doubt, the mental habit of questioning ourselves. Self-doubt can be a byproduct of how we grew up, such as needing a parent’s reassurance, or the outcome of a crisis or distressing situation that shakes our confidence.

One of the most common types of self-doubt is “impostor syndrome,” which is an irrational fear of being fake or not worthy of your achievements. This feeling can intensify during personal transformation when you’re trying to make changes in your life, and people still see and judge you from their past experiences.

Some signs of impostor syndrome include:

  • Feeling that you’ll never be good enough.
  • Needing constant validation from others.
  • Finding it hard to give yourself credit for your accomplishments.

You’re not alone.

Based on a 2019 study, rates of imposter syndrome varied broadly from 9% to 82%, depending significantly on the screening elements used to assess symptoms. This study also indicated that impostor syndrome was common among men and women across various age groups, from adolescents to late-stage professionals.

Feeling like a fraud impacts how you communicate and interact with others.

Impostor syndrome can lead to anxiety, depression, self-sabotage, and indecisiveness. As a result, you may struggle to make small decisions based on panic about making the wrong decision. With a lack of self-confidence, your communication approach can become inconsistent, sending mixed messages, and causing confusion with others. Moreover, you repress your ability to tap into your full potential.

What we resist persists.

You can address this self-inflicted confidence destroyer by:

1. Acknowledging how you feel.

Witness when you’re in this uncomfortable state and work to understand the root cause behind why you’re responding the way you are. Address your limiting beliefs and remind yourself that self-doubt isn’t a personality trait. It’s simply a mental habit, a mere thought pattern that you’ve inadvertently reinforced and made into a routine. To silence your self-defeating thoughts, nurture a healthy skepticism of your thoughts. Learn to take an objective stance and talk through your doubt with those you trust for an unbiased view of reality.

2. Identifying and embracing the patterns.

Your perspectives are filtered by what you believe is true, and your blind spots can narrow your thinking and make you lose focus. In turn, you may fall back on destructive behaviors and stop being enthusiastic about your wants and desires. Be vulnerable and accept self-doubt for precisely what it is, a self-protective strategy from the past trying to help you out. Recognize it and then move on to whatever it is that you want to be doing.

3. Reframing your perspective.

Cultivate a positive mindset with a strong sense of purpose by practicing self-compassion and spending time with people who believe in you. Focus on your strengths and successes. Compare your achievements to your initial performance, not the performance of others. Put a plan in place to move forward and be as supportive of yourself as you would be to a good friend.

As you become more relaxed and committed to who you are and who you want to be, you will increase your confidence to shine. You will be more clear, credible, and concise when communicating with others, three of the essential ingredients of the 8Cs of Good Communication.

If you’re looking for more communication tips, sign up for my monthly newsletter Activate Your Best, to receive insights you can put into practice now.

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