How to Stop Questioning Your Self-Worth and Doubting Your Successes

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

If you struggle with self-esteem, it can be difficult to see yourself as a valuable person. Often, low self-esteem goes hand in hand with impostor syndrome, and any external successes you achieve will make you wonder, “When will they find out I’m a fraud?”

This content is also available in Spanish.

Audience Questions

Dr. Lisa Coyne addresses overcoming low self-esteem, shares tactics to quiet the voice of impostor syndrome, and answers questions about valuing our actions.

  • Is there any research showing the role of self-compassion in self-esteem?
  • From your perspective, what is the difference between self-compassion and self-pity?
  • Does social anxiety play into low self-esteem or impostor syndrome?
  • You mentioned that impostor syndrome applies to intellectual/professional areas of our lives, but it feels like it can apply to other roles too. In my experience, I’ve often felt like I’m “not enough” as a mom, and at times I worry that people who perceive me as a great mom simply don’t have enough information. Any advice?
  • In your experience, what are some of the differences between low self-esteem as it relates to gender?
  • If we have low self-esteem, what can people like me do to start working toward feeling more positively about myself?
  • Is the tendency to try to please and impress other people a sign of low self-esteem? What are the telltale signs of low self-esteem?
  • Are there any exercises/activities that would be particularly good for helping teens/kids who are experiencing low self-esteem?
  • What advice do you have for someone who works in a very high-pressure, high-testosterone field where admitting vulnerability when struggling or asking for advice/help is largely frowned upon?
  • How should I talk to someone or motivate someone with low self-esteem? What can I say that will be impactful and not be ignored?
  • Any tips for people who are going through temporary situations that lower self-esteem, such as losing a job or being stuck in a job they are trying to get out of?
  • What’s the difference between low self-esteem and impostor syndrome?
  • How do we stop comparing ourselves to others?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.


You may find this additional information helpful:

About Dr. Coyne

Lisa W. Coyne, PhD, is an assistant professor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry, part-time, at Harvard Medical School, and is a senior clinical consultant at the Child and Adolescent OCD Institute (OCDI Jr.) at McLean Hospital.

Dr. Coyne has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and chapters on anxiety, OCD, and parenting. She is the author of “The Joy of Parenting: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Guide to Effective Parenting in the Early Years,” a book for parents of young children.

Recent books by Dr. Coyne:

Learn more about Dr. Coyne.

More Webinars

It’s important to think about ways to manage your mental health. McLean is committed to providing mental health and self-care resources for all who may need them. You and your family may find these strategies from McLean experts helpful to feel mentally balanced in your everyday lives.

Sign up now for the next webinar in our Mental Health Webinar Series.