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Doubt and depression - when low self-esteem gnaws at us

Self-doubt has many forms: there is self-doubt at work, in love and in partnership. Some have doubts about their looks and their own abilities. Others develop self-doubt when they are under pressure to perform, when they make important life decisions or in certain social situations.

Some people are downright plagued with self-doubt: they gnaw on them like parasites - and do not go away. As a result, they trust themselves less and less, compare themselves to others who seem as if they are simply shaking off any doubt full of sovereignty and self-assurance. “Why can I never do it?” Is the reproach to self. And you are already in a vicious circle and in a downward spiral of self-devaluation.


Healthy self-doubt makes people grow

As with almost everything in life, the dose counts: a pinch of self-doubt is usually quite helpful. A critical mind shows you that you are not alwaysRight It helps you to reflect on your actions and to prevent yourself from falling in love with yourself. This healthy amount of self-doubt connects you with others because you can get more involved with them and are genuinely interested in their opinions and perspectives.

Self-doubt only becomes problematic when, after phases of doubt, you cannot return to your healthy self-image - with the awareness of your strengths and why you are valuable. Healthy self-doubt never goes so far that it persists Self esteem consumes you and burdens you permanently.


When unhealthy self-doubt grows over your head

You may sometimes find it difficult to acknowledge that there are good things about you too. The unhealthy self-doubt has long been raging. This kind of self-doubt has nothing to do with constructive criticism and you probably already notice yourself that these thoughts are of no help to you. Like a hungry parasite, self-doubt consumes more and more of you - up to and including your self-esteem and your conviction that you have an impact on your life.


The strategies of self-doubt - grinding into infinity

Particularly tricky: self-doubts often follow mechanisms that perpetuate themselves. Breaking these mechanisms is exhausting, but especially important. Perhaps you will recognize yourself in one of the following vicious circles.

“I can't do that” - The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

If you keep telling yourself: "I'm a failure / I can't do anything / ..." then it is surprisingly easy to prove that to yourself. To blame oneself for one's own performance reduces one's actual performance. If you tell yourself that you can't do something, you sometimes don't even try or approach the task with a cool head. Then the result also falls short of the possibilities. This closed the vicious circle - and the prophecy was fulfilled.

“It wasn't me” - self-sabotage

It can be tempting to stand in your own way, because it protects in a certain way: "I just failed the exam because I only studied 3 hours the night before, and not because I didn't have what it took." If you would have learned, would you have passed, that is the internal logic. So it's a kind of avoidance strategy that helps you avoid failures emotionally because they are attributable to the situation - and not to yourself. Behind this avoidance is the fear of failure that you put off tasks until no time more is to do them carefully. Unfortunately, this tactic has a catch: You start to forget that you are capable of success if you give yourself the effort and time. Satisfaction doesn't really make you happy and it becomes more and more difficult to achieve actual success.

“I shouldn't” - the impostor syndrome

“If only they knew that I didn't belong here.” Many people who start a new job or start a relationship are familiar with impostor syndrome. It's the unjustified feeling of not being up to the situation. You tell yourself it's only a matter of time before someone notices the mistake and you get kicked out or abandoned. This phenomenon can be associated with depression. Anyone who considers themselves to be a con man recognizes the right to be just as loved or talented, to be just as “allowed” to be human as everyone else.


Self-doubt as a gateway to depression?

When self-doubts gain the upper hand, it becomes increasingly difficult to defeat them. Those affected then believe more and more that they are incapable of anything and do not even dare to do simple tasks. Countless studies show a connection between constant self-doubt and mental disorders such as depression. Whether the self-doubt is the entrance into the depression or, conversely, the depression is the entrance into the self-doubt remains unclear.

What We Know: Self-doubt is a typical symptom of depression, as are decreased motivation and concentration, difficulty in making decisions, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, a pessimistic view of the future, social withdrawal and avoidance - symptoms that are all closely related to self-doubt.

So if you have the impression that your self-doubt is increasing and going beyond what is healthy, it is advisable to talk to a doctor or psychotherapist about it.