Self-esteem and Impostor Syndrome


Self-esteem and Impostor Syndrome


your avatar   Nicoleta, 20-year-old woman

I'm studying journalism and I recently got a job as a reporter. I'm trying to juggle the job, school, personal life, family time, time spent with friends and alone time, and it's so hard to do. I also think I have a self-esteem problem and suffer from stress.

I feel like I'm not an interesting person. I constantly think that I'm a failure. Although people congratulate me on my high achievements I just don't feel them. I always worry and think that I'm replaceable, and I also think I'm suffering from stress. I do have a pretty good life, but since I started working I started losing the friends I was having fun with and I find myself unable to enjoy my victories and I don't really know why. I do have a great boyfriend and 2 or 3 friends that I talk to constantly, but sadly I don't see them as much. I feel incomplete and I feel this stone in my chest that makes me feel heavy. What is wrong with me?


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear Nicoletta,

Suffering from a self-esteem problem means that for some reason, you have a false view of yourself. I know, because I had the same problem at your age. I learned to pay attention to what other people thought of me, and accepted that as true. So, you DO have high achievements. At 20, while still a student, you were given a job. The people who hired you think well of you.

You also have a great boyfriend. I wonder what HE thinks of you? "She is ugly and stupid and useless, I don't know why anyone would want to spend time with her?" Or the opposite? Accept his judgment of you rather than your own. Same with those 2 or 3 friends.

I don't know, but I am guessing that your friends are also students, but don't work as well. So, you may have acquired new interests and activities they don't share in, and now have less time to spend on what you used to do with them. Maybe you can keep in touch with them in other ways: text messages, videoconferencing over a free service, emails, quick phone calls. That's not as good as face to face perhaps, but it will keep you in touch with them. I have grandchildren living interstate, and that's how we keep in loving touch.

You are doing lots, and so feel under stress. I'd like you to look up my first aid page that gives you 7 tools for improving your inner strength. In addition, do two other things: schedule some enjoyment into your week (write suitable activities into your appointment book!) and do regular meditation. I meditate at least once a day, when I go to bed.

And you're welcome to keep in touch with me.

Your new grandfather,


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit:


Build meaningful relationships that teach you about human nature.
"Your body hears everything your mind says."
Naomi Judd
Your value is not determined by what's in your bank account or what it says on your scale.