The “I am not good enough” belief is actually a very commonly-spread social phenomenon in adults of all generations, and it’s a lot easier to overcome once you understand where it comes from.
Do you wake up every day fearing that you will fail no matter how hard you try? Does contentment always seem just a little out of your reach?
If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the above, then chances are, you suffer from a lack of self-confidence and find it hard to believe that you deserve happiness until you’ve reached a certain goal.
But no matter how alone you may feel in the one-horse race that is your life, know that you’re actually surrounded by people who feel exactly the same.
Why Do I Feel That I Am Not Good Enough?
The recurring feeling of being “not good enough” for a job, a relationship, or a life-changing opportunity is often a mix of the reaction to external factors from your upbringing and your own internalized self-talk. Let’s deconstruct the two and figure out the anatomy of inadequacy.
The reality is no one is born feeling that they’re “not good enough.” When we are young, we see the world with rose-colored glasses of warmth and innocence.
Everything is perfect just as it is, and nothing needs to change for us to feel that.
If you think back to your early childhood, you may recall a time when you felt as though you could move mountains with your fingertips or brighten someone’s darkest day with just a simple smile.
And that’s because, as children, we have the gift of innocence. It is that very innocence that allows us to say “Yes, I can” to any obstacle that comes our way.
Unfortunately, we soon find out that the world isn’t as kind and open as our brightly-colored minds want to see it. Because our environment is so important to our upbringing and how we eventually see the world as adults, any negativity that is thrown at us in those early years sticks … and it adds up very quickly.
And people get tired of not feeling good enough. It requires a lot of mental energy.
Some external factors may be:
- Living in an emotionally abusive household
- Being yelled at for making a simple mistake by a mentor or a teacher
- Receiving criticism instead of encouragement when we try out a new activity
Phrases like these have the power to trigger our feeling of inadequacy from a young age:
- “You could’ve gotten a better grade. If your colleague could, what’s your excuse?”
- “I’ll clean it myself. You didn’t do it the right way last time.”
- “I don’t like it. Do better next time, or else.”
With every such experience, we become more and more vulnerable to outside criticism as anxiety builds up in us. One by one, we start to see how every area of our life could improve, and the message that we’re not doing enough gets louder and louder.
By the time we reach adulthood, we’re afraid to make any wrong move and expose ourselves to even more criticism and abuse for failing to be good enough at what we put our minds to.
Knowing that the feeling of not being “good enough” didn’t start with you. Rather, it was placed inside of you by an external force, and you can better understand its effects on your life.
If you’re lacking in compassion and love for your own self, the world can be an endless source of triggers for your inner narrative of being “not good enough.” As such, your day-to-day interactions with your surroundings can bring up multiple self-criticizing thoughts:
- studied more for that test and got a better grade.”
- been a better friend to her if I really wanted to.”
- worked harder, and that project would have turned out better.”
It’s important to emphasize that these thoughts are not your own. They belong to your inner critic — that little nagging voice inside your head that sounds just like the person who would criticize you most when you were young. Your inner critic is the one who gets to hurt you the most before anyone else gets the chance to even have an opinion on your life.
Let’s illustrate this with a real-life example: you walk into work one morning and find out from your manager that one of your co-workers got your dream job. Even though you both joined the company at the same time and provided the same quality of work, they were the ones who got it and not you.
How would that make you feel? What are the first thoughts that come to mind? Would you think, perhaps, that they “deserved” it more than you did? That you needed to work harder, faster, better before you could feel worthy of that same opportunity?
All of these thoughts belong to your inner critic.
Of course, you want to think that you’re good enough, to walk into work with a smile on your face, and to feel like every day gives you a new opportunity to live life at your happiest and for everything to come into your life with ease and grace.
But for all of this to happen, you need to have a clear mind, void of any negative beliefs that limit your own growth and fulfillment.
What to Do If You Feel You Are Not Good Enough: Tips From Marisa Peer
Marisa Peer, renowned hypnotherapist from the UK and trainer of Mindvalley’s Uncompromised Life Quest, takes you through the best practices on how to feel like you are enough.
1. Feel your feelings instead of running away from them
When faced with our inner critic, we tend to run away from the feelings of anger, shame, or resentment that can stir up in us. But what would happen if you tried to embrace the feelings that came up instead of fighting them?
Marisa goes on to explain how the common denominator of all our problems is actually not feeling enough. So, most of the time, we’re not feeling worthy because we forget our feelings are worth feeling.
More often than not, the belief that we are “not good enough” is actually a mask for the darker feelings of our inner shadow — envy, jealousy, vanity, pride, and many other self-fuelling thought patterns that only serve to feed our ego.
While our society likes to paint these as inherently “bad,” we don’t have to subscribe to that belief. Instead, if you just let a feeling be what it is, allowing it to exist within your body without labeling it as “bad” or “good,” you will find that by the time you’re done feeling it, it’s already gone.
Once that’s done, you now have space in your heart for other, more positive and encouraging feelings that will soon surface.
2. See life as a journey rather than a race
A competitive mindset is the greatest poison to the inherent happiness that lies within us.
The belief that life is a race, where the ultimate goal is to go as high as you can, doesn’t serve any other purpose than to hold us back from achieving true fulfillment.
In reality, your happiness isn’t reliant on a pre-determined goal. You can experience happiness in the present moment simply by thinking of life as a wildly interesting journey where every day is a newfound source of excitement, regardless of its ups and downs.
What Marisa points out regarding your mind is how much of a helpful tool they can turn out to be. The crazy thing is that your mind will do exactly what it truly believes you want it to do. This is a powerful realization when changing your perception of what life should mean for you.
3. Frame challenges as opportunities for growth
Speaking of ups and downs, another useful technique to heal from the constant waves of inner criticism is to reframe the way you think about the challenges you encounter throughout your day. Be it the coffee spill on your brand new white shirt or the loss of your 24-karat bracelet.
When faced with a challenge, Marisa recommends that instead of thinking that you’re the unluckiest person in the entire world, do the following:
- Take a deep breath, and
- Mentally ask yourself, “What does this experience have to teach me?”
Odd as it may sound, this way of approaching things will grant you a lot more clarity than you might expect. If you frame every “unpleasant” experience as an opportunity for your long-term personal growth, you’ll soon find that learning from your “mistakes” becomes easier and easier.
Next time around, you’ll be less clumsy or forgetful. You’ll, instead, have allowed yourself to learn from what is happening to you rather than punishing yourself for things that are out of your control.
4. Let go and be kind to yourself
The “letting go” technique, also known as The Sedona Method, is a spiritual practice focusing on the idea that every emotion that comes to the surface can be “let go” until there is nothing left but a feeling of peace and utmost fulfillment.
Coupled with self-compassion for every single experience that makes you “you,” this state of mind allows your inner critic to relax. You can simply repeat to yourself, despite how dire things may seem, “I will be ok no matter what.”
Our brains are prone to respond well to positive stimuli such as affirmations. This technique allows you to train your brain to think that, regardless of what happens, you know enough, do enough, and are enough at any given moment of your life.
5. Start your day with positive affirmations
The bottom line is, the words we hear hold a lot of power. So why not use them to remind ourselves that we are exactly who we need to be and where we need to be every day of our lives?
Positive affirmations can come in many shapes and sizes, and you can easily create the one that feels right for you by keeping in mind the three golden rules of an affirmation:
- Keep your affirmation in the present tense
- Steer clear of negative words like “don’t,” “can’t,” and “won’t”
- Speak your affirmation clearly, calmly, and confidently
6. Journal your daily accomplishments
While spoken words have undeniable value, written words will always be forever. As such, the greatest gift you can give yourself at the end of a day full of wonderful achievements is to write them down in your favorite bedside journal.
Journaling your thoughts is a form of therapeutic relief for a cloudy and troubled mind for as long as the paper and the pen has been around. It allows your thoughts to leave your head and transfer directly onto the freshly-inked paper.
More than that, if you’re having a particularly challenging day, rifling through the pages of your journal can serve as a visual reminder of how many things you accomplish on a daily basis. This can give you that added confidence boost that will make your next day something to write home about.
7. Surround yourself with inspiring people
As the timeless Law of Attraction states: “Like attracts like.” This basically means that if you surround yourself with positive energy, you, too, will start to emanate that same energy.
The beauty of the Law of Attraction is that once you start being true to yourself and embracing your adequacy, the right people will simply find you.
Simple as it may sound, just think of how good you feel in the presence of someone who always laughs, smiles, and has a kind approach to their interactions with others. You might not know it yet, but you, too, are that kind of person to the many people who surround you.
It’s only a matter of allowing yourself to be that more and more until you surround yourself with people who are just as inspiring and kind as you are in your most authentic state.
Quotes That Will Shift Your “Not Good Enough” Mindset
Now that you’ve progressed in your journey and have accepted yourself just as you are, the ultimate three-word affirmation can resound within your mind and heal your mindset of inadequacy: “I am enough.”
The world-renowned therapist Marisa Peer, who’s also the trainer of Mindvalley’s Uncompromised Life Quest, utilizes the Rapid Transformational Therapy method as a tool to guide all of her patients into unlearning the “not good enough” mindset.
Here are some direct quotes from Marisa about her therapeutic practice:
You can have it all. All at the same time.
Transformational means you transform now, and for the rest of your life.
When you believe in you, everyone else believes in you too.
Your potential expands as you move towards it. You could never know what you are capable of because as you get to it, your potential allows you to go even further.
You Are Enough — Your Life Without Any Compromise
At some point in our lives, we’ve all told ourselves, “I’m not good enough,” and truly meant it.
Thoughts like “I don’t deserve happiness until I’ve achieved this and that” and “I’m not prepared for this opportunity” stood at the base of our unhappiness, making our own minds the greatest blocks to our success and fulfillment. But we persevered and got stronger, more resilient, and even more determined than before.
That’s why Mindvalley supports your journey of uncovering your inner enoughness. Not only will you find guidance through quests full of wisdom, such as Uncompromised Life, but you will also access a like-minded community to fulfill the need for connection and support.
Deep down within your mind, body, and soul, you know that at any given moment in your life, you have been just right for every single experience you went through. No outside opinion matters more than your own.
You are enough. You have always been enough. And it’s time you start believing it.